Nature on Display
The Butterfly Rainforest exhibit is set up in such a way that history is shown through the beauty of a biodiverse ecosystem. Having a background in botany, I could see how different members of the same family inhabited similar microbiomes. I was also able to see examples of convergent evolution with completely different species showing similar traits to live in similar conditions. To the right of my head, the plant that can be identified as two light green branches doing a gator chomp is a member of the first family of land plants to have ever evolved. Seeing it growing in a balanced ecosystem was very exciting and would only be possible in this controlled exhibit. Going to the museum was so very enjoyable because I was able to use the knowledge I have acquired in my courses, truly proving to me that what I am learning is useful and does apply to the natural world.
Nature and Ethics
Having a butterfly ride around the exhibit on my shoulder certainly made me feel like a member of the natural world instead of an onlooker who could control it. Other than being used as free movement around the exhibit, this experience made me imagine what an animal feels like in a true rainforest where all of these plants and butterflies live. The other patrons in the rainforest were more focused on observing the beauty of nature rather than becoming beautiful as a part of nature. By having no barrier or restrictions between the patrons and nature, the museum achieves submersions as long as the patron wishes to enter. The museum did not instill a need to protect nature only because I have had such a need from a young age, probably from good experiences at Butterfly World in South Florida.
Nature and Human Spirit
The Natural History Museum allows us to step out of our ordinary lives by an assortment of exhibits. The butterfly rainforest allows the patron to feel transported to a jungle far away from ordinary life. Other exhibits allow patrons to travel through time and discover animals and societies that existed in the near and distant past. By doing this, patrons can reflect how their lives are different and similar to those who came before and decide how they will show respect to those ancestors by taking full advantage of the opportunities of today. By seeing wildlife in its natural state of splendor, patrons can appreciate the intricacies that goes into making a functioning and balanced ecosystem, and how human influence can easily harm that balance and cause catastrophic failure in the functions of the ecosystem.
More Butterfly Rainforest Photos