Harn Museum By Tyler Wilkinson


This exhibit presents historic megalodon jaws. Positioned on a walkway towards the "Florida Fossils", these jaws are perfectly juxtaposed to the the pedestrians walking into this section of the museum. Walking by them at floor level you experience more of a visualization of how big the animal actually was than it hanging on a wall. You cannot help but feel intimidated by the wide open jaws in front of your face that are big enough to swallow you whole.

The Butterfly Garden is a semi-outdoor enclosed mock rainforest with plants and animals. I found this to be my favorite exhibit because it made the visitor experience the location it is recreating. Walking into the garden you feel the humidity increase, hear the fake rainforest noises, and see fish swimming and butterflies flying. During my tour it also just happened to be raining which enhanced the experience tenfold. Mist was wafting down through the mesh roof and coating everything in a sheen of water. This made the rainforest theme much more believable. The wooden walkways and railings simply blended into the background making the experience more immersible. All of this culminated into a peaceful walk through a beautiful rainforest making this my favorite exhibit of the Harn Museum.

South and Northwest Florida Exhibition

I found the artistic renderings of the native florida people to be very intriguing. There is not a lot of evidence left from these natives which means that the artist and designer in charge of this exhibit had to use facts to visualize what these people must have gone through. I found the picture on the left of the hunted mammoth to be particularly impactful. The brutality of the image helps one peer into the harsh reality of these natives' lives. Here you see the entire tribe being involved with this animal carcass. This successful hunt meant everything to these people. A reliable source of food for the next couple of weeks ensured that their tumultuous and unpredictable lives would continue, at least for a while. With no words, this piece of art felt very impactful to me.

Florida Exhibit looking at Mangroves

Mangroves have a huge impact on the Florida wildlife. Living in South Florida my entire life I did already understand that concept. Walking through this exhibit, however, I began to understand the complex ecosystem that these plants really provided to wildlife. The top two photos are underwater representations of animals that live in and around the mangrove systems. The lives of both predator and prey revolve around these plants one way or another. In an attached room the plaques detail the importance of these ecosystems in regards to the lives of birds. Without the mangroves and the aquatic life under them, these birds would have no where to live and no source of food to eat. It quickly became apparent to me how all of these environments and wildlife lean on each other in a complex and dynamic dance to create life. This beautifully orchestrated ecosystem works as an analogy for life. There are many paths that one can choose in life; i.e. one could be the bird, barnacle, shrimp, or fish, but without one the other has trouble living. We are all interconnected and dependent on each other to progress in this world efficiently. The theme in this exhibit expresses unity. This depiction of an ecosystem all living together in the mangroves is a physical and real world example of unity and interconnectivity.


Created with images by jared422_80 - "Gainesville - Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art - Roadside Sculpture"

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