One With The Butterflies A story about love, life, and identity by Daniel Nazarian

Toward the beginning of the museum, there is an exhibit with a bunch of big sea animals. It's a hallway, lit entirely in blue lights that fade and move to create the illusion that you're underwater. There were jellyfish, eels, and a giant Blue Crab as seen in the photo below. I thought the presentation of this exhibit was breathtaking and without a doubt my favourite part of the museum. The combination of the lights and the size of the animals was without a doubt the most striking part of this display. It truly immersed you in the setting and made you feel as though you were walking along the bottom of the ocean. I'm from South Florida, so the ocean is a big part of my life and always has been. Being able to see some of these animals and learn facts about them in such an immersive atmosphere was truly a delight.

Below is a photo of a small diorama type model of a Native Floridan village in South Florida. The part that struck me about it was how much of an impact they have on the environment around them. We often view these type of societies as far more environmentally friendly or having a smaller impact on the world around them, however, seeing this piece and comparing it to images of parts of Florida that are completely untouched gives an idea of just how much society affects the environment, even one as low impact as the Native Floridians. It made me feel both awe and sadness. On one hand, the fact that we have the technology, ability, and control over our environment to bend it almost completely at will is awe inspiring and a technological achievement. However, this impact's adverse effects on our environment are so apparent and so clearly harmful to other animals and the environment more generally. The group of friends I was with seemed to have a similar reaction to this piece which I think is the intention, it really draws attention to just how large an impact we can have. Even impacts we consider small or insignificant have profound implications on the environment. It inspired me to take more pride in where I'm from and make a bigger effort to protect its natural beauty and charm.

The tribe depicted in the photo below I think is a great example of how nature and the human spirit are related. it's hard to tell in the photos but in real life the display had a number of items and symbols found throughout the natural world. The text displays also gave a number of examples of how nature tied into these peoples' beliefs, ceremonies, and lives. It seemed very obvious how big a part of these peoples' lives nature and the natural world was, especially considering back then they didn't really consider there being another option. It made me realize that, even today, having a good relationship with the natural world is a very important part of a healthy person's life. More generally, the museum made me appreciate all the work and beauty in even the small things around me and in this beautiful state. I feel the Natural History museums (and museums more generally) are here to remind us of our origins and where we all come from not just because it's interesting to know but because whether someone likes it or not, one's past is a huge part of their personal identity and their lives. You can't simply ignore or erase the past, to the contrary, one should take pride in their history and embrace it and learn from it. Obviously this takes time and many people may not consider it fun or interesting however understanding where you come from is a vital part of understanding yourself. History connects us to traditions, lifestyles, and stories that are bigger than ourselves. Learning about our history and the world around us helps us not only appreciate what we now have and our lifestyles, but when one has this understanding it allows you to see just how incredible some of the little things in our daily lives and the natural world are.

Created By
Dan Nazarian
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