The Florida Museum of Natural History By David Summa

The Florida Museum of Natural History is one of the largest and fastest growing natural history museums in the United States, with thousands of specimens and artifacts on display for the public. When I first entered the museum, I was greeted with both the large variety of exhibits to view and the massive number of people who decided to converge upon the museum (for a Harry Potter convention, apparently). However, the wall of people could not block the connection with nature which I soon felt after beginning my exploration of the museum.

Nature on Display

Figure 1: The butterfly garden.

Out of all the exhibits in the Florida Museum of Natural History, I thought the butterfly garden was the best example of Nature on Display, since it is quite literally nature put on display. This exhibit immediately caught my attention due to its uniqueness: there is nowhere else in the Florida Museum of Natural History that allows people to see the natural world in its full beauty. The exhibit is teaming with foliage, and live butterflies are allowed to roam freely: the exhibit brings spectators into the world of the butterflies, rather than just showing viewers a fake display. From the exhibit, I learned how fragile the natural world is (butterflies are delicate creatures), something I could not have learned through a different medium. Overall, I enjoyed the exhibit since it allowed me to explore a different world.

Nature and Ethics

Figure 2: Various exhibits in the Florida Museum of Natural History

Out of all of the exhibits in the Florida Museum of Natural History, the energy conservation exhibit is the best example of ethics applied to nature. Although the exhibit does not allow the viewer to directly experience nature, it outlines methods to live more harmoniously with the natural community. As a whole, the museum provided an excellent opportunity to connect with nature. As I went through the museum, I felt a sense of awe looking at nature, and also a sense of duty to conserve it. As I deeply pondered these thoughts, others were enamored with the visual and tactile (in the case of the conservation exhibit) stimulation provided by the various exhibits. This stimulation allowed museum guests to connect with nature, as I was able to. The connection I felt, in conjunction with the conservation exhibit, instilled a sense of responsibility within me, a responsibility to live harmoniously with nature, rather than pillage it.

Nature and the Human Spirit

Figure 3: An exhibit depicting Florida history.

Part of the appeal of the Florida Museum of Natural History is that it serves as an escape from the tedium of our daily lives. It allows to step outside the confines of our lives and experience nature. Take, for example, the exhibit based on the history of the Calusa Indians, which allows guests to step into the lives of the previous inhabitants of Florida. The rich history of this tribe gives you an appreciation for who we are, since they derived their entire lifestyle, livelihood, and religious beliefs from the environment around them: Florida's estuaries. Additionally, experiencing nature in this way allows us to gain an appreciation of the majesty of nature.

Created By
David Summa


All photos taken by author.

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