A Trip to the Florida Museum of Natural History Zachary Zeller


The Florida Museum of Natural History is a nature museum located in Gainesville, Florida. I attended the museum on February 26, 2017. In the following paragraphs I will detail some of my experience at the FLMNH and how it impacted my understanding of what a good life entails.

Nature on Display

Picture taken by Zachary Zeller on 2/26/17 at FLMNH.

One exhibit that I found particularly memorable involved being "shrunken down" to the size of a fish and placed in an aquatic environment. It was sobering to be on the same level as the shrimp, fish, and other wildlife that inhabit the environment. The use of space to give the audience a new perspective on aquatic environments allows us to feel more connected to the region and ultimately, more invested in its fate.

Nature and Ethics

Taken on 2/26/17 at the FLMNH by Zachary Zeller.
Taken on 2/26/17 at the FLMNH by Zachary Zeller.
Taken on 2/26/17 at the FLMNH by Zachary Zeller.

As mentioned above, the Museum employed a deliberate distortion of space to shrink man and extend nature. In this exhibit, which was found just outside of the aquatic environment, we see a similar device. However, this time we (the audience) are viewing man from above and we understand the context in which the miniature humans are living. It is almost transcendental in the way that we can observe man from an outsider's perspective and compare man's society to the vastness of the nature that surrounds it. It definitely works in conjunction with the underwater simulation in giving us a new perspective on the natural world. For the rest of the tour, I was more aware of the power of the natural world and how important it is for us to protect it.

Nature and the Human Spirit

Taken on 2/26/17 at the FLMNH by Zachary Zeller.
Taken on 2/26/17 at the FLMNH by Zachary Zeller.

The butterfly garden was by far the most mesmerizing and moving feature of the museum. We often forget just how beautiful the natural world is, whether it be the sunlight raining down on foliage, butterflies emerging from their cocoons, or simply the sparkle emanating from moving water. The FLMNH offers us the opportunity to reconnect with that beauty in an accessible way. Being in the midst of thousands of butterflies made me realize the importance of imparting beauty not only on our environment, but on our lives. What is our purpose if not to create beauty and share it with others?

Pictured: Abie King (granted consent to having her picture shared). Taken on 2/26/17 at the FLMNH by Zachary Zeller.

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