My Tour of the Museum of Natural History by meghan cassidy

"Florida Fossils: Evolution of Life and Land" was my favorite exhibit. I adore fossils and geology. I loved the sandy island in the middle of the floor with fossils and animals; I felt more immersed in the world of animals before their bones became fossils. The lighting on the island imitated desert sunlight, and it helped to make me feel like I was there in history with the live animals. Out of all of the fossils, my favorite was the shells. I had no idea how big they were in real life. It is one thing to read online that a conch shell is 7 inches long; it is an entirely different feeling seeing the conch in person in all of its glory. I also loved the wall with layers of stone and sediment. It is so thrilling to look at an actual physical stone slice of history.

I felt that I experienced nature in the way that Leopold recommends in every exhibit except the underwater section of "South Florida People and Environments." It felt very fake to me, and I did not feel like I was experiencing nature myself at all. I had no idea of all of the technologies available for developing energy-efficient housing. There are simple ways to save energy that I never thought of at all. One of my favorite sections was the Resilience and Resistance display. Just the idea of women resisting by weaving pictures of ways to resist are amazing. I also liked the display of midden. Middens are the remains of what people leave behind piled up on top of each other over centuries. It is interesting to visually see that Native Americans and Europeans walked over the same ground. While I was reading over the quotes illuminated on the wall, an elderly couple were fawning over the displays representing the different ancient eras. When I was observing the different types of butterflies on display, a little boy was running around me, trying to take in all of the sights as fast as he could. After touring the museum, I feel much closer to nature. My experience reminded me of how much I love the outdoors, and it inspired me to plan a camping trip and canoeing with my friends.

When I was in the Butterfly Exhibit, surrounded by life and flutters, I forgot about my upcoming chemistry exam. All I could focus on was the pretty colors of the butterflies engulfing me in happiness. The Natural History Museum transported me to a world filled with butterflies and old lives woven into the new. I had no idea how many species of butterflies there are, and I only glimpsed a small fraction hanging on the wall in glass. There was so much information to absorb, that I was forced to focus all of my attention on the exhibits. There are so many different types of conch shells that I never expected. Seeing numerous animals and fossils made me realize that humans are only one species in a world of billions. It gave me a reality check; we do not own this earth. It is a privilege to be here and to share this space with other animals. We are not as far away from other animals as we would like to believe.

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