When arriving at the Florida Museum of Natural History, the amount of people and exhibits were slightly overwhelming, however even the entrance to each wing caught my eye. However, the exhibit that I found particularly appealing was the butterfly garden. The butterfly garden stands out in the museum not only because it is a separate wing outside, but also because it is the only exhibit where people interact with live animals rather than look at them through confined glass cages. Natural history museums are supposed to immerse the viewer in nature, and this exhibit does this in the most literal and effective way.
Pictured above is a girl, who like many others visiting this exhibit stood still waiting for the butterflies to land on them. I believe that this is why I found the butterfly exhibit so appealing. This exhibit is unique in that people are actually immersed into nature by being able to directly touch the objects on display. Butterflies are something that are majestic, but due to their abundance and how often we see them, we often times do not appreciate them in their full beauty. However, this exhibit allowed me to see them closer and view them as a piece of art rather than an unimportant insect. For the first time, I analyzed their bodies and the diversity of colors, shapes, and sizes of the butterflies, which made me more appreciative of them. I truly believe that I would not have taken a second look if this exhibit was displayed as butterflies in cages. I believe the medium of this exhibit as well as it's distinctive appearance, as pictured above, is what makes it such an interesting experience.
Nature and Ethics
Northwest Florida: Waterways & Wildlife exhibit
I chose to discuss the Waterways & Wildlife exhibit because it stood out in a very particular way. As I walked through the museum I was intrigued and immersed myself in every exhibit that I passed. I felt that the amount of people and number of exhibits led me to recognize the relevance of museums in our lives. This exhibit resonated with me because it is unique in that you hear and feel the display rather than merely look at it. Leopard calls on us to view ourselves as members of the "biotic community," which I think this exhibit enables us to do. It educates us about bodies of water, while allowing the viewer to walk past simulated flowing rivers. This allows us to be one with nature and be a part of it, not "conquerors of the land." Additionally, the exhibit features trees and plant life as a means of education, which viewers can actually touch and explore. This exhibit helps me to make a stronger connection between ethics, as well as my own values, and nature.
Nature and the Human Spirit
The Hall of Florida Fossils: Evolution of Life and Land
Nature often makes us feel closer to the world and the mystery and majesty of it. The Hall of Fossils makes us step out of our ordinary lives by exhibiting objects of thousands of years ago. The display pictured above shows the evolution of a shark's mouth along hundreds of years. The concept of evolution is mysterious and majestic in itself in that not everyone believes in it or even fully understands it. Some people believe in a higher power in terms of nature and the world, based on different religions and cultures. However, others study evolution to get a better understanding of how our world and lives came to be.
Nature is more than what just what we see now; it also includes objects of the past and the unknown, which we are still discovering. These arrow fossils represent the relevance of the past and discovery in the study and appreciation of nature today. As we technology develops and we continue to learn about the world, we are able to connect to it more and understand the true majesty of it, which is why education and museums are so important.