The Florida Museum of Natural History is a museum that allows its visitors to experience nature throughout time, both in the past and present. It offers visitors a variety of exhibits that allow them to interact with nature first hand as well as learn about the different species that roamed on our planet in the past. It also provides information on how we as humans used to interact with nature in the past, allowing visitors to compare the way we treat nature today with how we lived thousands of years ago. Many of the exhibits at the FMNH draw parallels with the Good Life and the role of nature in developing the idea of the Good Life. This entry will focus on those parallels and the role nature plays in our lives.
Nature on Display
Pictured above is the extinct ground sloth that roamed the Earth 10,000 years ago
Before I went to the butterfly exhibit, I decided to check out the other exhibits on display at the museum. It was amazing to see all these fossils (some of them original, some plaster copies) of all the different creatures that used to roam the Earth. The exhibit takes you through the different creatures that roamed the sea, the ground and the air and places them in imitations of their original habitats. The way the exhibit is set up lets you appreciate all the different animals and the way they used to interact with each other. Many times we forget that there has been life on this planet for many years and that many of the creatures we have today all have ancestors as well. Being able to walk around an exhibit that shows the history of the planet really made me reflect on the constant change in the world and how nature has been and continues to be a constant present in our lives.
Fossil of a mammoth on display at the FMNH
Nature and Ethics
I completely agree with Leopold Higgins' idea of treating nature as something that we should love, admire and respect. Many times we forget that we are not the only living things on this planet and that Earth is a home for a variety of living creatures. I believe humans tend to be very selfish when it comes to their perspective of nature. Nature is not there to only provide for human's needs and desires. We are a small component of a larger ecosystem and the actions we take end up affecting the ecosystem in its entirety, at a small and large scale. I believe the Florida Museum of Natural History does a good job of trying to provide visitors with opportunities to experience nature as it is today, as well as view how nature and humans interacted thousands of years ago. The FMNH also makes sure to show how native americans used to live before colonization took place, a very important view of history that we are not always taught in school. It provides an example of peaceful coexistence among nature and humans, a relationship that allows humans to take what they need from nature in order to provide for themselves but also respect and not abuse these resources. I believe that the FMNH allows to connect with nature through a variety of different mediums, from fossils and exhibits to the beautiful butterfly garden. These hands on interactions alongside the informative exhibits really allow visitors to interact with nature and reflect on the role it plays in our life.
Nature and the Human Spirit
We are constantly surrounded by nature. Every day when we walk to classes, look outside our dorm window or go grocery shopping there is nature present. However, that does not mean that we always appreciate it or that we are aware of the constant beauty that surrounds us. By going to the FMNH we are able to see all this beauty on display and really appreciate how wonderful nature is. The butterfly exhibit allows people to get up close with these creatures in a way that is really hard to do in the real world. The exhibit is surrounded by plants and butterflies, separating us from the chaos of streets and concrete buildings that we have grown accustomed to and letting us enjoy a few minutes surrounded by greenery and life. By interacting with nature so up close we are able to really appreciate how amazing life on this planet is and reflect on the impact we as humans have on all these creatures.