FLMNH Kenneth Smith

Above is a picture of a blow dart gun. As a kid, every boy wants a blowgun and seeing this in the exhibit brought back memories. This blowgun was around 15 feet long and was used for hunting animals. Only the most skilled hunters were trusted with using this weapon to bring food home. This was only one of the many exhibits that I was able to experience at the FLMNH which taught and helped me to appreciate nature. Photo by Kenneth Smith.

Nature on Display

One exhibit that caught my attention as soon as I walked in the door was the giant skeleton of the Woolly Mammoth. This structure was right in the center and was easily the largest piece in the room which immediately caught my eye. This was the first time I have seen any skeleton of a large prehistoric animal which was a sight to remember. From this structure, I could understand how massive these animals were and how unique their body structure was. Their tusks solidified the meaning of “survival of the fittest” and really showed how powerful of an animal they were. If I had just seen a painting or clay sculpture of a mammoth I don’t think I would have been able to really understand the massiveness of this creature. Seeing the actual bones that made up a mammoth made everything I have ever heard about these animals valid.

In this picture I was standing under the giant mammoth. When I first walked in I noticed the huge mammoth skeleton in the middle of the room towering over guests. My first reaction was that I thought this animal just radiated power. The fact it was so big made me wonder how intimidating a whole pack would be if you came across them in the wild. The museum did a great job with this design, having it in the front room. It really grabs your attention and strikes curiosity right as you walk in the door. Seriously, how can you not think those huge tusks are awesome. This was definitely one of my favorite parts. Picture by Kenneth Smith.

Nature and Ethics

As I was walking around the museum, I stumbled across the Cambrian Period which had coral reef exhibits. This particularly spoke to me because every summer I spend time in the Florida Keys, and one of my favorite things to do is to snorkel around coral reefs. There is one particular reef that I enjoy right outside of Marathon Key that spreads a mile long. This past summer, I was able to really examine the reef and see how much erosion has happened even in just one year. This discovery made me think of how luscious coral reefs used to be before human interference and how much of an issue coral bleaching really is. Seeing the Cambrian Period exhibit of corals, I noticed how tall the different organisms were and how populated they used to be. Seeing how inhabited they used to be versus how the reefs are now made me realize that there needs to be changes to the way humans dispose of waste and how they preserve wildlife in the ocean. In a sense, this gave me ethical responsibility to really appreciate and admire coral reefs and respect how much of a purpose they serve for so many animals and organisms in the oceans.

In this picture there is a small underwater Cambrian Period exhibit. The reason this small exhibit caught my attention was because of how healthy and big the fake coral looked compared to what I see every summer down in the keys. I already knew that the reefs were suffering a lot and were rapidly dying but I never new what healthy coral looked like in person. Seeing this exhibit really hit me at home because I could see what they once were, before human interference. This really made me think about what I could do to help clean the oceans and preserve the reefs. Pictures by Kenneth Smith.

Nature and the Human Spirit

The butterfly exhibit I believe truly shows how you can step out of your ordinary lives and experience nature. An example I saw of this was a family with a few kids that truly felt they were in a whole new foreign world. They felt like they were a part of the forest they believed to be in, instead of just being in a museum. Butterflies are the perfect example of transformation, and how you can start out one way and completely change into something different. This exhibit helped me analyze how to better appreciate the mystery of the natural world because like butterflies, you are born one way and you are shaped or transformed as you live your life. What causes the transformation are different experiences and events that happen to you from the natural world. The mysterious part is you don’t truly know what is changing you until the change ultimately happens.

The first picture is the plaque at the beginning of the exhibit which helps people grasp an understanding of it. It shows a brief history and talks about the climate. In the second picture, the first word that comes to mind is majestic, with the tall trees and different species of butterflies sitting all over it. In the third picture I was taking in every aspect of the exhibit thinking how it was definitely my favorite part about the museum. Being able to go inside and feel like you're truly in the forest is exaggerating. I even had a few butterflies land on me as if i was part of nature. This made me relate to Leopold when he said he was able to admire the land. Picture by Kenneth Smith.

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