Florida Museum of Natural History By Zakariya Hassouneh

Nature on Display

The "American Mastodon" Display at the FLMNH, Picture taken by myself

The pictured display above of the "American Mastodon" at the Florida Museum of Natural History was my favorite display at the museum. The American Mastodon an elephant like creature except it had long antler like appendages. I think the reason i enjoyed it so much was because it was so large and easily stood out. When you walked past the display it could not be missed, it was easily one of the most stopped by exhibits at the museum. I stayed at this exhibit for some time because i wanted to full capture the shear size of what this animal would have been like in its prime. According to the sign at the exhibit "adults stood between 8-10 feet and weighed 5-7 tons", it weighed almost as much as 5 sedans. The use of the skeleton was possibly the best medium to exhibit this animal because it is very hard to see how any other medium could show how large this animal was. No painting or picture could show this animals true size like the skeleton could. I enjoyed the museum in general because it was obvious that they tried to pick the best medium to exhibit the history accurately and correctly.

Nature and Ethics

The "Calusa Remains" Display at the FLMNH, picture taken by myself.

This above pictured display of the "Calusa Remains" strongly exhibits both history and ethics. Throughout the exhibit the signs stated how the Calusa community as a whole lived with the land in way. They respected the land and understood its importance. They saw themselves as a community and not as rulers. When the Europeans arrived in Florida and conquered the land they brought diseases and sickness with them that eventually wiped out the Calusa community. This displays what Leopold was saying when described people as "conquerers of the land", the Europeans came in and conquered the already existing communities and took their land and resources without respect for the land. As i went through the exhibit i felt as if Florida had once been a site of respect for nature and love for the earth rather than a tourist hotspot. This exhibit was along with some other native American exhibits and was popular with others, possibly because it gave us a different perspective of Florida. The exhibit itself used a very appealing medium because the museum curators attempted to recreate the setting of the native American community by using vegetation, manakins or wax figures, and other props. The recreation of the setting allowed museum visitors to be immersed in the setting of the native Americans and allowed people to truly feel nature. After leaving the museum i felt that i needed to be more connected with nature, i did feel as i had a larger responsibility to the land and community around me and agreed more with Leopold's vision. I think if more people experienced history and nature that they would also feel this growing responsibility.

Nature and the Human Spirit

Display of Medicine in the Butterfly exhibit at the FLMNH, Picture taken by myself

The Florida Museum of Natural History allows us the opportunity to experience history in a medium that we are not often granted. The museum curators attempted to recreate many of the exhibits as they were in history. For example for some native Floridian tribes, they used tents, vegetation, and other props in order to recreate the setting these tribes lived in. This allows us to step out of ordinary lives because it gives us the chance to "be in someone else's shoes" such as the native Floridian tribes. Another way that i noticed that nature and the human spirit were connected was in the Butterfly exhibit, the picture above shows a display that showed a way that humans and nature are connected in medicine. Through studying the Swallowtail butterfly researchers were able to better understand RH disease and develop a shot that saved many lives. Just by studying nature researchers were able to understand a disease better and save lives. I think this offers good motivation for people to read more into the mystery and majesty of the natural world.

Credits:

All photos taken by myself

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