Good Life Tour of the Florida Museum of Natural HistoryKelise Walker
I really liked the exhibit about Florida’s personal history and the scientific evidence as to why the state is the way it is. It was designed with life size models that gave you as sense as if you were really there. The birds with feathers that looked so real, the figurines performing the duties one might have done in that time period around the life size ‘house’ they lived in, and the sound effects of different noises that you would commonly hear. It was immersive and instead of just reading about history in a textbook it was displayed right before your eyes. The exhibit exposed my eyes to the utilization of the land from the tools that were made from trees and/or animals as well as the food provisions that reaped from the land. Furthermore, I learned that the highly complex society of the Calusa people actually didn't rely on farming for staple crops rather their main staple was fish and had small gardens. We saw this in the remains that were left over after they were doing eating them, it was shown in a case of the different layers of the land and the make up of it, I would see that in a book and it would mean nothing but seeing it in front off my eyes puts it into perspective that these were actual people who don’t have advanced technology as we do today. I think that was also the most enjoyable part that some of the exhibits of the museum were made for little kids so it was fun to be a big kid while feeling so intrigued like a little kid in a candy store.
The Natural History Museum gave us the opportunity to to see the the steps of life through nature’s creatures that directly relate to the steps of a human life. We have so much more in common with the animals we live with than we think and the amount of knowledge that we have about these different species can not separate us from that fact. When I saw the words “evolution” I thought of how we each evolve from little pieces of DNA to a toddler, to a kid, to a teen, to an adult, and to an elder. The speed and way in which that evolution happens in nature maybe different but the basic elements are the same to humans. It was also confronting, after seeing the word “extinction” I remembered that I am not going to live forever and that the world isn't either but right now that’s not a pressing issue; however, these animals in nature are dying and becoming extinct faster than we can detect and that reality is scary. That realization was quickly lost when kids were running around me and so excited to see the dinosaurs and the butterflies. They didn’t read much of the information but many of the parents an grandparents came along behind them reading everything that their kids ran by, maybe to tell them one day or to learn something new for themselves. There were interactive places in the museum were you could see butterflies hatching out of their cocoons and event the butterfly garden allowed visitors to connect with the nature. I definitely think that the museum instilled an ethical responsibility to nature like Leopold imagines because the design of the museum immersed me into the natural world while learning that I wouldn’t have gotten if I just went outside. I saw how my body flowed through the exhibit just as if the animals were alive talking to me. I am a part of their story as much as they are a part of mine.
The Natural History Museum let us go into the butterfly garden full of plants and floating butterflies. It was a magical wonderland, a complete dream as if I could be whisked off on the wings of the butterflies. The lush greenery and the pops of color from the exotic flowers took me out of my stressed out school brain and relaxed my mind and encouraged me to lust into a whole new world. It helps us understand who we are because there are no distractions to cloud our judgement, we are able to breathe and not worry about anything around us except the moment. It allows us to mentally and physically be in the moment and see ourselves for whoever we want to be because nothing or no one is telling us otherwise. It also takes you away from the industrialized and commercial influences of the world and to the places where there is air, rest, and beauty. I think the best part was that I didn't know all the butterflies exactly or the specific types of plants but that unknown adds to the mystery and majesty beauty of nature. It reminded me of one of my favorite scriptures from the bible- “The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23