Nature on Display: The exhibit that I connected with the most was the Mammoth exhibit, visible immediately after entering the museum. The massive nature of the display in both scope, and size, captures your attention and sucks you into the museum immediately after viewing it. What I found appealing is how it seems like such a surreal thing, the mammoth existing seems more of a fairy tale than reality. But learning that this thing once existed on the planet, and being face to face with a recreation in the form of petrified fossils and bones put together of one is a crazy experience by itself. I also enjoyed how this exhibit made me even more interested with what the rest of museum had to offer. I assumed that if this exhibit was as interesting as it came off to be, the rest of the museum exhibits would be. I was correct. I learned that seeing something in person makes more of an impression than just seeing things online. Seeing it through its actual intended perspective, from a real life point of view rather than photos allowed me to understand just how much of a natural marvel the mammoth was, and allowed me to come up with some interesting theories as to why the mammoth was so big in the first place. It allowed me to merge my philosophical theory and insight that I so often use to solve problems with the natural science world.
In scale, this mammoth was huge. I wanted to get a selfie but there was a huge crowd of people and children taking photos next to it, and I didn't want to get in the way.
Nature and Ethics: Going through the Butterfly exhibit was one of the most comforting experiences I had in my entire life. I always loved nature, and animals in particular of all shapes, species, and sizes, but this exhibit in particular despite the huge crowds of people, was so relaxing and soothing. I had never entered a butterfly exhibit that had life interaction and observation with thousands of butterflies, but this exhibit allowed me to observe them up close and personal, and admire the beauty of the exhibit as well as the beauty exerted by the synchronizing of the exhibit into the natural history museum. Other people reacted similarly to me, with both a deep connection to the natural history museum, the butterflies, and the butterfly exhibit from what I observed. People of all colors, races, and creeds, seemed united in the fact that nature is something universal to all of us, and we see it through open eyes and ears. Nature is something that is constantly changing and yet our perspective of nature doesn't change. When you observe nature from a purely aesthetic standpoint, it becomes clear for all of us. Sensing the sounds of water flowing, birds chirping and even the slight noises of willow tree branches fluttering in the wind leaves you with an indescribable feeling. It leaves you happy, and feeling human. This is surely something I and many others neglect, but there's something innately and subconsciously satisfying about being with nature, even for a few brief moments. I can only compare it to eating a sweet cookie after abstaining on a low carbohydrate diet for months, the most indescribable pleasure and also something needed after prolonged lacking periods of exposure to such stimuli.
A bit of an awkward photo, had to maneuver around crowds of people also in the exhibit to take this quick snapshot and I just went with it.
Nature and the human spirit: I believe we all need to step out of our mechanized lives, even for a second, and go out for an experience in the natural world. Fortunately, we're on a campus that has lots of outdoor recreation, but many studies neglect this due to lack of time. This assignment allowed me to make that leap out of my regular daily routine and experience something that I believe is essential to see after a certain period of time. From all the eye-grabbing exhibits that keep you actively engaged and learning about nature, to the exhibits such as the Butterfly exhibit that keep you immersed in nature, the entire museum allows for you to step out of this materialistic trance and even escape consuming thoughts that trap you into your own mind and allows you to experience nature firsthand and leaves you refreshed and truly recharged. I believe people who have this experience are more focused and able to tackle on coursework and assignments and immerse themselves even more than the person who makes the conscious effort to neglect these things. I appreciate the natural world not only for its majestic and mysterious nature, but for the essential effect that it has on our minds and bodies. We can not exist without nature, stay truly sane without the elements and experiences that nature provides us, and cannot truly even live without nature, and yet it is something we neglect and abuse to such a significant extent. We are all composed of natural elements, molecules, we are made up of all of these things that coexist with nature. From birth to death, our bodies and thoughts are all a natural chemical lifelong symphony that is so far tied into nature as gravity is for walking. The natural history museum helps us understand that we aren't just observing the exhibits, we in a way are part of the exhibits and everything that goes on in the museum. It allows us to have a moment of self-reflection, even if it is a brief one, and allows us to truly gaze and look at ourselves from another dimensional perspective other than in first person.
Even something as small as this frog has as much of a role in the ecosystem as you do.
Sources: All of these photos were all taken by myself.