Good Life Tour of the Florida Museum of Natural History By: angello rennella

Nature on Display: The exhibit that I chose for this section was of the cave formations. What caught my attention was plain and simple; the grandeur of the exhibit itself. It took up a whole room and allowed you to dive into another world, physically and figuratively. The size and magnitude of it all was so appealing to me that I lost track of time inside of it. I learned various things whilst inside the caves. An example of my new, profound knowledge was how water plays an important role in the movement of nutrients and and minerals through the ceilings and walls of the caves. Any other medium, whether a video or a book, could have explained this to me through words, but the fact that I was able to see the details in a 360 range of vision unfold right before my eyes facilitated my deeper understanding of the subject. Being able to immerse myself in a world that would be impossible to see otherwise was an exhilarating experience.
Nature and Ethics: The museum most definitely provided me with the opportunity to be engrossed in the biotic community of life. As I walked through the corridors of the museum, a sense of unity with the life displayed around me took place. For example, I felt one with the fossils because I myself will eventually turn to bones in the ground. The displays being depicted made me aware of how alike I was to them and how they all correlate to life on Earth. In the picture above, I am inside the butterfly garden, one of the many opportunities that the museum allows us to be one with nature. Many of the people inside the garden sat on the benches and reflected on the natural beauty of it all. I for one felt as if I myself was part of the exhibit. There was no way to distinguish me, a living organism, from the many flying organisms around me; we were all one. Leopold tells us to "love, respect, and admire" nature and I felt a responsibility to do all three, but especially to respect and protect it because a beauty as natural and serene as what I experienced deserves to be preserved for others to enjoy.
Nature and the Human Spirit: The museum gave us plenty of opportunities to step out of daily life. The caves, for example, placed us in an environment thought impossible to be in. The artwork I have pictured above is of native northwest Floridians and their shared cultural traits. The artwork gives us an inside look at an exchange of some sort. This understanding of our past gives us insight on the cultural traits we used to partake in. I believe this is the equivalent of, years from now, artists building sculptures of humans surfing the web or shopping at malls. It is important to study and appreciate art such as this piece because no matter how you look at it, we will never be sure of what went on in the past but the depictions we see in museums and exhibits are a possible glance of what used to be. These glances aid us in the answer to the question "who were we?" but don't reveal the whole truth. That itself is the beauty of what we see; we will never know but we can hypothesize and appreciate what we do know. It is a mystery that is beautiful, frustrating, and thought-provoking. These emotions help us appreciate the fact that artworks such as these are able to provide us with the glances we are given.

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Angello Rennella


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