When I finally reached the museum and realized it was in the same exact location as the Harn museum I was a little upset I made an unnecessary trip. None the less, I was excited to go see what the museum had to offer, if it was anything like the Harn I was in for a pleasant surprise.
Antsy to see what the museum holds
Nature on Display
Immediately after entering through the front of the museum you get a since of what to except. In the main lobby there was a massive skeleton of Mammoth (seen in the title background image) and hallways leading to different exhibits. The first exhibit I entered was the Frog section, although it this exhibit was much simpler than most it was very informational. With each species of frogs there was a brief description about the frog and scattered through out the room there are interactive activities to help you learn more about frogs. By utilizing live specimens as well as interactive resources the museum does an excellent job of conveying information in a fashion that appeals to everybody. Some things can not be fully understood unless they are actually experienced personally.
Skeleton of the frog with description to help the viewer understand how they jump
Although the frog section was interesting, it was far from my favorite exhibit. I would have to say the exhibit that taught me the most and I found most interesting was the exhibit in which extinct species were displayed in an eye catching fashion. Skeletons were spread out throughout the floor and were also suspended from the roof throughout the exhibit. Throughout the room and along the wall there were informational plaques arranged chronologically coinciding with the changes in the earth. In the center where most the skeletons were, the coinciding plaques told you about them and when they were extinct and so on. This type of visual aid and atmosphere is a key aspect in the understanding of the information presented. The museum forces you to be immersed in this information with both visual and descriptive aids that compliment each other, this is what I found to be the most enjoyable aspect of the museum. I truly think that this type of medium provides an experience and understanding that could not have been reached through other means. Its one thing to read information out of a textbook and another to experience information.
Nature and Ethics
"love, respect and admire", in regards to our planet these are the things Leopold believes we must do in order to conserve the only earth we have. I really think the exposure provided by the Florida Museum of Natural History really supports this. By providing both experiences from the past as well as the present we are able to see the amazing creatures that predeceased us as well as those who are still with us today. This contrast helped me realize the importance of conserving our earth as well as the species we still have with us today.
The Megalodon Shark... maybe it might be a good thing this one went extinct (man for scale)
One of my favorite exhibits was actually the section that focused on Floridian human history. By observing the Native Experiment exhibits and paying attention to the descriptions provided we can really see how they lived in harmony with nature. The powerful images of Natives fishing and living off the land can be an inspiration in our own efforts to conserve our earth. It evident that the Native Americans truly embodied the beliefs of Leopold, this is obvious in their rituals and the prominence natural forces play in their culture and way of life.
Something I found really interesting and did not expect to find in the museum is a sort of "exhibit" (more like a miniature house) that informed the viewer about the importance of energy conversation as well as steps they can take in their own homes to take a step in the right direction. I thought this was an invaluable resource because many people do not realize that they can make a difference on an individualistic level toward the conversation of our earth rather than it being something unique to government policies and corporations. Through these various mediums the museum does an excellent job of conveying the beliefs communicated by Leopold as well as reaching out to the emotions of the viewer, I know it did for me.
Small room but a huge message
Nature and the Human Spirit
Walking into the museum I really did not think there would be more to it then walking around and looking at the various displays, it turned out to be much more than that. By breaking up the museum into sections that immerse the visitor in the time period and the theme it corresponds to really catalyzes a sense of emotion and appreciation for the world we live in. By providing examples from the past of a world so different from ours it really puts into perspective the mystery of the world. What came before us varies tremendously from our present reality, it makes one realize the mystery of what comes after. This experienced allowed me to step back and really think about the ever-changing world and the universe as a whole. In our busy lives this type of reflection is almost a type of meditation, to step back and appreciate the universe that seems to work so seamlessly could be considered an invaluable part of the Good Life.
The details in the exhibit help with the realization of the complexity of our own planet, the sea is a whole other world.