Good Life Tour of the Florida Museum of Natural History By John Hughes

Nature on Display

South Florida History Exhibit

History museums are designed to put the viewer into the world they wish to portray, often the past, and the exhibit that seemed to do this the best at the Florida museum of Natural History was the South Florida exhibit, especially the portion portraying what life was like for the Calusa tribe. The physical experience was incredible. A soundtrack of the sounds of the south Florida coast, birds, the ocean, and other sounds played in the background to complement the physical model including a traditional Calusa home and the environment around it created an inclusive experience allowing someone like me, a person who grew up in the north and have very little knowledge of south Florida living, to see and almost live the lives the Calusa once did. Through portraying the exhibit like this, one can visually see the differences of lifestyle, and makes them tangible compared to simply reading them. The portrayal of the estuary is best experienced rather than shown. I enjoy learning, but the most satisfying part is understanding why and how things happen, and the realism shown in this exhibit brings the exhibit to life, immerses the viewer, and makes understanding the life of these tribes easy. Rather than simply looking at a picture of the environment, there is almost a 360 degree view with with visitor at the center of the exhibit.

Nature and Ethics

Butterfly Genetics Exhibit

As humans i believe we have a responsibility to maintain the environment we inhabit. Leopold wants us to "love" and "admire" the land, but also to view ourselves as members of the "biotic community". The study of genetics has come to the forefront of debate in recent years as opposing sides debate whether the practice upholds these views. Some argue that tampering with genetics is playing God in the natural world, while others argue that it simply is improving its position in the natural world. In this sense it can be argued that genetic research, such as that presented in this exhibit, is an attempt to "conquer the land" such as Leopold warns about. this exhibit stood out to me as the rest of the museum seemed to embrace and celebrate the natural world, and how the natural world has influenced humanity throughout history, putting the visitor inside nature, while this exhibit seemed to be more of a picture and description of how humanity is influencing the natural world, how we are attempting to control it, for better or for worse. This exhibit did not allow for the personal connection to nature that was provided by the rest of the museum for this reason. I am a firm believer that we need to uphold the environment as Leopold says we have a responsibility to do so, and i support the genetic research being done within reason. We must uphold ethical standards for both humanity and the natural world alike, and hold ourselves accountable to doing so.

Nature and the Human Spirit

Butterfly Exhibit at the Florida Museum of Natural HIstory

Great thinkers such as Emerson, Heschel, and Thoreau have emphasized the importance of the individual's connection with nature. The butterfly exhibit at the Florida Museum of Natural History provides the individual to take time out of their day to completely separate themselves from society and put themselves in an environment dedicated to nature. To simply experience the beauty of nature and the miracles it presents. The past presents its own mysteries but the present still provides some of the great wonders and mysteries of the natural world. The butterfly exhibit puts the viewer into a rainforest filled with natures creations. It gives the viewer something they would not otherwise have access to in their daily routines; a place to simply take in beauty of the world. By doing this the viewer can begin to appreciate the beauty and majesty of the natural world. They can wonder how nature has created creatures such as the butterflies on display, and the plants that surround the exhibit. The different signs provide guidance towards gaining an understanding of these creatures, but seeing these butterflies flying around still adds to the sense of wonder

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