A Day at the Florida Museum James Tanton

(Title Image) James Tanton, 2017

(Below) James Tanton, 2017

On February 23rd, I took a trip to the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville. This facility is the state's premier center for natural history, home to millions of specimens and artifacts. Prior to my visit, I had heard of the Florida Museum, but had never seen any pictures or other information about the museum's purpose. I expected to encounter some form of nature at the museum, and I was satisfied with the environment I discovered. I left the museum feeling enriched, and with a feeling of satisfaction in finding such a rewarding experience on campus.


(Above) James Tanton, 2017
(Above) James Tanton, 2017
(Above) James Tanton, 2017

Without a doubt, the main attraction for me personally was the Butterfly Rainforest. The layout was fairly simplistic: a large enclosed atrium. With natural sunlight filling out the rest of the space in this man-made ecosystem, I set down a winding path through seemingly endless vegetation, complimented by streams filled with live fish and turtles. Butterflies flapped around, constantly in my field of vision. This exhibit truly captured its audience through immersion, by placing the visitors right in the middle of the action. This technique allowed for me to experience many flora and fauna up close, surely not in a way I could do otherwise. In doing so, I learned more about the environment around men, the natural world that is the focus of this museum.


(Above left, center, and right) James Tanton, 2017

After leaving the Butterfly Rainforest, I had a newfound feeling of symbiosis. The prior exhibit succeed in making its visitors care and take ownership of the world around them. The majority of guests I encountered were quiet, completely engrossed in their surroundings. Moving inside, I approached this miniature house, a consumer advisory exhibit. It is important for us to conserve as much as we can, and this exhibit was filled with information on easy ways to cut energy use, green alternatives, and tips for recycling. Our ethical commitment to the planet is reinforced through this exhibit, transforming the feeling of harmony from the butterflies to practical knowledge.


(Above left, center, and right) James Tanton, 2017

Leaving the museum, I felt a newfound appreciation for nature and the comfort it is capable of providing. The above exhibit was displaying traditional dress from the people of the Andes Mountains. Seeing up close the manner in which these people lived, and their ability to coexist with nature to benefit both parties. This exhibit taught me a lesson about sustainability and the value it holds for us moving forward as we focus on conserving our environment.

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