A Look Inside The Natural History Museum By: Gianna Drayer

Nature on Display

Butterfly Rainforest

Natural History Museums are so interesting to me because they harness so much information about the natural world. Each section of the museum is dedicated to a specific aspect of the natural world. My favorite display was definitely the Butterfly Rainforest, I had never really been that close to any butterfly before and seeing them fly around right before my eyes was a really special opportunity. Although the rainforest was a controlled environment, I felt like I was actually outside and it didn't feel like I was at a museum at all. The exhibit captured my attention because swarms of butterflies were flying right before me and I even had one land on my finger. All of the butterflies were unique and bright vivid colors and I was so excited to see more with each turn of the path. I would not have had the same experience if I saw those butterflies on pages in a book, seeing them flying and alive made me have a greater appreciation for them. This made me realize how fragile nature is, I was afraid I was going to hurt one of the butterflies or step on one. I thought it was a really cool thing that I was one with nature and I was able to be part of the butterflies' habitat even if it was just for a couple minutes.

Nature and Ethics

Above are a couple of animal species that are close to extinction.

One of the most eye-opening parts of the museum was the part talking about the dangers to the coral reefs, everglades and wetlands and the list of all of the endangered/ risk to be extinct animals. The animals I have pictured above have all been in my life one way or another and it was really sad to see that they may n longer exist in just a couple of short years. The quote by John Muir below says, "When we try to pick something up by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe." This is something that I learned at the Natural History Museum. Everything in nature is connected and you can see that in the different exhibit that the museum offers, it shows the connections that nature has. The Museum takes the time to show and explain all parts of nature, not just the cool ones, but also the start reality of our nature today. I was in awe at all of the displays and how much I learned in just the short time I was there. The small hallway where the animals above were displayed really made me want to watch my actions and "love and respect" nature a little bit more like Leopold said. I saw a bunch of children running around amazed by the fossils and the bright colors and vivid sounds, but I also saw the older people taking extra time in the endangered species sections. I think they were thinking the same thing as me, how could these animals that are so important to florida almost be gone? I felt an ethical responsibility to be more conscientious about the waste I produce and the products I buy after seeing this exhibit.

Nature and the Human Spirit

Two extinct shark species.

The bottom photo was one of the coolest parts of the museum for me. I never even imagined that there could be sharks that big and the museum gave me the opportunity to experience that. I saw so many things that I wouldn't be able to have seen in regular life and I think this connects to Hecshel's quote on experiencing the Universe. The museum helped us step out of our ordinary lives and see things that we never even knew existed. The museum also had branches that showed how humans played a role in the lives of other animals and our ecosystems. One exhibit even showed us how we can improve our actions and help make Florida's future better. This exhibit showed our footprints, and also showed us that the world is so much more than we know. There are so many unexplored parts we must keep safe and learn about. The Natural History Museum truly gave me the opportunity to see the role humans take on in nature and show me that nature is far bigger than I have ever imagined.

All photos were taken by Gianna Drayer

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