‘Museums for All’ program strives to increase access for low-income visitors

October 3rd, 2016

museums-for-all-logo_rgbGAINESVILLE, Fla. — Beginning today, the Florida Museum of Natural History is offering reduced admission to low-income guests as part of a nationwide program to encourage museum visitation and accessibility for families from all socioeconomic groups.

Guests who present a valid electronic benefits transfer card may enter the “Butterfly Rainforest” and featured exhibition for a reduced fee of $3 per adult as part of “Museums for All,” an initiative of the Association of Children’s Museums and Institute of Museum and Library Services.

“We hope this program will expand access and provide meaningful connections to science in our community,” said Darcie MacMahon, (more…)

Curator Bruce MacFadden named president-elect of Paleontological Society

September 21st, 2016
Bruce MacFadden is a curator of vertebrate paleontology at the Florida Museum. Florida Museum photo by Jeff Gage

Bruce MacFadden is a curator of vertebrate paleontology at the Florida Museum.
Florida Museum photo by Jeff Gage

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A Florida Museum of Natural History curator has been selected to serve as president-elect of the Paleontological Society, the largest professional organization devoted to advancing the study of fossil animals and plants.

Bruce MacFadden, distinguished University of Florida professor and Florida Museum curator of vertebrate paleontology, will take office Sept. 25 during the society’s annual meeting in Denver. He will serve two years as president-elect and then a two-year term as president.

“It is an honor to lead the Paleontological Society,” MacFadden said. “I am interested in reaching out to anyone who wants to be involved with fossils and paleontology, whether they are professionals, students, teachers, hobbyists or other members of the general public.”

MacFadden was a geology instructor at Yale University before he began working at the Florida Museum in 1977. His research focuses on the evolution, (more…)

‘Butterfly Rainforest’ exhibit to close at 4 p.m. through Oct. 6

August 16th, 2016
Florida Museum of Natural History photo by Kristen Grace

Florida Museum of Natural History photo by Kristen Grace

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The “Butterfly Rainforest” exhibit at the Florida Museum of Natural History will close early at 4 p.m., with last admission at 3:30 p.m., beginning Wednesday through Oct. 6 for scheduled maintenance.

The exhibit also will be closed all day on Wednesday, Sept. 7, and Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2016, for installation and removal of scaffolding.

Chase Permann, Florida Museum facility coordinator for exhibits and public programs, said the work includes pressure washing, sanding, (more…)

Map of Life named among 2016 best teaching, learning apps

July 14th, 2016

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The American Association of School Libraries recently announced its 2016 list of the Best Apps for Teaching & Learning, including the interactive data-gathering application Map of Life created by a partnership between the University of Florida and Yale University.

Built on 100 years of knowledge, users can log, track and identify species from anywhere in the world thanks to a recording feature on the mobile app. Citizen scientists contribute to the biodiversity data available to scientists by (more…)

Free ‘Creative B’ movie series kicks off with ‘Mothra’ July 8

June 17th, 2016

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Florida Museum of Natural History will offer extended hours and free film screenings with panel discussions during July as part of the University of Florida Creative B program.

CreativeB_wordmark_sub_lrThe museum is also hosting an opening reception at 6 p.m. July 8 where attendees can meet and greet Creative B featured artist Nobuho Nagasawa prior to the discussion and viewing of “Mothra” (1961) at 7 p.m.

“Creative B is a unique opportunity to speak to experts in the fields of special effects, science and science fiction,” said Tiffany Ireland, Florida Museum educator. “It’s the main event of the summer.”

The museum also will show “Little Shop of Horrors” (1960) on July 15, “The (more…)

Director Doug Jones elected as American Alliance of Museums board chair

June 7th, 2016
Florida Museum Director Doug Jones. Florida Museum of Natural History photo by Kristen Grace

Florida Museum Director Doug Jones
Florida Museum of Natural History photo by Kristen Grace

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida Museum of Natural History Director Douglas Jones has been elected chair of the board for the American Alliance of Museums. His two-year term began at the conclusion of the organization’s 2016 annual meeting last week in Washington, D.C.

In his new role, Jones will help lead the organization’s programs related to museum accreditation, monitoring the fiscal health of AAM and implementing the group’s 2016-2020 strategic plan. He also will chair two annual meetings and participate in federal advocacy efforts around the country.

An AAM board member since 2012, Jones previously served as vice chair for 2015-2016.

“I’m honored to have been elected to serve in (more…)

Building on shells: Study with UGA unraveling mysteries of Calusa kingdom

May 5th, 2016
Two University of Georgia students excavate a site on Mound Key near Fort Myers Beach. Photo courtesy of Victor Thompson/University of Georgia

Two University of Georgia students excavate a site on Mound Key near Fort Myers Beach.
Photo courtesy of Victor Thompson/University of Georgia

ATHENS, Ga. — Centuries before modern countries such as Dubai and China started building islands, the Calusa Indians living in southwest Florida were piling shells into massive heaps to construct their own water-bound towns.

One island in particular, Mound Key, was the capital of the Calusa kingdom when Spanish explorers first set foot in the area. Supported in part by a grant from National Geographic, a new interdisciplinary study led by University of Georgia anthropologist Victor Thompson and (more…)

New featured exhibit on ‘Wicked Plants’ opens May 14

April 20th, 2016

16434 Wicked Plants FB Graphic 1 FNLGAINESVILLE, Fla. —While the effects of marijuana, mushrooms and poison ivy are fairly well-known, many people may be surprised to learn about the potential danger of common plants in and around their homes.

And beginning May 14, Florida Museum of Natural History visitors will learn about the power that plants hold in its newest featured exhibit, “Wicked Plants: The Exhibit.”

The exhibit features more than 100 plants and is designed to educate guests about botanicals that are harmful to humans and animals, including evildoers lurking in the home and backyard. The story is brought to life inside an old home, where visitors will encounter a deadly dinner in the dining room, terrible toxins in the parlor, social misfits in the bathroom and (more…)

New $1.2 million NSF grant to promote STEM education in grades 6-12

April 8th, 2016
Science educator Laura Beach, from Soquel High School in California, and iDigFossils project coordinator Claudia Grant review 3-D images of a fossil. Florida Museum of Natural History photo by Jeffrey Gage

Science educator Laura Beach, from Soquel High School in California, and iDigFossils project coordinator Claudia Grant review 3-D images of a fossil.
Florida Museum of Natural History photo by Jeff Gage

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — There is new hope for kids who spend their free time digging in their backyards in search of dinosaur bones, wishing they could be like the paleontologists from “Jurassic Park,” but maybe with a tamer outcome.

Florida Museum of Natural History and University of Florida researchers at the College of Education recently received a $1.2 million grant to provide 3-D scanners and printers, new laptop computers, and curriculum focused on science, technology, engineering and math for students in grades 6-12 in Florida and California.

“I don’t think this project would be successful without the collaboration of the College of Education and the museum,” said UF associate professor of educational technology and (more…)

Two former archaeology curators receive lifetime achievement awards

April 8th, 2016
Jerald Milanich was curator of archaeology at the Florida Museum for 35 years. Florida Museum of Natural History photo by Jill Ribich

Jerald Milanich was curator of archaeology at the Florida Museum for 35 years.
Florida Museum of Natural History photo by Jill Ribich

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida Museum of Natural History curators emeritus Kathleen Deagan and Jerald Milanich were recently honored with 2015 lifetime achievement awards from the Southeastern Archaeological Conference for their many years of research on early American and Caribbean societies.

Deagan, Florida Museum distinguished curator emerita of historical archaeology, has discovered multiple archaeological sites in the St. Augustine area and uncovered new information about the role women played in early Spanish American and Caribbean societies.

As archaeology curator at the Florida Museum for 35 years, Milanich explored many sites throughout Florida, uncovering ancient artifacts that detail the everyday lives and (more…)