Celebrate 37th Collectors Day Jan. 9

December 17th, 2015

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Collectors can share their personal treasures with Florida Museum of Natural History visitors during the 37th Collectors Day Jan. 9, 2016, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Collectors Day is the museum’s longest-running and one of its most popular public programs.
Photo by Jeff Gage

This free event is the museum’s longest-running public program, allowing visitors to interact with collectors from across the region and learn about the context and historical significance of their collections.

Collectors Day was originally created to recognize collectors’ contributions and donations to the museum’s vast collections. The museum holds one of the nation’s largest collections with more than 40 million specimens, and was visited last year by more than 1,000 scientists and others from around the world last year researching various topics.

“Museum collections are the library of life,” said Florida Museum educator Tiffany Ireland. “They provide (more…)

Museum to host 17th ‘Trashformations’ student recycled art competition

November 3rd, 2015
Museum visitor views an entry constructed from recycled materials for the 2014 "Trashformations" student art competition.  Florida Museum of Natural History photo by Kristen Grace

Museum visitor views an entry constructed from recycled materials for the 2014 “Trashformations” student art competition.
Florida Museum of Natural History photo by Kristen Grace

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Alachua County students will learn the value of repurposed waste during the 17th annual “Trashformations” student recycled art competition awards ceremony Nov. 20 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Florida Museum of Natural History.

Participants will transform “waste” into creative works of art to compete for cash and other awards. Middle school, high school and college students are eligible to apply through Nov. 13.

“The museum is committed to providing resources and setting an example for a sustainable society,” said Florida Museum educator Tiffany Ireland. “ ‘Trashformations’ is a unique way to feature area student artists’ interpretation of what ‘trash’ can become.”

To participate in the eco-friendly contest, at least 70 percent of the entry must be constructed from recycled materials. Judges select winners based on creative expression and (more…)

Explore the universe during free ‘Starry Night’ event Nov. 13

October 29th, 2015
A visitor observes the night sky using a professional-quality telescope during the 2014 "Starry Night" event. Florida Museum of Natural History photo by Kristen Grace

A visitor observes the night sky during the 2014 “Starry Night” event.
Florida Museum of Natural History photo by Kristen Grace

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Area astronomy experts will provide Florida Museum of Natural History visitors an opportunity to explore the wonders of the universe Nov. 13 from 6 to 10 p.m. during the ninth annual “Starry Night” event.

Outside, weather permitting, visitors may gaze at binary stars and nebulas through professional-quality telescopes and learn about the universe with members of the Alachua Astronomy Club and University of Florida astronomy department.

Other free activities include a portable planetarium show and the opportunity to view the universe in 3-D as well as a 70-pound meteorite. Attendees also (more…)

Public invited to free biodiversity digitization event Oct. 24 as part of four-day global effort

October 16th, 2015

wedigbio_finalGAINESVILLE, Fla. — Area residents will have the opportunity to help make biological collections accessible online during a free event Oct. 24 at the Florida Museum of Natural History.

The event from 10 a.m. to noon at Powell Hall on the University of Florida campus is part of the Worldwide Engagement for Digitizing Biocollections project, known as WeDigBio. Participants will take part in a citizen science project to help convert some of the billions of records in analog form into digital format to advance scientific research.

Florida Museum associate curator and project coordinator Robert Guralnick said the event is an opportunity to (more…)

‘First Colony’ exhibit celebration features free opening day activities

October 12th, 2015
The “First Colony: Our Spanish Origins” exhibition features an interactive, hands-on table that gives visitors the opportunity to work as an archaeologist, including uncovering artifacts. The Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville will display “First Colony”  Florida Museum of Natural History photo by Kristen Grace

The “First Colony: Our Spanish Origins” exhibition features an interactive, hands-on table that gives visitors the opportunity to work as an archaeologist, including uncovering artifacts.
Florida Museum of Natural History photo by Kristen Grace

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida Museum of Natural History visitors will have the opportunity Saturday to participate in free opening day activities celebrating the museum’s new featured exhibit, “First Colony: Our Spanish Origins.”

The celebration scheduled from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. features hands-on activities, interactive displays, information from outside groups and a special presentation by Kathleen Deagan, Florida Museum distinguished research curator emerita.

Deagan, who has conducted fieldwork in St. Augustine, Florida, since 1972, will discuss what she and other scientists have learned about American history from the first Spanish sites.

“Archaeology in the Spanish settlement has helped change our understanding of America’s colonial origins,” said Deagan, who also is a University of Florida adjunct professor emerita of anthropology, history and Latin American studies. “Our first permanent colony was established 42 years before Jamestown. The artifacts and (more…)

Alachua County fourth-graders to receive free ‘First Colony’ exhibit tours

September 29th, 2015
Students observe artifacts explaining how Native Americans made jewelry and other items out of silver and gold from shipwrecks off Florida’s coasts in the "First Colony: Our Spanish Origins" exhibit.  Florida Museum of Natural History photo by Kristen Grace

Students observe artifacts explaining how Native Americans made jewelry and other items out of silver and gold from shipwrecks off Florida’s coasts in the “First Colony: Our Spanish Origins” exhibit.
Florida Museum of Natural History photo by Kristen Grace

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Alachua County fourth-grade students have the opportunity to visit the Florida Museum of Natural History’s new featured exhibit, “First Colony: Our Spanish Origins,” during a two-hour free program beginning Oct. 27.

Designed to support classroom studies, the “First Colony Days” program engages students in learning about the nation’s first colony in St. Augustine through archaeology, history and the stories of people who lived there. Scheduled for 19 dates through January 2016, the program includes hands-on (more…)

Celebrate nature with 10th annual ButterflyFest Sept. 19

September 3rd, 2015
wof_bfly_web10_jun

The “Wings Over Florida” butterfly viewing program awards certificates at six achievement levels.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida Museum of Natural History visitors will have the opportunity Sept. 19 to learn about “Connections to Nature,” the theme for this year’s 10th annual ButterflyFest.

Featuring live butterfly releases, workshops, entertainment and activities for all ages, the free event from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. will focus on healthy interactions with nature, including information on biodiversity and environmental conservation, management and sustainability.

One new activity this year features the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s launch of a butterfly component to its “Wings Over Florida” program. The new program, which previously focused solely on birding, includes six certificates awarded based on butterfly-watching achievement.

Florida Museum and FWC representatives will unveil the program during a brief ceremony at 1 p.m.

“We are extremely excited about the program,” said Jaret Daniels, associate curator and (more…)

UF ‘Creative B’ free movie series begins with ‘Them!’ July 10

June 19th, 2015

Them-PosterGAINESVILLE, Fla. — Visitors can find out how science meets movie magic during a month of free film screenings at the Florida Museum of Natural History.

Beginning with “Them!” (1954) on July 10, the Florida Museum will host an opening reception at 6 p.m. with light hors d’oeuvres. The museum will be open to the public from 6-10 p.m. and show movies on Fridays during July as part of the University of Florida “Creative B” program. UF students receive free admission to the “A T. rex Named Sue” exhibit with a valid Gator 1 card.

The series includes a question-and-answer panel discussion on the balance between science and art beginning at 7 p.m., followed by the movie.

“The Creative B theme for 2015 is ‘ethics of science, art and movies,’ so we are exploring how movies sometimes use pseudoscience to enhance the experience and (more…)

Brownie, Junior Girl Scout butterfly program set for May 1

April 15th, 2015
scouts

Emily Winters, production assistant in the “Butterfly Rainforest” exhibit, shows Scouts from various troops an owl butterfly during the 2014 “Girl Scouts Explore: Botany” program.
Florida Museum of Natural History photo by Kristen Grace

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Girl Scouts are invited to participate in an evening exploration of butterflies and moths from around the world at the Florida Museum of Natural History’s “Girl Scouts Explore: Lepidoptera” program May 1.

The program from 6 to 9 p.m. offers Brownie and Junior Girl Scouts the opportunity to learn how to identify, classify and pin butterfly specimens that will be added to the museum’s collections. By completing the program, Scouts may earn a museum logo patch with an accompanying “Lepidoptera” bar specially designed for the event.

“This event will provide Girl Scouts with a wonderful opportunity to not only learn about butterflies and moths first-hand, but also to interact with women in the science field and researchers with the ‘Butterfly Rainforest’ and the McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity,” said Florida Museum educator Amber Hodges.

During the program, Scouts will explore the “Wall of Wings” and (more…)

Earth Day event April 18 to feature geocaching activity

April 8th, 2015

Earth-Day-LogoPollinator plant sale April 17-19 includes early opening Sunday

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Visitors can experience the awe of nature during the Florida Museum of Natural History’s Earth Day celebration April 18 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event also features a large pollinator-friendly plant sale April 17-19 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. including extended hours on Sunday.

The event offers an opportunity to observe diverse specimens from the museum’s vast collections and includes outdoor activities in the adjacent University of Florida Natural Area Teaching Laboratory.

New this year, UF’s George A. Smathers Map and Imagery Library will provide visitors with GPS devices to help locate available geocaches around the Cultural Plaza.

“The museum is like an iceberg, and (more…)