NASA scientist, PBS ‘Star Gazers’ to give presentation during free ‘Starry Night’ event Nov. 4

October 26th, 2016

17598-starry-night-digital-materials_fbgraphic3GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida Museum of Natural History visitors will have the opportunity to view the moon and planets with astronomy experts Nov. 4 from 6 to 10 p.m. during the museum’s annual “Starry Night” event.

The guest speaker for this year’s program is Cathy Olkin, the deputy project scientist for NASA’s New Horizons mission to Pluto, who will present “Our New View of Pluto,” featuring images of Pluto’s large glacier and mountains. Olkin will answer audience questions following the presentation.

“Astronomy is a science that everyone can engage with,” Olkin said. “You look in the sky and see planets, stars and the Milky Way. For many, this can spur curiosity about other fields of science.”

This year’s event also features James Albury and (more…)

UF Cultural Plaza festival features hands-on science, art activities

October 18th, 2016
Florida Museum of Natural History photo by Kristen Grace

Florida Museum of Natural History photo by Kristen Grace

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Florida Museum of Natural History, Harn Museum of Art, University of Florida Performing Arts and Southwest Recreation Center will host the first UF Cultural Plaza Festival from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday featuring free exhibit tours, dance performances and other indoor and outside activities for visitors of all ages.

The Florida Museum will host a pop-up museum where guests may bring fossils from home to identify them with scientists and touch real shark and ray fossils. Visitors may also help transcribe data, including information from 180 images of Alachua County fall flowers, as part of WeDigBio, (more…)

Celebrate wildlife during 11th annual ButterflyFest Oct. 1

September 9th, 2016

17531-bfest-fb_4_fnlGAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida Museum of Natural History visitors will have the opportunity to learn about the significant role butterflies have in nature during ButterflyFest on Saturday, Oct. 1.

The free event from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. features live butterfly releases, workshops and activities for all ages. This year’s theme, “Why Butterflies Matter,” highlights the ecological importance of butterflies, including serving as environmental indicators and the flagship species for conservation. The insects also are model organisms for many areas of biology research.

“Butterflies are important biological indicators of a healthy environment and ecosystem,” said Jaret Daniels, associate curator and director of the McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity. “These charismatic ‘gateway bugs’ also help stimulate interest in nature, (more…)

First ‘Murder Mystery at the Museum’ program set for Aug. 3

July 22nd, 2016

17542 Murder Mystery_fb1_FNLGAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Florida Museum of Natural History will host its first murder mystery event Aug. 3 as part of the University of Florida Creative B program.

The “Murder Mystery at the Museum” event features an interactive theatrical show presented by a company from Orlando, and guests are encouraged to come help crack the case dressed in 1920s attire.

“This is a great opportunity to get the best of both worlds,” said Paul Van Duyn, The Murder Mystery Company assistant private sales manager. “You get to enjoy ‘Wicked Plants: The Exhibit’ and participate in a fully immersive murder mystery event that has connections to the exhibit.”

The opening reception begins at 6 p.m. with heavy hors d’oeuvres and (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…)

‘Wicked Plants’ opening celebration May 14 features family activities

May 3rd, 2016

wickedlogoSMwebGAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida Museum of Natural History visitors will have an opportunity to play an “animal murder mystery game” and participate in other free family-friendly activities from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 14 during opening day of the new featured exhibition, “Wicked Plants: The Exhibit.”

Visitors can speak with Florida Museum botanists who will bring specimens from the collections, or play “pollinator vision” and “match the plant with the pollinator” with Gators Reaching Out With Botany.

Other participants include Alachua Conservation Trust, the City of Gainesville Nature Operations Division, (more…)

Brownie, Junior Girl Scout archaeology program set for May 6

April 26th, 2016
Brownie Girl Scouts enjoy an exploration event at the Florida Museum. Florida Museum photo by Jeff Gage

Brownie Girl Scouts enjoy an exploration event.
Florida Museum photo by Jeff Gage

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Girl Scouts can join the Florida Museum of Natural History for an evening of exploration during its May 6 “Girl Scouts Explore: Archaeology” program.

Brownie and Junior Girl Scouts can discover the world of archaeology and Florida’s past during the event from 6 to 9 p.m. with activities to engage girls in excavation, pottery and (more…)

Earth Day event April 16 to feature theater workshop

April 6th, 2016

Earth-Day-LogoPollinator plant sale April 15-17 includes early opening Sunday

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Florida Museum of Natural History and Harn Museum of Art will celebrate Earth Day on Saturday, April 16, with various activities for University of Florida Cultural Plaza visitors.

The Florida Museum will start the weekend with a three-day plant sale beginning Friday, April 15, and running from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Featuring more than 150 species, the sale is one of the museum’s largest of the year. Saturday’s celebration from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. features many activities, (more…)

Celebrate geology during 10th ‘Can You Dig It?’ March 12

February 29th, 2016

Editors note: A complete list of activities follows this release

Florida Museum of Natural History visitors observe a simulated volcanic eruption. Florida Museum of Natural History photo by Kristen Grace

Florida Museum visitors observe a simulated volcanic eruption.
Florida Museum of Natural History photo by Kristen Grace

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Florida Museum of Natural History is celebrating its 10th year of volcanic eruptions and geological discoveries at “Can You Dig It?” March 12 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

This free, fun-for-all-ages event provides visitors an opportunity to uncover Earth’s geological wonders through hands-on activities and educational demonstrations.

Those who haven’t attended in recent years can look forward to new additions and changes. University of Florida geology professor Thomas Bianchi, who worked on the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, will lead an activity allowing participants to discover how chemistry is used to clean up these environmental accidents.

“As we continue to drill in deeper waters, it is important for people to look at some of the problems with deep sea drilling and challenges with cleanup,” Bianchi said.

Other returning favorites include the augmented reality sandbox, make your own earthquake and deep ocean drilling, where participants can sample their own “drill core.” (more…)

Summer, field camp registration begins March 15

February 29th, 2016
Catherine Carey, museum public programs coordinator, right, observes campers learning to distinguish a species belonging to the spiny lobster family during a 2013 summer camp. Florida Museum of Natural History photo by Kristen Grace

Students handle a species belonging to the spiny lobster family during a 2013 summer camp.
Florida Museum of Natural History photo by Kristen Grace

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Registration for Florida Museum of Natural History summer and field camps opens March 15, and includes a new “Lep Camp” this year for students in grades 5-8 to experience field collection, specimen preparation and the conservation of butterfly and moth specimens with museum scientists Aug. 1-5.

Pre-registration is required for all camps and is available online at www.flmnh.ufl.edu/summer-camps. Florida Museum members may register early beginning March 1.

With “Wicked Plants: The Exhibit” opening this summer, students enrolled in grades 1-4 for the 2016-2017 school year will have the opportunity to learn about some of Mother Nature’s most appalling creations during a “Botany Gone Bad” camp. Participants also can examine fossils, discover ancient cultures, learn about past and (more…)