Museum sets date for 100-year anniversary gala in 2017

September 28th, 2015

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Florida Museum of Natural History will celebrate its 100-year anniversary as the state museum with a gala on Earth Day, Saturday, April 22, 2017, from 6:30 to 11 p.m. at Powell Hall on the University of Florida campus. The event will include dinner, live entertainment and dancing.

Other anniversary weekend activities include a public celebration and academic symposium. The museum is also producing a special 100-year anniversary exhibition scheduled to open during fall 2017.

The museum traces its roots to the 1890s as part of Florida Agriculture College in Lake City, where the first specimens were collected and used for teaching. In 1906, the collections were moved and the museum was established on the University of Florida campus in Gainesville.

The celebration marks the anniversary of the museum’s designation as the state’s (more…)

$2.5 million NSF grant to fund online butterfly family tree, field guide

September 23rd, 2015
Florida Museum of Natural History researchers Rob Guralnick and Akito Kawahara work in the McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity collections. ©Florida Museum of Natural History photo by Kristen Grace

Florida Museum of Natural History researchers Rob Guralnick and Akito Kawahara work in the McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity collections. ©Florida Museum of Natural History photo by Kristen Grace

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Butterflies have been objects of scientific research for hundreds of years, but information about the popular insects is scattered across the world in books, research papers and museum collections.

Scientists at the Florida Museum of Natural History aim to gather everything known about butterflies, from conservation status to host plants, and connect the details to a comprehensive evolutionary family tree including all 18,728 named species. The information will be available to researchers and the public online through a resource called ButterflyNet. The four-year project funded by a $2.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation begins Jan. 1, 2016.

Creating a full picture of butterfly diversity and identifying gaps in our knowledge will spark new insights into (more…)

FWC to launch ‘Wings Over Florida’ butterfly program Saturday during ButterflyFest

September 14th, 2015

Media Advisory

WHEN: Saturday, Sept. 19; 1 p.m.14174 ButterflyFest_SignUpGenius_FNL

WHO: Florida Museum of Natural History and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission representatives will launch the addition of a new butterfly certificate recognition to the “Wings Over Florida” program, which previously focused solely on birding.

WHERE: Florida Museum of Natural History, 3215 Hull Road – Powell Hall, University of Florida Cultural Plaza, Gainesville, FL 32611

WHAT: The “Wings Over Florida” program encourages bird and butterfly enthusiasts to explore Florida in search of species to add to their “life list.” The new component includes six certificates awarded based on butterfly-watching achievement. Following the unveiling, visitors may sign up for the program, start building their butterfly “life list” in the museum’s Florida Wildflower and Butterfly Garden or adjacent UF Natural Area Teaching Lab and earn a basic level certificate.

DETAILS: For more information, visit http://floridabirdingtrail.com/index.php/resources/wings/ or http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/butterflyfest/home/

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Contact: Paul Ramey, pramey@flmnh.ufl.edu, 352-213-0999

Celebrate nature with 10th annual ButterflyFest Sept. 19

September 3rd, 2015
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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…)

New exhibit challenges belief first Thanksgiving held in Jamestown

August 27th, 2015

‘First Colony’ details St. Augustine’s Spanish roots
Photos available

PrintGAINESVILLE, Fla. — Visitors can discover the little-known history of the nation’s first enduring European settlement at the Florida Museum of Natural History’s new featured exhibit, “First Colony: Our Spanish Origins,” opening Oct. 17.

Spaniards, free and enslaved Africans and Native Americans crafted America’s original “melting pot” in St. Augustine, Florida, in 1565, long before the founding of Jamestown. “First Colony” features the site’s archeology, history and stories of people who lived there.

“‘First Colony’ challenges the long-standing belief that the English were the first to colonize America and establishes St. Augustine as our country’s oldest enduring European settlement,” said Florida Museum exhibit developer Julie Waters. “We’re (more…)

New ‘Exploring Our World’ exhibit features research

July 3rd, 2015

EOWGAINESVILLE, Fla. — Visitors can learn about the importance of research and collections in a new exhibit now on display at the Florida Museum of Natural History.

“Exploring Our World” features information about ongoing University of Florida and museum research, and spotlights current UF initiatives in the science, technology, engineering and math fields. The UF research section includes videos produced by students highlighting projects across campus.

“The exhibits at the museum are just the tip of the iceberg,” said Florida Museum exhibit developer Julie Waters. “The museum has vast collections and a rich history of research, (more…)

US military veterans, families receive free admission July 3-5

June 26th, 2015

US FlagGAINESVILLE, Fla. — To honor U.S. military veterans, the Florida Museum of Natural History will offer free admission to all fee-based exhibits for veterans and their families during the Fourth of July weekend.

The offer is valid July 3-5 for veterans and up to five family members with a valid form of identification. Valid identification includes: a military ID, DD Form 214, VA card or driver’s license with a blue “V” in the bottom right corner.

The Florida Museum also is offering free admission to all fee-based exhibits for active duty military personnel and their families through Labor Day as part of the Blue Star Museums program.

This is the fourth consecutive year the museum has participated in the program, which is a collaboration among (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…)

New NSF project aims to help scientists navigate the tree of life

June 18th, 2015
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Nico Cellinese and collaborators at Duke University will develop software over the next three years to improve access to information on the tree of life. Photo courtesy of Reed Beaman

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A new University of Florida and Duke University collaboration aims to do for the tree of life what Google Earth did for navigation.

A National Science Foundation grant of nearly $1 million will fund a three-year project to develop software that will make the context of every named and unnamed organism accessible online to scientists and nonscientists.

The new software will allow computers to translate the tree of life and put scientific names in context by more clearly linking those names to evolutionary concepts and associated data, including DNA sequences and morphological characteristics. The project will have immediate and broad practical applications for communicating, integrating and querying biological data across the tree of life, said Nico Cellinese, associate (more…)

Active military receive free admission through Sept. 7

June 17th, 2015

BSM-no-tagGAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Florida Museum of Natural History is offering free admission to all fee-based exhibits for active duty military personnel and their families through Labor Day as part of the Blue Star Museums program.

This is the fourth consecutive year the Florida Museum has participated in the program, a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense and more than 2,000 museums across America. The program runs from May 25 through Sept. 7.

“We are honored to be part of the Blue Star Museums program again this year and (more…)

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