Check out our new digs at our new Museum Musings blog. We’ll keep this blog active so you can revisit your favorite blog posts.
My name is Samantha (Sam) Marks, and I will be Fernbank’s Communications and Marketing intern for the summer of 2012. I am currently a fourth-year, Public Relations major at the University of Georgia, and I will be graduating in December of 2012.
I am a history lover, and a kid at heart. Earlier this year when I was considering places to apply for a summer internship, I could not think of anywhere more perfect than Fernbank Museum of Natural History. I was lucky enough to be chosen for the position, and now here I am!
I have only been at Fernbank for three days, but already I have done many amazing things. I spent last week familiarizing myself with the museum and meeting many members of the staff (I have only walked through the wrong door twice and forgotten a few names, so I would call that a success!). I also attended a couple of meetings, wrote a press release and began doing some research for future happenings at Fernbank.
I am fortunate to be interning at Fernbank during its 20th Anniversary celebration. On Saturday night, June 9, I was able to help at the event, Lost Oasis, which is the annual fundraiser put on by Fernbank’s Artemis Guild. The theme of the night was, The “Roaring” Twenties, in honor of the Museum’s special anniversary. Attendees were dressed in twenties-themed attire and spent the night celebrating all of the wonderful people who support the Museum.
I have learned so much in my first three days at Fernbank, and I can only hope that the rest of my time here will be as wonderful. I cannot wait to share all of my amazing experiences and adventures with all of the Fernbank lovers out there!
—Sam Marks, Communications and Marketing Intern
I’m writing in hopes of clearing up questions you might have around Fernbank Museum in light of recent media reports. As many of you are aware, the DeKalb County School System has been working through its budget, which has included discussion of Fernbank Science Center. Because there is often confusion over the name “Fernbank,” I want to take this opportunity to assure you that Fernbank Museum of Natural History is not associated with these news reports.
As a privately funded non-profit organization, Fernbank Museum of Natural History is doing well programmatically and financially. In fact, 2012 marks Fernbank Museum’s 20th anniversary! This special year offers an important milestone for the Museum as we begin an extensive planning process for the future of our entire campus and the majestic Fernbank Forest. We launched our 20th anniversary year with the momentum of a strong 2011, which saw the opening of our award-winning children’s exhibition, Fernbank NatureQuest, and tremendous growth in our family and student visitation from around the state.
As always, we thank our many visitors, members, donors and other supporters for helping Fernbank Museum inspire life-long learning of natural history through immersive programming and unmatched experiences that encourage a greater appreciation of our planet and its inhabitants.
I hope to see you at the Museum soon as we offer many exciting new special activities, programs, exhibitions and films in 2012!
President & CEO
Did You Know?
- In 2011, Fernbank Museum saw a 24% increase in general attendance, a 21% increase in school visitation and a 46% increase in membership. Donations from generous funders provided field trip admissions to over 55,000 students for free or deeply discounted rates.
- Fernbank Museum earns 90% of its annual income through admissions-related revenue and special events. As a private non-profit organization, all earned income is reinvested in exhibitions, films, educational programs, conservation and research.
- Fernbank NatureQuest, the Museum’s newest permanent exhibit, has won 3 awards for excellence in design — 2 of which are internationally recognized.
- This year, as part of our 20th Anniversary, Fernbank Museum is holding special programming days on 20 weekends throughout the year.
- In 2012 Fernbank Museum will continue conducting original archaeological field research which has already yielded scores of artifacts that can be traced to the early Spanish expedition of Hernando de Soto in 1540. Fernbank’s exciting discoveries have received international attention and garnered the support of the National Geographic Society.
- Fernbank Museum’s financial, operational and programmatic practices are monitored by the third party non-profit evaluator, Charity Navigator, and have achieved the highest possible ranking in their rating system.
For more information about Fernbank Museum, please visit us online.
A unique look at what it’s like to be a public relations professional at natural history museum.
Almost as often as I see jaws drop as visitors encounter the world’s largest dinosaurs at Fernbank, I witness a similar reaction when they learn I’ve been working here almost 15 years. I like to pretend it’s because I look young for my age, but the reality is that many people don’t stay committed to a job so long any more. Yet at Fernbank, the time has flown by because I am constantly learning new things, experiencing incredible exhibitions, understanding the world around me, interacting with educators and visitors, and meeting some of the most incredible people in the world.
Over the years, I’ve spent time with many of the fascinating stars and directors of IMAX films while accompanying them on media interviews, including David Breashears of Everest, Dr. Jane Goodall of Jane Goodall’s Wild Chimpanzees, Robert Lacey of Arabia, Tim Liversedge of Roar: Lions of the Kalahari, and Dr. Josh Wurman and Sean Casey of Tornado Alley.
Just this week I was lucky enough to spend some time at CNN International with Dr. Biruté Mary Galdikas, the world-renowned primatologist and orangutan authority whose rescue efforts are featured in the IMAX® film Born to be Wild. She is an incredible woman on so many levels. A true pioneer, she moved to live in the jungle wilderness of Borneo more than four decades ago after successfully persuading Dr. Louis Leakey to back her research. At the time she said there were no telephones, no electricity, no roads, and no connection to the outside world other than a plane that arrived once a week (and sometimes once every other week).
Since then, she’s successfully rescued and rehabilitated orphaned orangutans while working hard to protect their habitat. She says palm oil production is a big culprit of the diminishing habitats of orangutans there. I decided right then and there to try to avoid foods containing palm oil when I can. I was amazed that I could already be inspired to take action by being in her presence for only a few minutes. In an interesting turn of events, as I was sitting across from her, captivated by her work, her accomplishments and what it must be like to live so closely with nature, she asked me a question.
“Where is the most exotic place you’ve traveled?”
I knew my answer would never come close to her fascinating experiences, but she was truly curious. I told her Costa Rica, and was taken aback when she said she’d never been! But later, as I thought more about the question, I realized that I’ve traveled to the depths of the sea, the top of the world, into space, alongside wild animals, on African safaris and so much more through the amazing experience of IMAX films.
—Brandi Berry, Director of Public Relations
Here’s a clip of her appearance on CNN International.
Yesterday was a bittersweet day at Fernbank Museum as we said goodbye to one of our longtime Polaris volunteers, Furney Hemingway, who is moving to Florida.
Furney joined the Polaris volunteer guild in 1996. Since then he’s donated time, treasure and talent to the Museum. During his tenure, Furney contributed 3,200 volunteer hours supporting A Walk Through Time in Georgia where he greeted visitors, gave overviews of the exhibition and taught about the rocks and fossils on display at the desk. He even contributed a post to this blog. But it was his interest in archaeology that led Furney to participating in the Museum’s field research program located in South Georgia—The Santa Isabel de Utinahica Project.
At a small goodbye gathering, Susan Neugent, Fernbank President and CEO, joked that the Museum would “retire [his] jersey.” All joking aside, it is obvious that Furney will be missed; by staff, other volunteers and guests alike.
—Deanna Smith, Director of Marketing
As we put the finishing touches on our eye patches and faux jeweled crowns for our first Pirate & Princess Weekend of 2012, we thought it’d be the perfect time to share a few other upcoming events with you. So grab those calendars and pencil us in for a stunning line-up of events in 2012.
And, these are not all!
Dinosaur Egg Hunt
Saturday, April 7
Fernbank’s Dinosaur Egg Hunt is returning with expanded egg hunt times, additional giveaways, games, and more. Presented in partnership with Radio Disney.
Scoop on Poop Opening Day Celebration
Saturday, May 26
Join us for a celebration of Fernbank’s special exhibition Scoop on Poop. This fun and fascinating exhibition illustrates what we can learn about an animal by what it leaves behind.
97 Days of Play
May 29 – September 2
We’ve got the cure for the summertime blues! Join us for a summer-long celebration of great activities, events and ways to keep families entertained and inspired while school’s out.
Sunday, June 17
Come dressed as your favorite superhero and enjoy a day of games, hands-on activities and more.
Saturday, July 28
Get up-close and personal with a variety of live reptiles. Don’t miss this opportunity interact with and learn more about these unique and ecologically-important creatures.
Dinosaur Birthday Bash
Saturday, August 25
You’re invited for a day of dinosaur-themed activities including a giant-sized birthday party celebrating the world’s LARGEST dinosaurs.
Out of this World Weekend
Saturday, September 22 and Sunday, September 23
Join our mission to learn more about space, astronomy and how scientists learn about our universe through hands-on activities and demonstrations.
Fernbank BOO-seum Weekend
Saturday, October 27 and Sunday, October 28
Ghosts, goblins, princesses and pirates are invited to join us for a safe and not scary trick-or-treating event featuring costumed characters, music, games and more. Special treats for kids in costumes.
Science at Hand Day
Saturday, November 2
Biology, astronomy, ecology—oh my! Which of the sciences will you try? This is a unique chance to learn what it’s like to be a scientist and explore different scientific fields.
Caroling & Cookies Weekend
Saturday, December 1 and Sunday, December 2
Enjoy the sounds of the season and free holiday delights including performances, ornament-making crafts and more.
Be sure to visit our online calendar of events to details on these and other Museum programs.
See you soon!
—Deanna Smith, Director of Marketing
New Year’s Resolutions
Did you make a resolution this year? Come on, you can tell us. Better yet, let us help you keep those resolutions with a variety of unique opportunities for adults at Fernbank Museum in 2012.
I resolve to…get out more often.
Join us every Friday starting at 6:30pm for Martinis & IMAX®. It’s more than dinner and a movie, it’s the most unique way to spend a Friday night in Atlanta and it won’t break the bank.
I resolve to…make a difference in my community.
Fernbank’s largest volunteer group, the Polaris Guild, is currently recruiting new members. Polaris is a dynamic group of adults filling a valuable role in the success of Fernbank Museum. A variety of roles are available, based on your interests—from greeting guests, to assisting during special events
I resolve to…travel, but on a budget.
Well, we can’t fly you to the rainforest of Borneo or the rugged savannah of Kenya, but we can take you to these places in the comfort of our IMAX® Theatre. It’s armchair traveling at its finest as you sit back and enjoy Born to be Wild and The Greatest Places, both now showing.
I resolve to…do more and see more without spending a lot of money.
We understand. Everyone is looking for ways to cut back on expenses, while still having a good time. Why not buy a Museum membership? Museum members receive free Museum admission, save up to 40% off IMAX® tickets and enjoy other great discounts. Individual levels start at $75.
Do you have resolutions not covered here? Share them on our Facebook page and automatically be entered to win 4 Value Passes (valid for Museum and IMAX® admission)!
Here’s to a happy and prosperous 2012!
—Deanna Smith, Director of Marketing