Archive for October, 2011
Evolution has been presented at Fernbank since our doors first opened in 1992 through a variety of programs, including the permanent exhibition A Walk Through Time in Georgia. However, the Museum’s newest special exhibition, Darwin, highlights the many elements of this subject in some new, different and exciting ways.
Visitors will peer into Darwin’s world as they join his voyage of discovery to encounter diverse species from the Galapagos, fascinating fossils, scientific tools, and the incredible discoveries of Charles Darwin (1809-1882). The exhibition offers an engaging and enlightening glimpse into the extraordinary life and mind of this incredible scientist, whose curiosity, observations and discoveries over 150 years ago about natural selection and evolution forever changed the perception of many species on Earth.
Ultimately, it is important to understand the science, including the observations and evidence, behind the theory, as the concepts apply far beyond one person’s research. Even today, evolutionary theory continues to drive scientific discovery in medicine, the environment and other fields, and these scientific advances have direct relevance to our lives and well-being.
Based on evidence from multiple scientific disciplines, evolution is regarded as the major unifying concept in science, and Fernbank remains committed to presenting the facts of natural history as they are currently understood and accepted by a consensus of the scientific community.
For those visitors whose favorite elements of natural history are found in our other exhibitions, we welcome you to continue visiting our live animals and hands-on exploration in Fernbank NatureQuest, the interactive exploration of science in Sensing Nature, the incredible cultural objects and belief systems explored in Reflections of Culture, the world of dinosaurs and prehistory in Giants of the Mesozoic, the archaeological investigation of Native American culture upon the arrival of Europeans in DeSoto’s Footsteps, and even the incredible realm of the moon, stars and beyond in the IMAX® film Hubble.
However, don’t miss the opportunity to explore the newest special exhibition because ultimately, Darwin reveals all that’s fascinating about discovering the world around you and ignites the curiosity to explore regardless of anyone’s initial reaction to the science of evolution. Come explore for yourself, even the savviest science buffs are bound to learn something new.
—James Hays, Vice President of Exhibitions
Working with young children is constantly entertaining. The things that come out of their mouths are interesting, to say the least! Because of this, I’ve written down some of my favorite comments to share with you, hoping you’ll get a laugh out of them, too.
- While taking a nature walk during the after-school program, one of the students spotted a deer: “Hey look—it’s a cow!!”
- A young girl on a different nature hike: “You can tell the difference between a girl spider web and a boy spider web. Girls have the messy webs, and boys’ webs are neat and pretty… you know, like the opposite of people.”
- In the exhibit A Walk through Time in Georgia, there is a display case of unfortunate accidents that have happened to the taxidermy animals when touched too often. With birds, this usually means that the head comes off the body. I point this case out to students to let them know why we don’t touch the taxidermy and what may happen. One student approaches me to tattle on another: “Ms. Becky, he touched the animals!!” Suddenly, the boy’s eyes got huge, he became extremely panicked, and he started whispering. “Oh, no…. you know what’s going to happen now??!!” Drawing a line across his throat with his finger: “His head is going to fall off!!!”
- A family was eating lunch underneath the dinosaur skeletons in the Great Hall. The little girl stopped eating, looked up at the Giganotosaurus, and held up the rest of her sandwich on an open palm. Her mom: “Hun, what are you doing?” Little girl: “He’s too skinny. I thought he would be hungry.”
- While walking around with a snake and interacting with guests, I asked a young girl what she thought the snake would eat. “I’ll give you a hint- I’m too big to be her food. What do you think she would like to eat?” The girl stared up at me with very concerned eyes and mouth open. Unable to even speak, she just pointed at herself and mouthed the word, “Me??”
- And my favorite story… we offer live animal encounters during the summer and on weekends, bringing out animals from our teaching collection for the public to see. Encounters typically have three animals. We pull them out one at a time to talk about them, and anyone four or older has the opportunity to touch the last animal. After finishing an animal encounter one day, I packed up the animals then headed to the room next door to help with the activities in there. Several people who had been in the animal encounter were already in the next room exploring. One little boy, around 3 years old, was in the back corner of the room surrounded by puppets. He picked out three of the puppets and held them one at a time in front of his mother, telling her to touch them gently with two fingers. When his mom noticed me watching, she smiled at me and said, “He’s pretending to be you.”
–Becky Facer, Environmental Education Programs Manager