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Heather Lerner, director of the Joseph Moore Museum of Natural History, left, has led a group of 20 students in preparing a new insect display for the museum.

Joseph Moore Museum Displays New Permanent Exhibit at Annual Open House

March 29, 2013

The unveiling of a newly redesigned insect exhibit highlights Joseph Moore Museum's annual Open House from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 6.

“We have a team of 20-plus students and six faculty members who have created the exhibit,” says Museum Director and Assistant Professor of Biology Heather Lerner. “The students and faculty have come together as museum workers, volunteers, and through class projects over the course of the last year, and they have made some top-notch displays.”

The new exhibit aims to show how integral insects are to the world, including their importance to the national economy. Highlights of the new insect alcove include an aluminum cast of a harvester ant nest, an insect tunnel including an underground wasp nest, honey bee dance display, pinned insect drawers organized by family, a live pond exhibit, an insect theater and a touchscreen video display.

Open House Schedule
10:30 a.m. Insect Exhibit Unveiling
11:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m. Insect Pinning Demonstration
(Bring your own previously frozen insects to pin)
10:00 a.m. - Noon Local Photographer Jim Chagares will be available
to talk about his nature photography
11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m.        Planetarium Show
Noon Study Skin Preparation Demonstration
12:30 p.m. Assistant Professor of Art Walt Bistline will be available
to talk about his landscape photography
1:00 p.m. A capella concert by Earlham’s New Measures and Brimley’s
3:00 p.m. Story Time with Insect-Themed Stories

“For a long time the Joseph Moore Museum has been a neat natural history museum,” Lerner says. “What we want is for the museum to be both a science and natural history museum — less about exhibits behind glass and more about interaction with the scientific process. To that end, the new insect exhibit is the first redesign of one of our permanent exhibits.”

The changes include more hands-on activities to make science relevant to a person’s life. Exhibits will focus more on learning and doing science and less about passively reading labels. Another goal is that the exhibits will target all ages, with activities that will appeal not just to kids but adults as well.

Practical Experience for Students

“The students, whose majors range from art to the sciences to math, researched for months and then boiled that research down into digestible, attractive exhibits,” Lerner says. “It was neat to see them go through the entire process from beginning to end. They took their theoretical knowledge and skills from classes and applied them, and the importance of this extension of the learning process can’t be overstated.”

Bailey Heinzen ’15, a biochemistry major, was part of the insect exhibit design group and worked on the insect quiz questions.

“Not only has this been good experience in a field that I hope to get a job in, it has been a really cool opportunity,” Heinzen says. “I have been so focused on microbiology, it has been good to gain experience in macro biology. This is a different part of biology that I don’t usually get in my classes. I did this research and then I had to put in a child- and adult-friendly presentation.”

Biology major Casey McCabe ’13 worked on the insect drawers.

“Each drawer has four boxes, and each box contains interesting facts about the group,” McCabe says. “These drawers are some of the older material that we will be using, so I had to figure out how to present the information in an eye-catching way. There’s really detailed upper level information that adults can go through, and then there are things the younger kids can get out.”

At the end of McCabe’s experience she hopes to put together a portfolio of her work at the museum.

“It’s an exciting thing to have when I go to look for a job.”

In addition to the renovated insect alcove, the museum also has on display award-winning nature and wildlife photographs from Jim Chagares. Permanent exhibits include a mastodon skeleton, the world’s most complete skeleton of a giant beaver, an Egyptian mummy, a planetarium and live reptiles.

About Joseph Moore Museum

The Joseph Moore Museum is a regional natural history museum located on the campus of Earlham College. Thousands of school children visit the museum each year to participate in experiential learning activities and learn about the exhibits on display. The museum is free and is open to the public from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

The museum also offers Preschool Story Time on the first Tuesday of each month at 10 a.m., and a Bedtime Stories program on the last Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. for school-age children and their families. To find out more about these programs, visit the museum's website or call 765/983-1303.

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