Post comments after visiting the museum
After visiting the Bell Museum and reading “The Rarest of the Rare”, I found much correlation between the two. Edward Wilson in “The Rarest of the Rare” describes museums and zoos to be actual time machines where one can travel back and observe nature as it was preserved to be seen. The specimen in the Bell Museum are real animals who were once living and depicted to be in their native habitats. Museums, like the Bell Museum, are great resources for children and adults of any age. They give you knowledge of species by actually placing you into their habitats. It is one thing to read about these animals in a book or online, but it is much more memorable and effective to see them firsthand and up close. These museums not only explain our past, but give new knowledge of what else could be out there waiting to be found in the vast subject of biology. Jenna
After I finished reading "The Rarest of the Rare," I was very excited to see how it related to our field trip to the Bell Museum. Wilson talks about how museums are extremely important in our society. They capture forms of nature that we no longer can see in the wild. When entering the Bell Museum it was very interesting to see the habitats of animals that i normally would not see. Wilson talks about how for a long period of time, natural history museums were where information about all animals and species resided. The scientists working in the museum were the men who knew all. When going to the bell museum the immense amount of knowledge i absorbed was wonderful. Getting the chance to go into the touch& see room was extremely interesting. Seeing cockroaches that are not native to minnesota was spooky. I do agree with Wilson when he expressed that museums are a great resources for children and adults. It is interesting to see how museums capture the knowledge of natures past.
I think that visiting the Bell Museum helped me to better understand Rarest of the Rare. I really haven’t been to many museums so reading the article was almost all new information to me. I did not realize what a vital role museums play in actual science as well as the discovery of new species of plants and animals. The Bell Museum was a good experience because the dioramas were really impressive. The dioramas gave me an opportunity to see new animals and different habitats that were not all native to Minnesota. I also did not know that there are actual scientists that work in museums and that is part of the reason that the information is so accurate. I think that the Bell Museum is an awesome location for younger children to visit. The touch and feel part of the Museum definitely captivated my interest. I think that the museum really portrayed the animals as they would be in their environment. The animals considered predators definitely looked like they were in a “predator” sort of stance. And other animals, like the moose, just looked majestic and at peace in their natural habitat. Alex
While reading Rarest of the Rare, I learned more about what a natural history museum really was and its importance to our anthropological history. But as I read that, only thing that came to my was cheesy taxidermy animals and fake leaves gathering dust in the yellow lighting of a diorama.
However my opinion changed greatly when we visited the Bell Museum today and got to see extremely life-like exhibits. I was so overwhelmed by the photo realism of the painting and the care taken for the perspective. The dioramas were even built with curvature to add a sense of depth.
As I walked up the first exhibit in the room, a raccoon in a forest, I was stunned by the meticulous amounts of detail and how perfect the lighting was, there were no obvious "corners" so you didn't feel like you were looking into a box.
The artist also blended the painting and the props wonderfully, adhering to the shadows and color scheme, even using them to assist your eye to the focal points, which were the animals.
Many of the animals were staged well and it gave me the impression that i wasn't just looking at a dead animal, more like I walked into it's habitat.
I can definitely see the appeal in a natural history museum for a wide variety of people. Scientists like mentioned in Rarest of the Rare, children, artists, adults... etc.
After visiting the Bell Museum it was much easier for me to understand certain points made in “The Rarest of the Rare”. Wilson explains that museums are the closest experience humans can have to time traveling. The animals and species in the Bell Museum were not pictures or videos, but they were actually, at one point in time, living creatures. The specimens were constructed to fit in environments that seemed very realistic and made it feel as though we were actually there in its natural habitat, not inside of a building. It was interesting to read that without museums biology would have never been able to advance. There would be no theory of evolution and no way to identify many living organisms. This came as a shock to me because previously I had never put much thought into how important museums were. - Kayla
When I first found out the Bell Museum was filled with taxidermy animals with painted backgrounds, I have to admit I wasn’t that excited. I love nature and animals and would rather venture out on a hike or to the zoo to see animals in action. In Wilson’s article entitled Rarest of the Rare he mentions these natural history museums convert into a time machine allowing you back into ancient forests or descents deep into the ocean floor. However, even though classified as art and exhibiting beauty, I don’t especially feel like I was transformed into the forest. Natural wonders are life and the excitement I feel for nature and its many creatures only lies outside where I can discover it firsthand. However, I did really appreciate the paintings and the work that went into the exhibits, since I have painted myself. However, for people skeptical about nature and don’t like to get dirty, I feel a great start to diving into the natural world is to visiting one of these museums. The exhibits reveal to the audience as a giant history picture book allowing insight on the past and present. While our earth is depleting it is cool to look at these little microcosms of the environment and still see the beauty that nature did behold. -Liz
After spending some time in the Bell Museum, I found myself slightly surprised. I was surprised in the fact that my experience didn’t quite match up with expectations formed from reading “The Rarest of the Rare”. This contradiction of the expected, in my opinion, makes perfect sense due to the fact that I am an Animal Science major. I was not so inspired by the people who made these exhibits and how revolutionary they were, but more so concerned with what was actually being represented by what was going on in the displays. I found myself trying not to read the descriptions on the side unless I really craved the fun facts about a specific creature. Instead I just tried to imagine what each exhibits situation would look and feel like in real life. It is a bit of a ridiculous concept to be putting oneself in the shoes of a wild animal, but I tried my best to experience that phenomena. I found true appreciation for the exhibits in this because I felt it really captured a moment in time that most would never get to even see, here I was trying to experience it. At the end of the day my intrigue with animals was what led me to my successful experience at the Bell Museum. Derek
After reading "The Rarest of Rare," I was somewhat surprised at what a large part museums play in biology. I thought Natural History museums were simply designed for the viewing of our natural history. I knew they did some research, but I didn't realize that until in 1950's, museums were the main place where research took place. visiting the natural history museum and reading "The Rarest of Rare" gave me a greater appreciation of natural history and also the value of museums in our society. I also thought tat the bell museum placed more emphasis on the animals and less on the displays around them. Maybe this was because of the time at which it was built, but i thought it did a good job of emphasizing the animals. I thought the large Dioramas were very well done. The one with the sandy beach on Lake Pepin with the birds was a very accurate depiction of the actual scenery. I have been there many times and the only way to get there is by boat. It is called long point because it is very shallow for a long way out into the lake.
I thoroughly enjoyed going through the Bell museum. I thought that all of the descriptions of the animals were really interesting, especially all of the common names that they have been given by locals. One exhibit that really stood out to me was the Pipestone scenery. I had no idea that there were any kinds of cactus in Minnesota at all, so that we very intriguing to me personally. After reading The Rarest of Rare I would have to say that I completely agree with the writer's point of view. It is important that we are able to preserve as many species as we possibly can so that we can use them for the future and for ongoing research. It was stimulating to think that we are nowhere close to having all the species in the world identified and that I personally am a long ways away from knowing everything about the wonders of the world. Museums hold great purpose in educating the public and creating an interest in wanting to further the exploration of our planet.
Reading the reading the passage from “Rarest of the Rare” I wasn’t really swayed or moved by what Ackerman had to say. I guess I just she was exaggerating the usefulness and importance of natural history museums. My perspective definitely changed after visiting The Bell Museum of Natural History. There was something definitely captivating about viewing all the dioramas and reading the plaques. I felt like I saw things that I’ve never seen there before, such as a lynx. It was just generally a really cool experience. I loved the touch and see room. They had so many interesting things in there like an elephant skull or an assortment of animals such as snakes, turtles, and bugs. Suddenly, “Rarest of the Rare” made a lot more sense to me. I could see how museums like this could be responsible for teaching and inspiring people. The Bell Museum allowed me to see and experience of aspects of nature that I would never be able to see in the real world. The plaques for every animal were filled with interesting information about the species, basic facts about them, what habitats they lived in. I really liked our field trip to the Bell Museum because it was different from any field trip that I’ve been on in recent history. Ryan
After reading the passage from "Rarest of the Rare" I believe it really portrayed my experience at the Bell Museum quite well. I was felt the same way that the author described, "Stepping into the history." I truly felt that many of the dioramas were so life like and beautifully put together that without the barrier of the glass I would have walked right into a very natural scene. Also, the restoration of animals really embodies what Edward Wilson writes by saying that restoration of the specific biology of the animals is important. I not only enjoyed the aesthetic aspect of seeing a bald eagle perched, but also the fact that the creator put effort enough into it that they had the eagle standing with an open mouth so that I could view the odd shape of their tongue. Being able to view this oddity actually piqued my interest more into the physiology of the tongue and how it could, perhaps, be used in the feeding of the eagle, or maybe in the feeding of its young. In addition, I enjoyed the other pieces in the museum that were not encased in glass. This was the case for the bog carpeting in one section of the museum. During my Nature of Life session for the College of Biological Sciences I was able to travel to a bog to experience it. I was extremely impressed by the accuracy of the bog carpeting in the museum. It had the same squish that I was expecting. Yet it was missing the noise. -Tate
Spending class time at the Bell City Museum was actually very exciting. Walking through the exhibits, I was always able to find something new or interesting. There were even animals that I didn't know existed all because I don't always spend the time to learn something new. This brings me to the article, "The Rarest of the Rare". In this article, the author states that "we still live on this little- known planet". I have to agree with this statement. We live in a world where we discover new things everyday. We are constantly learning and broadening our horizons. Museums are an amazing way to perserve the past to help guide us into our futures, let alone teach us information through hands-on activities. Museums will always hold the purpose for educating the young, the old and everyone in-between. There is always a piece of the past for someone to learn about, including me. - Sarah
Spending the little time at the museum, I figured out what animal that I want to do my paper on. As i was looking through animals and fish, I realized that I have incountered almost all of the animals in my life time. I spend a lot my fall and winter in the woods because I hunt and fish. It was cool going into the touch and see room. Seeing the bugs cralling inside the tank all in a pile was kind of grose but I got over it. I liked seeing the moose and it got me thinking that i would like to do a study on them about their life. All in all I believe it was a good experience. --Nick
I thought it was really cool to be able to read Rarest of the Rare and then be able to actually go to a natural history museum to see exactly what Wilson was talking about. The displays were so realistic and it felt like you were actually in the wild in there. Going through the museum was so realistic it reminded me of real life. When going by the deer and the bird displays it actually brought me back to hunting. Walking in and immediately seeing the bald eagle was awesome because when I was in the boundary waters this summer I saw a bald eagle take flight from about four feet. I also saw a spinal disk the size of a large tree stump which was crazy to think of the size of an animal that scale. It was cool to walk through nature’s history like that and to relate it to a piece of writing I read and my life was awesome. -Justin
After both visiting the museum, and reading the article "Rarest of the Rare", I gained a much greater appreciation for natural history museums. They really are something of fantastic spectacle. These museums do more then just show you what a certain species is. They take you and put you into the environment of that species itself. It helps you understand the topic being presented in much more depth. I had no idea about the work that goes into these exhibits either. The backdrops for the scenes in the Bell Museum were very aesthetically pleasing. I certainly gained a greater love for animals as well as the people who put these galleries together. I think that if you want to gain knowledge about a subject (particularly an animal), and you don't have the tools necessary to go about viewing them in the wild, natural history museums are definitely the next best thing.
The concept of the nature museum was riveting to me. During my stay at the museum I was ultimately captivated by the display explaining the life of the zebra mussels. I never knew anything about these little mussels; however I spent a large amount of my time studying the display containing them in the museum and observing all of the displays around theirs to absorb all of the tid-bits about these small creatures. Their livelihood seems so interesting; however I am thoroughly disappointed that they harm the environment. Somehow I wish if these little guys were healthy for the environment that we could have a healthy output instead of harming the environment and having the constant necessity of checking our bait buckets, boats, and anything that goes in lakes. I believe we need to limit their existence but not exterminate them or have their growth gain exponentially. All in all, I gathered a large amount of information from this visit and will be making returning visits frequently.
Going through the bell museum for the second time in my life was a very different experience than the first. I was only in 8th grade the first time i went and i really did not appreciate the true work and dedication and each of the individual dioramas took. The paintings and and greenery of each habitat was so realistic. The species in each habitat were displayed so beautifully and uninterrupted by human life of other species. I feel like the painters and organizers of each diorama wanted these animals to be shown in their pure natural state. untouched and unaffected by humans and our pollution and waste.
I also appreciated the bell museum a lot more after reading "The Rarest of the Rare" in the essay the author talks about how these dioramas and artifacts are the closest thing humans have to an actual time machine. I believe that is a completely accurate statement. Natural history museums display species that no longer exist in their original state. There is no way scientists of any sort would be able to study and progress in their fields if they did not have any material to study or observe from. Natural history museums provide us with a lot more important, prominent information than most can even imagine.
This page contains a single entry by Capper Nichols published on September 18, 2012 10:34 AM.
"Damnation of a Canyon" - Edward Abbey; Bureau of Reclamation website was the previous entry in this blog.
Como Zoo; "Against Zoos" - Dale Jamieson; Life of Pi - Yann Martel: chapter 4 is the next entry in this blog.
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