Denver Museum of Nature and Science

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Denver Museum of Nature & Science
Denver Museum of Nature & Science.JPG
Established 1900 [1]
Location Denver, Colorado
Type Natural History, Science
President George Sparks [2]
Website http://www.dmns.org/

The Denver Museum of Nature & Science is a municipal natural history and science museum in Denver, Colorado. It is a resource for informal science education in the Rocky Mountain region. A variety of exhibitions, programs, and activities help museum visitors learn about the natural history of Colorado, Earth, and the universe. The 500,000-square-foot (46,452 m2) building houses more than one million objects in its collections including natural history and anthropological materials, as well as archival and library resources.

The Museum is an independent, nonprofit institution with approximately 350 full-time and part-time staff, more than 1,600 volunteers, and a 25-member Board of Trustees. It is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM)[3] and is a Smithsonian Institution Affiliate.

Education programs[edit]

VOA report about the museum

The Museum provides programming in six main areas. The exhibitions, IMAX films, lectures, classes, and programs pertain to one or more of the following core competencies:

More than 178,000 students and teachers visit the Museum with school groups each year. In addition, the Museum has science outreach programs and distance–learning opportunities for families, schools and surrounding communities.[4] The Museum also offers teachers ongoing professional training workshops.

History[edit]

Skeleton of Edmontosaurus
Edwin Carter Log Cabin Naturalist Museum (Circa 1875) Edwin Carter in Breckenridge, Colorado

Founded in 1900, the Denver Museum of Nature & Science is located in Denver’s City Park and has views of Denver and the Rocky Mountains. The Museum has had three different names since it first opened: The Colorado Museum of Natural History, The Denver Museum of Natural History, and now the Denver Museum of Nature & Science.

The Museum traces its origins back to the efforts of one man, a pioneer naturalist named Edwin Carter who devoted his life to the scientific study of Colorado birds, mammals and fauna. Since 1900, the museum collection has grown from Carter’s collection, housed in a log cabin, to a museum housing more than a million objects in its collections.[1] Another man instrumental in developing the museum's collection through the mid 20th century was Dr Alfred Marshall Bailey, who served as Director from 1936 to 1969.

The Museum is known for its children’s discovery areas, the Space Odyssey exhibition, Gates Planetarium, the Prehistoric Journey exhibition, IMAX films, Egyptian mummies, wildlife exhibits, colorful gems and minerals, Expedition Health exhibition, temporary exhibitions, and education programs. Visitors can also experience the “best view in Denver” from the Anschutz Family Sky Terrace and Leprino Family Atrium on the west side of the building. Here, visitors see views of the Front Range, from Longs Peak in the north to Pikes Peak in the south.

The museum is partially funded by the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD), which was created by area voters in 1988.[5]

Permanent exhibits[edit]

Barack Obama speaks with CEO of Namaste Solar Electric, Inc., Blake Jones, while looking at solar panels at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, Feb. 17, 2009.

Discovery Zone is a hands-on educational center geared toward children. dig up a stegosaurus, make fun crafts, play on the discovery stage, inspect insect specimens, and laugh yourself outloud with funhouse mirrors [6]

Egyptian Mummies uses two mummies and their tomb artifacts to teach how the ancient civilization of Egypt regarded its living and preserved its dead.[7]

Expedition Health teaches visitors about the constantly changing and adapting human body.[8]

Gems & Minerals is a re-created mine where visitors can examine many colorful crystals and minerals found both locally and globally.[9]

North American Indian Cultures explores the diversity among Native American groups and the practicality and artistry of their everyday objects.[10]

Prehistoric Journey traces the evolution of life on Earth from single-celled organisms to dinosaurs to the inhabitants of today’s world, with speicmens including the majectic skeleton of diplodocus with a ferocious allosaurus battling a heavy armored stegosaurus, marvel at a beautiful sea lilie reef diorama from 435 million years ago, insect a cast/replica skull of the ancient placoderm fish dunkelosteus, look at a neat collection of trilobites on display for hours, notice every detail of prehistoric mammal skulls [11]

Space Odyssey is about the Universe and our place in it.[12]

Wildlife Exhibits are animal dioramas showing scenes of daily life of many different animals.[13]

Gates Planetarium[edit]

Gates Planetarium presents a view of the universe, using technology to tell science stories and help visitors experience the universe. The 125-seat planetarium features unidirectional, semi-reclining stadium seating, 16.4 surround-sound system featuring Ambisonic—a 3-D spatial sound system, and a perforated metal dome, 56 feet in diameter and tilted 25 degrees. The current Gates Planetarium replaces the older, dome-style planetarium.

Phipps IMAX Theater[edit]

The Phipps IMAX Theater on the second floor of the museum was built as the Phipps Auditorium in 1940, and was used for lectures, concerts, and films until 1980. Renovated and reopened in 1983 as the Phipps IMAX Theater, it seats 440 people and now shows large-format IMAX films daily.

The future[edit]

Plans for the future include a new 126,000 square foot, five level addition. The top three levels, known as the Morgridge Family Exploration Center, will house a temporary exhibition hall, Discovery Zone exhibition for young learners, and Exploration Studios for students and teachers. The two below ground levels are known as the Rocky Mountain Science Collections Center, and will house, study, and preserve more than 1.5 million artifacts and specimens in a climate-controlled space. [14]

Museum secrets[edit]

While many have visited the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, few have noticed the hidden surprises camouflaged within the museum's exhibits. Kent Pendleton, one of the museum's diorama painters, was unable to sign his work. In lieu of a signature, Pendleton painted a total of 8 elves in his work hidden throughout the museum.[15][16]

In the Edge of the Wild exhibit there are two mechanical butterflies that flap their wings every few seconds making up the only moving objects in the diorama exhibits.[15][16]

Finally, in the IMAX lobby entrance there are several painted pictures hidden on the walls relating to Star Wars.[15][16]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Museum History". dmns.org. Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Retrieved 11 August 2010. 
  2. ^ "George Sparks". dmns.org. Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Retrieved 11 August 2010. 
  3. ^ "List of Accredited Museums". aam-us.org. American Alliance of Museums. Retrieved 6 April 2013. 
  4. ^ "George Sparks". dmns.org. Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Retrieved 11 August 2010. 
  5. ^ "SCFD and the Museum". dmns.org. Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Retrieved 11 August 2010. 
  6. ^ "Discovery Zone". dmns.org. Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Retrieved 11 August 2010. 
  7. ^ "Egyptian Mummies". dmns.org. Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Retrieved 11 August 2010. 
  8. ^ "Expedition Health". dmns.org. Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Retrieved 11 August 2010. 
  9. ^ "Gems & Minerals". dmns.org. Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Retrieved 11 August 2010. 
  10. ^ "North American Indian Cultures". dmns.org. Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Retrieved 11 August 2010. 
  11. ^ "Prehistoric Journey". dmns.org. Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Retrieved 11 August 2010. 
  12. ^ "Space Odyssey". dmns.org. Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Retrieved 11 August 2010. 
  13. ^ "Wildlife Exhibits". dmns.org. Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Retrieved 11 August 2010. 
  14. ^ "Future Plans". dmns.org. Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Retrieved 11 August 2010. 
  15. ^ a b c , Elves at Denver Museum of Nature and Science
  16. ^ a b c , Surprises at Denver Museum of Nature and Science PDF description and location of Museum Secrets

References[edit]

  • Map of the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, February 2006, Denver Museum of Nature & Science.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 39°44′51″N 104°56′33″W / 39.74750°N 104.94250°W / 39.74750; -104.94250