North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences
|North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences|
|Location||Raleigh, North Carolina|
|Type||Natural history museum|
|Director||Dr. Emlyn Koster|
The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences (NCMNS) is located in Raleigh, North Carolina. This museum is the oldest established museum in North Carolina and the largest museum of its kind in the Southeast. It has about 1.2 million visitors annually. As of 2013, it was the state's most popular museum or historic destination among visitors.
The museum's campus consists of four facets: the Nature Exploration Center (NEC; formerly the "Main Building") and the Nature Research Center on Jones Street in Downtown Raleigh, the Prairie Ridge Ecostation satellite facility and outdoor classroom in northwest Raleigh near William B. Umstead State Park, and the North Carolina Museum of Forestry located in Whiteville, North Carolina.
- 1 Nature Exploration Center - exhibits
- 2 Nature Research Center - exhibits
- 3 Prairie Ridge Ecostation
- 4 North Carolina Museum of Forestry
- 5 Special events
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Nature Exploration Center - exhibits
- Natural Treasures of North Carolina contains dioramas of various wildlife and artifacts pertaining to nature in North Carolina, including 25 megalodon teeth displayed in a life-sized model jaw, a mounted specimen of the extinct Carolina Parakeet, and part of a trunk of a 700-year-old Bald Cypress tree.
- Coastal North Carolina includes exhibits of fish native to North Carolina's coast and inland waterways and a live sea horse exhibit. Here visitors will find five of the museum's seven whale skeletons, including the massive 55-ton sperm whale (nicknamed "Trouble") which was a symbol of the museum.
- WRAL 3-D Theater - 3-D films are shown in this 250-seat venue daily. Films have included Titans of the Ice Age, Dinosaurs Alive!, and The Last Reef.
- The North Carolina: Mountains to the Sea exhibit displays North Carolina's natural habitats from the western mountains through the central Piedmont and on to the Coastal Plain highlighting the interrelationships between them. A two-story, 20-foot (6.1 m) waterfall, live freshwater turtles, and native live fishes are on display here also.
- Underground North Carolina features gems and minerals (North Carolina is the only state in the United States where rubies, emeralds, sapphires and diamonds have all been found), as well as the ingredients of the ground, soil and seismic displays.
- The Nature's Explorers exhibit covers the museum's beginnings, showing the tools and techniques naturalists used 100 years ago to collect and preserve specimens.
- The Discovery Room is a family-oriented hands-on exhibit where visitors of all ages can explore the natural world using a combination of natural, live, and human-made objects.
- Prehistoric North Carolina chronicles prehistoric life in the state and throughout the southeastern United States. This section also features the fossilized remains of a remarkably well-preserved Thescelosaurus (nicknamed "Willo").
- The Terror of the South exhibit features a one-of-a-kind Acrocanthosaurus fossil skeleton in a three-story glass-enclosed dome, displayed as if it were hunting a life-sized Pleurocoelus model, as re-creations of winged Anhanguera (pterosaurs) circle the domed ceiling on wires.
- The Tropical Connections section of the museum is anchored by a large interactive globe which allows visitors to highlight the climate regions of the Earth. This exhibit focuses on environmental issues and includes live emerald tree boas, tree frogs, and mata mata turtles.
- In the Windows on the World theater, museum volunteers and employees give frequent demonstrations and talks, and share live animal visits with museum visitors as well as remotely to classrooms throughout the state.
- Curiosity Classrooms - These two classroom spaces allow the museum to further its educational mission to foster a deeper experience with the natural world through observation, discovery, live animal presentations, and hands-on experiences by providing school programs, birthday parties, workshops, and summer camps. Access to the classroom spaces is limited to scheduled participants.
- Arthropod Zoo - A close-up exhibit of the insects, crustaceans, arachnids and other bugs that inspire fear and fascination in North Carolina. Exhibits include living butterflies, barnacles, spiders, lobsters and millipedes, featuring the role they play in the global web of life. This section of the museum also displays larger than life arthropod models.
- Living Conservatory - A dry tropical forest exhibit with various live animals including butterflies, Central American cichlids, several ornate wood turtles, a Stuart's milk snake, a tarantula, and a two-toed sloth. Live plant life includes a kapok tree, vanilla, cashew, and a cecropia tree. A windowed chamber preceding the exhibit displays chrysalides of developing butterflies, and butterflies that have recently emerged.
- Acro Café
Special exhibits gallery
Birds of Paradise: Amazing Avian Evolution, a display of imagery, video, soundscapes, artifacts, and educational activities for all ages, is on exhibit October 13, 2013 – March 23, 2014. Cornell University scientist Edwin Scholes and National Geographic photographer Tim Laman set out to complete the first comprehensive study of all birds-of-paradise. After 8 years and 18 expeditions they have amassed photographic and video coverage of all 39 known species and documented several new behaviors.
Past traveling exhibits
- In the Dark
- The Dinosaurs of Jurassic Park - (September 27, 2000 - January 5, 2001)
- Extreme Deep: Mission of The Abyss - (February 7, 2001 - May 6, 2001)
- Hubble Space Telescope - (June 2, 2001 - September 3, 2001)
- The Genomic Revolution - (April 20, 2002 - September 2, 2002)
- Powers of Nature - (October 19, 2002 - February 16, 2003)
- SuperCroc - (March 15, 2003 - May 26, 2003)
- Titanic: The Artifact Exhibit - (August 2, 2003 - April 18, 2004)
- Treasures Unearthed: North Carolina's Spectacular Gems & Minerals - (July 17, 2004 - June 12, 2005)
- CSI: Crime Scene Insects - (June 25, 2005 - September 18, 2005)
- Discovering Chimpanzees: The Remarkable World of Jane Goodall - (October 15, 2005 - January 10, 2006)
- BRAIN: The World Inside Your Head - (January 28, 2006 - May 7, 2006)
- Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2005 From the British Museum of Natural History - (June 17 - September 10, 2006)
- SPACE: A Journey to Our Future - (October 7, 2006 - February 11, 2007)
- Hunters of the Sky - (March 10, 2007 - May 28, 2007)
- Wild Music: Sounds & Songs of Life - (June 30 - September 16, 2007)
- Dinosaurs: Ancient Fossils, New Discoveries - (October 27, 2007 - March 2, 2008)
- The Dead Sea Scrolls - (June 28, 2008 - January 4, 2009)
- Chocolate: The Exhibition - (Saturday, May 9, 2009 - Sunday, September 20, 2009)
- Journey Through the Arctic Refuge - (October 17, 2009 - January 10, 2010)
- Megalodon: Largest Shark that Ever Lived - (February 13, 2010 - May 9, 2010)
- Glow: Living Lights - (June 19, 2010 - September 12, 2010)
- Animal Grossology - (October 2, 2010 - April 24, 2011)
- Genghis Khan: The Exhibition - (November 19, 2011 - January 22, 2012)
- Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition - (September 29, 2012 - April 28, 2013)
- Dinosaurs in Motion - (May 18, 2013 - September 12, 2013)
Nature Research Center - exhibits
The Nature Research Center (NRC) is an 80,000 sq ft (7,400 m2), four-story wing next to the Nature Exploration Center, across Salisbury Street, connected by a breezeway named the Betsy M. Bennett Bridge to Discovery. The $54 million addition allows visitors to play a hands-on role in new research. The April 20, 2012 opening lasted 24 hours and drew 70,000 visitors.
In addition to hands-on activities and visitor viewing of scientists working in the NRC's four research laboratories, the museum makes use of distance learning to broadcast lessons and virtual field trips to classrooms around the state.
- SECU Daily Planet Theater - Inside the iconic globe, this three-story theater with a 45 x 45-foot HD screen and multi-channel surround sound plays host to cutting-edge science presentations and scenes from nature.
- Our Changing Ocean - This 10,000 US gal (38,000 l) aquarium replicates a typical hardbottom habitat off the North Carolina coast. The exhibit features an artificial reef ball to encourage sustainability of North Carolina’s reef systems and fisheries. Inhabitants include a diverse assemblage of native fishes and invasive lionfish.
- Investigating Right Whales - Visitors can see and touch the skeleton of "Stumpy", a North Atlantic right whale whose death led to laws that require slower cargo ship speeds in whale migration routes.
- Exploring the Deep Sea - A model submersible allows visitors to take a virtual dive 2,000 ft (610 m) to the ocean floor off the coast of North Carolina to study deep-sea coral called Lophelia.
- Exploratory Gallery - Presents projects and breakthroughs in engineering, health and modeling, from a topless Chevy Volt to robotic bats to new medical imaging techniques.
- Citizen Science Center - Exhibits how to get involved in scientific research and experience being a citizen scientist. Visitors can watch the birdfeeders at the Prairie Ridge Ecostation via live video feed and record which species they see.
- North Carolina’s Green Gems - This exhibit displays four of the largest emeralds ever found in North America, including three uncut specimens discovered in western North Carolina in 2011. The collection also includes North America’s largest cut emerald, the famed 64.8-carat Carolina Emperor.
- Researching Weather - Displays of the many methods used to study the weather: from weather balloons and rockets to weather stations and satellites.
- Window on Animal Health - Provides visitors with an opportunity to peer into the world of veterinary medicine and to interact with vet staff, students, and interns working on real medical cases and performing real procedures including physical exams and surgeries. The Window is equipped with 2-way audio between visitors and staff and offers video for visitors to view close-ups of microscopic images and medical procedures. Patients include species such as reptiles, amphibians, fish, birds, small mammals and invertebrates.
- Naturalist Center - Features some of the museum's 20,000 education specimens ranging from fossils and bones to preserved reptiles and birds. This exhibit also showcases audio and video of certain specimens at two interactive tabletops.
- Unraveling DNA - Visitors learn about DNA replication and “model organisms” — the animals most often studied in genetics labs. The “Light Bright” interactive displays how much DNA humans share with other animals.
- From Dinosaurs to DNA - Focuses on new tools and techniques that are helping scientists change humankind's understanding of the natural world and everything in it, from dinosaurs to DNA.
- Postcards from Space - A rare collection of meteorites, comprising relics from the Solar System’s formation, including a piece of the planet Mars.
- Ice Age Giants - An exhibit showing that although glaciers never reached North Carolina, climate changes may have spelled doom for the mammoths, saber-toothed cats, giant wolves and other Ice Age Giants that roamed the state.
- Early Life Explosion - Displays of Ediacaran fossils represent some of the earliest complex life on Earth (542-635 million years ago). Here, visitors find out more about these unusually shaped, soft-bodied, ocean-dwelling animals.
The Nature Research Center's three investigate labs are open-to-the-public hands-on educational spaces.
- Natural World Investigate Lab - In this hands-on lab, visitors can use a variety of tools to observe and study the natural world – from plants and animals to the world – and even themselves.
- Micro World Investigate Lab - Museum visitors enter the world of the future in this biotechnology and microbiology-focused education lab. From genetic engineering to protozoa, visitors perform and learn the techniques that create tomorrow’s breakthrough discoveries.
- Visual World Investigate Lab - Visitors learn about and try out some of the latest modeling and simulation technologies scientists are using to help them visualize nature in new ways. Learn how a robot works or sign up for classes in electronics or programming.
The Nature Research Center's four research labs are part of the museum's Research and Collections department. These spaces (normally reserved for behind-the-scenes work) have transparent glass walls through which the public can observe firsthand as research scientists do their work.
- Biodiversity and Earth Observation Research Laboratory - This laboratory is the center for exploration of the flora and fauna of the community, state and planet. Studies focus on such areas as mammalian movement ecology.
- Astronomy and Space Observation Research Laboratory - Astronomers in this lab use large telescopes around the world to investigate the origins of the solar system by studying the chemical composition of gas clouds around forming stars.
- Genomics and Microbiology Research Laboratory - In this lab, Biologists conduct a wide spectrum of molecular genetic studies to examine DNA-based relationships among primates (called comparative evolutionary genomics) and more.
- Paleontology and Geology Research Laboratory - The focus of this laboratory is the morphology, evolutionary relationships and paleoecology of theropod dinosaurs — a group that includes the iconic megapredator Tyrannosaurus rex as well as living birds.
Prairie Ridge Ecostation
Prairie Ridge Ecostation (45 acres (182,000 m2)) is a satellite facility and outdoor classroom located 6 miles (9.7 km) from the museum's downtown Raleigh locations. It includes Piedmont prairie, forest, ponds, a stream and sustainable building features integrated with a wildlife-friendly landscape.
Prairie Ridge furthers the Museum's mission of enhancing public understanding and appreciation of the natural environment by providing an outdoor learning space while acting as a model for renewable and sustainable energy.
The facility opened a Nature PlaySpace Saturday, September 28, 2013.
North Carolina Museum of Forestry
The North Carolina Museum of Forestry is a satellite facility of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences located in Whiteville, North Carolina. Its mission is to celebrate the natural history and cultural heritage of North Carolina's forests through interpretive exhibits, educational programming and the preservation of natural and man-made materials that demonstrate the ongoing relationship of forests and people.
Displays and interactive exhibits include an outdoor Tree Trail and Fossil Dig Pit, and the museum offers educational program experiences and special events.
The museum sponsors numerous events drawing thousands.
- Astronomy Days is a 2-day event, usually held in January, which includes exhibits from area astronomy clubs as well as talks and exhibits by NASA educators. The event typically draws over 14,000 over the weekend.
- Groundhog Day - The Museum hosts a Shadow Ceremony and crowds can witness whether the groundhog "Sir Walter Wally", sees his shadow.
- Darwin Day - The Museum partners with the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center to celebrate Charles Darwin and current research in evolution and natural selection.
- Reptile & Amphibian Day - The Museum partners with the North Carolina Herpetological Society to celebrate reptiles & amphibians.
- Triangle SciTech Expo - Previously Biotechnology Day and BEST Fest, this event celebrates science, technology, and engineering research across North Carolina. This event is part of the North Carolina Science Festival.
- Planet Earth Celebration - Celebrate the Earth and learn how to live sustainably.
- BugFest - The Museum’s largest annual event, BugFest draws over 35,000 visitors for a celebration of arthropods. The event extends outside the museum along the Bicentennial Mall. Visitors can taste bug-filled dishes, enjoy special exhibits, activities and shows throughout the museum. The main stage offers family entertainment into the evening hours. The event became part of the North Carolina Science Festival in 2010.
- Chemistry Day - The Museum partners with the NC Chapter of the American Chemical Society to celebrate Chemistry and its importance in our daily lives.
- Natural History Halloween - This event, hosted by the Museum’s Junior Curators, is a fun way to learn about some animals that may be considered spooky and creepy. Children can also participate in a costume contest.
- Fossil Fair - The Museum partners with the NC Fossil Club so that visitors can learn all about dinosaurs and other creatures from the prehistoric past.
- "NC Museum of Natural Sciences is state's top draw". Associated Press (Associated Press). 2013-03-04. Retrieved 2013-08-16.
- editor, William S. Powell, editor ; Jay Mazzocchi, associate (2006). Encyclopedia of North Carolina. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 0807830712.
- "NC Museum of Natural Sciences is state's top draw". WRAL.
- "Birds of Paradise: Amazing Avian Evolution". National Geographic Society. Retrieved 2013-09-12.
- Aberbach, Katie (2012-12-27). "On the Spot: Edwin Scholes". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2013-10-07.
- "Tim Laman". National Geographic. National Geographic Society. Retrieved 2013-10-07.
- "New season for science in the Carolinas". News & Observer. The News & Observer Publishing Co. 2013-09-06. Retrieved 2013-09-11.
- "Raleigh Museum Lands 'Birds of Paradise' Exhibition". thepilot.com. The Pilot LLC. 2013-09-26. Retrieved 2013-10-08.
- "Past Special Exhibits | North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences". Naturalsciences.org. 2002-09-02. Retrieved 2013-08-26.
- "What is bee barf? Museum's gross-out exhibit will tell you". News & Observer. The News & Observer Publishing Co. 2010-09-28. Retrieved 2013-07-11.
- "Genghis Khan, the first globalist". News & Observer. The News & Observer Publishing Co. 2011-12-18. Retrieved 2013-07-11.
- "Titanic: N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences hosts the world’s most waterlogged exhibit". News & Observer. The News & Observer Publishing Co. 2013-09-22. Retrieved 2013-07-11.
- Posted April 4, 2013 - 4:53pm (2013-04-04). "Dinosaurs in Motion exhibition fuses Art with Science | North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences". Naturalsciences.org. Retrieved 2013-08-26.
- "Life-size dinosaurs invade natural sciences museum". News & Observer. The News & Observer Publishing Co. 2013-05-16. Retrieved 2013-07-11.
- Nature Research Center Fact Sheet. North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.
- "Tar Heel of the Year: Betsy Bennett transforms state science museum". News & Observer. The News & Observer Publishing Co. 2012-01-01. Retrieved 2013-08-22.
- Opening of Nature Research Center draws 70,000 visitors - News - NewsObserver.com
- Raleighs new rock star head scientists - Nature Research Center - NewsObserver.com
- Teachers throughout N.C. can plug into museum’s work - Nature Research Center - NewsObserver.com
- Stradling, Richard (2011-08-29). "Science museum's latest marvel taking form in Raleigh". News & Observer. Retrieved 2011-08-09.
- Schreiber, Laurie (2012-02). "Right Whale Mother and Fetus Skeletons Reconstructed". Fishermen's Voice. Retrieved 2013-10-09.
- "Vessel collisions and cetaceans: What happens when they don’t miss the boat". Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society website. p. 4.
- Gast, Phil (2010-09-01). "North Carolina emerald: Big, green and very rare". cnn.com. Cable News Network. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. Retrieved 2013-10-08.
- Stancill, Jane (2012-03-16). "N.C. gems to shine at museum". News & Observer. The News & Observer Publishing Co. Retrieved 2013-10-08.
- Stone, Cheryn (2013-03-17). "NC Museum of Natural Sciences exhibit gives students a glimpse into veterinary medicine". News 14 Carolina. TWEAN Newschannel of Raleigh, L.L.C. dba. Retrieved 2013-10-10.
- "Park Review: Prairie Ridge Ecostation". WRAL. Capitol Broadcasting Company, Inc. 2010-09-23. Retrieved 2013-07-12.
- "NC natural sciences museum builds ‘backyard’ in West Raleigh". News & Observer. The News & Observer Publishing Co. 2013-09-26. Retrieved 2013-10-17.
- Nimocks, Amber (2010). Insiders' guide to Raleigh, Durham & Chapel Hill (1st ed. ed.). Guilford, Conn.: Insiders' Guide. ISBN 0762757000.
- "Astronomy Days 2013". WRAL.
- "Weekly Education Activity Report". NASA. Retrieved 7 February 2013.
- "10 Wacky U.S. Summer Events". TripAdvisor. TripAdvisor LLC. 2013-07-10. Retrieved 2013-08-26.
- Harrison, Michael (2010-08-31). "MythBusters to Headline North Carolina Science Festival". Wired.
- Official website
- Prairie Ridge Ecostation Official website
- North Carolina Museum of Forestry Official website
- Astronomy Days website
- Bugfest website
- Planet Earth Celebration website
- North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences on Flickr