Sometimes collections are used in exhibits. Curators and Collections Managers, past and present, have carefully selected these objects to create unique displays that relate to their surroundings. Butterflies, turtle shells, birds and other natural history specimens can all be found in Science Playground. Traditional Japanese carpentry tools can be found near the Japanese House. Unfortunately, these objects cannot be touched.
In recent years, we have tried to make collections more hands on… well, with white gloves on, that is. This happens in a variety of collections programs led by staff trained in handling the objects. These programs can happen anywhere in the building. Sometimes the objects connect to a special book or story; sometimes there is an activity to do to learn more about what you are seeing and touching; and sometimes the program relates to a special exhibit.
Right now we have an exhibit of work by artist Maggie Foskett in the Gallery on the 2nd floor. Maggie collects natural objects she finds and then brings them to her studio to use in her work. She may use flowers, insects, shells, anything that comes from nature. To give visitors a chance to explore her work more, we have brought out a light table and invited kids and grownups to use our natural collections to make their own artwork. It is amazing to see how visitors are inspired by the art in the Gallery and which objects they are drawn to.
The program will be repeating as part of our regular Explore Collections dates on January 10 and 24 from 11:00-1:00. Bring your camera and see what you can create!