Happenings at Burpee Natural History Museum

Happenings at Burpee Natural History Museum


Museum announces grand

opening of Geo Science Exhibit

The Burpee Museum Board of Trustees and staff announce the weekend schedule of events celebrating the opening of the museum’s newest Geo Science Exhibit. This is the fourth of five permanent exhibits to be installed in the museum’s 42,000-sq. ft. Robert H. Solem Wing at a cost of $450,000.

Weekend activities include: Thursday, June 27: 5-8 p.m. A special “Members and Sponsors Behind the Scenes” Tour. Friday, June 28: 9-10 a.m. Press conference and media tour. Friday, June 28: 6-9 p.m. Invitation only Reception and Tours. Saturday, June 29: 11 a.m. Grand Opening Ribbon Cutting Ceremony and Public Tours.

Special guests at reception

Mayor Doug Scott and other noted public and state officials, board members, supporters and funders will attend both the Reception and the Opening Day Ribbon Cutting Ceremony. The Geo Science Exhibit is a state-of-the-art, 2700-sq. ft. permanent exhibit that examines the many aspects of world and regional geology, and fills the second floor mezzanine area of the museum.

Featured are displays, artifacts, models, specimens, DVD viewing bays, photographs and working models that present world and regional geology in interesting, innovative and fun ways. Elements of the exhibit include: Three DVD video viewing areas with multiple video programs examining volcanoes, earthquakes, plate tectonics, glaciers and other geology subjects, such as a 10-ft. three-dimensional glacier model towering over the Rockford Register Star building; a three-dimensional working volcano model; a DVD floor map demonstrating locations of mining sites, land forming and glacier movement across northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin. See extraordinary new displays of unusual rocks, gems and minerals.

Rocks that glow

Elements of the exhibit include: a fluorescent mineral chamber with glowing mineral specimens; mining models, artifacts and displays featuring coal, fluorite, lead, zinc, and the quarrying of rock, stone, sand and clay mining throughout the state; information on the history and current technologies of the coal mining industry. Burpee’s exhibit was designed under the supervision of Burpee Exhibits Director Lonny Stark, who was recently loaned to Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry. There he supervised the installation of that museum’s new Supercroc exhibit with world-famous paleontologist Paul Sereno.

Stark was assisted in the design of the Geo Science Exhibit by Burpee’s Director of Earth Sciences Mike Henderson, and Director of Education Sheila Rawlings. Burpee staff consulted extensively with professional staff of both the Illinois and Wisconsin State Geological Survey departments to enrich and add value to the exhibit.

One of a kind

This exhibit is the only one of its kind within a 90-mile radius of Rockford. Educational programming and salary credit workshops are being developed for science teachers and for school tour groups. The Geo Science Exhibit, when opened to the public, will make a palpable contribution to the development of scientific literacy in our region. The Geo Science Exhibit was funded in part by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, the Leighton Family, ComTech Corporation, Bank One, Clarcor and The Blackhawk Rock Club.

Knee High Naturalists

program continues through summer

Burpee Museum’s “Knee High Naturalists” program will continue throughout the summer. This new program is geared specifically toward preschool-age children and their parents, grandparents or caregivers and will cover a broad array of topics about nature and our environment. From 10 to 11:30 a.m., preschool children and their parents or caregivers can learn about the wonders of our natural world while singing animal songs, listening to storytellers, making crafts and playing games.

There will also be activities such as coloring outdoors, brief nature walks and more to further communicate the importance of nature. Live animals will visit the Knee High Naturalists’ den whenever possible, and the group may meet a special guest to help understand the habitat featured.

Dates and themes for the summer schedule are as follows:

June 15 – “Some Like It Wet” – Wetlands

June 22 – “Over in the Meadow” – Grasslands

July 20 – “A Walk in the Woods” – Woodland Habitats

July 27 – “Ripples, Burbles and Brooks” – Riparian Habitats

Aug. 17 – “Hot Stuff I” – Desert Habitats

Aug. 24 – “Hot Stuff II” – Jungle Habitats

Spend a special Saturday morning at the museum creating memories and building appreciation for the wonders of our natural world. Cost is only $10 per “couple” (1 child/1 adult). One adult is required for each child attending. Free parking is available at the Burpee Museum at 737 N. Main St. or in the Riverfront Museum Park parking lot at 711 N. Main St. For more information, call (815) 965-3433.

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