Saturday, June 30, 2018

A Day at the Museum of Natural History - Macbride Hall

Hidden in plain site on the University of Iowa's main campus is the Museum of Natural History at Macbride Hall located on the pentacrest. The museum occupies sections of three floors. On the third floor's Mammal Hall is home to a collection of large and small mammals from all over the world.

Some of the larger taxidermized animals where prepared over a hundred years ago. If you look closely you can see cracks in the skin from years of heat and light exposure. 

As a active museum students often participate in cleaning and modernizing the displays. Several of the background murals have been retouched or repainted over the years to give the display a fresh look.

Throughout the year and especially in the summer, school age students visit the Mammal Hall, Bird Hall and the Natural History portion of the museum. Text near the displays explain how the natural scenes came together in the early 1900s.

Some of the mammal displays are quite realistic and capture the environment of the natural setting like this otter placed in a scene from northern Minnesota. Always a favorite.

At one end of Mammal Hall is a display of ocean mammals and skeletons. Hanging above is a Right Whale skeleton that washed up on a beach over a hundred years ago. Today you can see it from the comfort of landlocked Iowa - some half a continent away from ocean shores. Access to the museum is free and is open most days except holidays and Mondays. If you are in Iowa City come check it out.

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