Museum Musings

Behind the Scenes of Whales: Giants of the Deep

Fernbank Museum is thrilled to be hosting the special exhibit Whales: Giants of the Deep (on view through August 24). It is absolutely breathtaking, and really allows viewers to understand the vastness of these massive creatures and their cultural significance to people of the South Pacific.

That said, perhaps the best part about this exhibit is the significance that it holds for the indigenous people of New Zealand, the Maori.

The Maori and the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa worked closely together to create this exhibit from artifacts that have long belonged to the Maori people. This exhibit introduces visitors to these magnificent animals, as well as the importance of whales to so many of the people in the South Pacific.

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Patrons looking at Maori artifacts

It has been an honor for the employees here at Fernbank to experience such a huge part of the Maori culture. In fact, when the exhibit first came to us, we all got the chance to meet the Maori collections manager, Mark Sykes.

Sykes was an integral part of the installation process, but he also came to say a prayer over all of the objects in the exhibit. He has met the whales at many of their museum stops, his purpose is to make sure the spirits of the wales, and other exhibit pieces, are at peace.

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Fernbank and Te Papa employees working hard to assemble the skeletons

At each museum, before the exhibit is broken down for travel, a Maori collection manager has come out to say a blessing over the whales that allows their spirits to rest as employees begin the long process of breaking down the exhibit. As the objects from the exhibit arrive at their next stop, Skyes says another blessing to wake them up and introduce them to their new temporary home. 

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The Evolution of Whales

Fernbank employees were allowed the privilege of participating in the blessing of the whales as they arrived at our Museum. It’s safe to say that everyone left with a deeper understanding of how important these creatures are to the Maori people. What may look like skeletons to the rest of us, embodies the spirit of the very culture that the Maori hold so dear.

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58-foot-long Sperm Whale Skeleton

As you come visit this special exhibit, keep in mind the cultural significance that is so deeply engrained in these majestic creatures.

—Brittany Loggins, Marketing & Public Relations Coordinator

Written by Fernbank Museum at 12:10

Volunteer of the Month: July

July2014-VOTM.jpgWe are pleased to honor David, Sarah, and Larry as our July volunteers of the month. This terrific trio is among a group of volunteers who came to the Museum through our neighbor, The Frazer Center. Several times each month, David, Sara and Larry can be found welcoming our visitors to the IMAX® Theatre with bright smiles and energetic personalities. At the Frazer Center, they also support the Child Development program by playing with the kids and helping with snack time. When not volunteering, they enjoy dancing, making jewelry and listening to music.

For information on how to become a volunteer, call 404.929.6360 or e-mailvolunteer@fernbankmuseum.org.

Written by Fernbank Museum at 15:23

A Fond FUN Farewell

Sathvik.jpgThe Fernbank Ultimate Naturalist program, also known as the FUN volunteer program, provides and an opportunity for youth ages 13-17 to gain hands-on experience in a museum setting.

The Fernbank FUN program runs June through May and includes 80 to 90 students. FUN volunteers support Fernbank’s educational efforts through a variety of projects, including interacting with guests at special “Discovery Carts” stationed throughout the Museum, providing event support at family adventure days and more. 

Fernbank educators provide training, support and guidance to FUN volunteers. Currently leading the program is Education Program Manager–Earth Science, Kaden Borseth.

“Whether they volunteer for one year or 5+ years, every FUN volunteer makes a difference in the lives of guests and helps inspire a greater appreciation of natural history,” said Borseth.

Several volunteers enjoy the experience so much, they elect to continue the program until such time they age out—usually upon graduating high school.

“It’s bittersweet. We are sad to have to say goodbye, but also happy to see them moving on to great things,” said Borseth.

One of those bittersweet movements happened in May, as Fernbank said farewell to one of our long-time volunteers, Sathvik (pictured). In his own words, this is what the FUN program meant to him:

Thank you for four great years in the FUN program. I am graduating high school and moving on to The Johns Hopkins University, where I hope to study pre-med and major in Global Health Studies. I would like to eventually receive an MD and an MPH. I will definitely come by to visit Fernbank during summers and school vacations; my sister is starting the FUN program this summer. Thanks again for teaching me not only about science but also about how to speak to people and carry on conversations. The skills I learned through FUN have been very invaluable.

Thank you Sathvik. And thank you to all of our incredible FUN volunteers—past, present and future.

Information on the 2015-2016 program will be available on our website in February. Until then, please say “Hello” to our summer FUN team the next time you visit the Museum!

—Deanna Smith, Director of Marketing

Written by Fernbank Museum at 08:55

Holiday Hours


Independence Day 2014 Holiday Hours
Fernbank Museum will be open during normal daytime business hours over the Independence Day weekend. 

Explore the wonderful world of whales, catch a flick on the biggest screen in town and more. Fernbank educators will also lead guests through a variety of hands-on activities during special drop-in programs offered throughout the weekend. Activities vary. Check the “Today at Fernbank” sign when you arrive for details.

Fernbank Museum’s normal daytime hours are:
Sunday: Noon to 5pm
Monday – Saturday: 10am to 5pm

Purchase advance tickets online or by calling 404.929.6400. As always, parking is FREE 

Please note: Fernbank’s Martinis & IMAX® will not be held Friday, July 4. The event will return Friday, July 11.  

Written by Fernbank Museum at 12:12

Special Summer Ticket Giveaway


Whale Watch 1.jpgDid you have a whale of a time in
Whales: Giants of the Deep? Did you take advantage of the special "Fernbank Whale Watch" photo opp? If so, that photo could win you TWO FREE IMAX® tickets! 

We want to see your “Fernbank Whale Watch” photos. And, just for sharing your pictures, you will automatically be entered to win 2 free IMAX® tickets.

It’s simple to share:

Need inspiration? Check out our #FernbankWhales gallery.  

Check out 97 Days of Play for more summer fun ideas! 

—Deanna Smith, Director of Marketing

 

Written by Fernbank Museum at 16:03
Welcome to the official blog of Fernbank Museum of Natural History. This blog is an opportunity for the people that keep Fernbank running and constantly expanding, to share stories from their point of view. We hope you’ll enjoy these first-hand, behind-the-scenes glimpses of what goes into keeping a world-class natural history museum running. As always, we’d love to hear your feedback on these stories, to hear your personal experiences and hear any suggestions for topics. Happy reading!

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