We are less than two weeks away from the annual Museum of Biological Diversity (MBD) Open House. That’s the day when the whole Museum dresses up and opens its doors to welcome the local community in a festive and relaxed way. Because the MBD was conceived as a collections and research facility, we do not have dedicated public display areas. So, in order to accommodate the large numbers of visitors drawn by an event such as the Open House, we need to do some serious planning, move a whole lot of furniture & equipment out of the way, bring specimens out of the cabinets were they are kept, and most importantly, come up with safe (and, of course, attractive) ways to display the specimens, so no damage can come to the them. It’s a pretty big operation!
The MBD Open House attendance has been steadily increasing over the years, from a couple of hundred people on our first edition in 2005, to a record-breaking 2,240 visitors in 2014 – up 72% from the previous year! It is incredibly exciting to meet so many people that are as interested in biodiversity as we are.
Because of the fragile nature of insect specimens, we at the Triplehorn collection are doubly careful with all our presentations, so on the day of the event we do not have to worry about the specimens and can enjoy the event.
Among the Triplehorn collection’s offerings are displays containing various kinds of insects, from samples of the local fauna to exotic species from as far away as Brazil, Madagascar, or Australia. From 5-inch long grasshoppers, and cookie-sized cockroaches, to brightly colored butterflies and dazzling shiny beetles, to some parasitic wasps that fit on the head of a pin, and others that are several inches long. All of it is on display during the Open House.
We do have some hands-on activities too, as space allows. One of our most delightful and popular activities during the Open House is the Bug Drawing table. Volunteers and visitors produce some truly amazing insect art (you can see more examples on our Flickr site here), which later are post to our wall of fame (below).
Every year, professors (active and retired), technical staff, graduate and undergraduate students, and many friends of the collection give their time to meet our visitors and share their knowledge and enthusiasm for insects, entomology, and biodiversity in general.
About the Author: Luciana Musetti is an Entomologist and Curator of the Triplehorn Insect Collection.