North American Dioramas (NADS)
The North American Dioramas (NADS) cart is located on the 3rd floor in the North American Dioramas exhibit. This cart consists of a lot of hands on items such as: casts of skulls that are located in the exhibit, leather made out of Bison, a bison horn, deer antlers, Muskoxen fur, and the head of a Muskox. The idea of this cart is to help visitors understand that animals have adaptations that increase their evolutionary fitness. Evolutionary fitness is measured by an animal’s ability to spread its genetic code by reproducing, so their species can survive. So, survival is a key aspect of fitness. The other idea of this cart is that adaption occurs as a result of natural selection. It is a key mechanism of evolution. We are interested in showing visitors that traits/adaption help animals survive by using the casts of skulls on the cart.
The Mammals cart is located on the 1st floor in the Mammals Hall. The Mammals cart consists of a cast of a femur bone from a Mammoth, cast of a Mastodon tooth, Mammoth tooth, bobcat skull, and much more. The main attraction on this cart is the femur bone from a Mammoth. The main idea of this cart is to help visitors classify mammals (what is a mammal?). We want visitors to walk away knowing what characteristics an animal needs in order to be classified as a mammal. Other concepts this cart includes are: Predator vs. Prey, Mastodon vs. Mammoth, Evolution of horses, and Homologous structures.
The Birds cart is located on the 3rd floor in the Birds Hall. This cart consists of casts of skulls and feathers from different birds that you can find in the Birds Hall. The main idea of this cart is to help visitors understand animal adaptation and Natural Selection. If an environment is altered, organisms within the area will need to change (adapt) in order to survive. Natural selection is the process by which organism best suited to the environment survives and reproduces, thereby passing their genes to the next generation. This cart uses the casts of different birds, and their feathers in order to explain this process. Another contribution to the explanation of adaption and Natural Selection is the game called, Eat Like a Bird. This game allows the visitors to pretend to be a hungry bird trying to eat as much food it can with its special beak.
The Watershed cart is located on the 3rd floor in the Southern New England Dioramas exhibit. The main idea of this cart is to help visitors understand what a watershed is. The cart consists of a model city that has its very own watershed, and an ocean. Visitors can run this city, add some pollutants that go on in a regular city, and then watch what happens when it rains. A watershed is any area of land that drains water into a specific receiving body of water, such as a stream or a lake. There are no specific geographical features that define a watershed. For this reason, a watershed can come in any size, even the size of a footprint, though these smaller watersheds make up larger watersheds. Another big idea of this cart is pollution, and its effect on not only watersheds, but also our everyday living such as the food we eat, and the transportation we use to get from one point to the other.
The Egypt cart is located on the 3rd floor in the Ancient Egypt Hall. The main idea of this cart is to help visitors understand that Ancient Egyptians were a technologically adept society with many ideas and objects, many parallel to the modern day life. There are a few games on the cart that will help visitors compare the technological advances in Ancient Egypt and the 21st century. Other big ideas this cart exposes visitors to include: helping visitors visualize that Ancient Egypt is closer on the timeline to the 21st century than it is to the dinosaur age, explain how the technology today is possible because of the technological advance made in Egypt, and how Ancient Egypt was highly advanced for their time.
Aside from having carts set up in the exhibits, we also run science crafts. Out employees help children make crafts to teach scientific concepts. Whether coloring dinosaur masks to learn about different types of eaters or making animal ears to learn about food-webs, we are working to make sure visitors of all ages are able to learn in the museum.