Created: 4/25/2017 Updated: 4/26/2017
Today is an important day for museums and cultural institutions across the state of Illinois. Today is Illinois Museums Advocacy Day, and the Museums, Arts and Cultural Enhancement committee –chaired by State Representative Camille Lilly – is having a subject matter hearing on the importance of museum funding and community support. We're proud to be a participant in today's hearing, and are honored that Representative Lilly and other committee members are using today to fight for museums and recognize the impact we have on our communities.
Earlier this year, we were honored to be named a finalist for the National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the nation’s highest honor awarded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. It’s truly an honor to be nominated for an award that recognizes museums and libraries that have made extraordinary contributions to their communities, and we were thrilled to be given the chance to highlight some of that work.
Our staff consists of a variety of professionals – from scientists and educators to beekeepers and horticulturists – and it has been that way since we were originally founded 160 years ago. The Academy opened in 1857 and our founders dreamed it could be a place for people to discover and connect with the beauty of the land, and to protect the open lands they cherished. We’ve become that and so much more. In fact, for 160 years we’ve been at the forefront of scientific research and environmental studies and maintain a collection filled with Illinois natural history specimens – all of which tell a critical part of our state’s story.
The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum is an essential part of Chicago’s cultural and education community and a fun place to visit. We bring nature and science to an urban population that is often detached from nature and natural areas. We provide an enticing window into an urban nature sanctuary, a place to experience the sights and sounds of authentic nature that can never be replicated on a computer.
We understand the importance of nature to our quality of life, so we allocate our resources with a priority on education – our biggest department. In the Museum and out in the classrooms throughout underserved schools, we work directly with students and teachers to help make nature and science alive. This is particularly critical since STEM education is a national priority.
When we take our customized programs into schools, we bring specimens from our one-of-a-kind, nearly 400,000 piece collection, the definitive gathering of our city and region’s natural history. Students also see the collection up close on field trips.
We take on challenging topics and help people understand how nature and people affect one another. Our self-curated, fact-based exhibits bring people closer to nature and encourage dialogue on pressing topics such as climate change. For example, our newest exhibit Our House, helps people think about how our choices affect the environment and what actions they can take as a family to live more sustainably. Meanwhile, our scientists’ pioneering conservation efforts are giving rare and endangered species such as the Blanding’s Turtle, the Rusty Patched Bumblebee, and the Smooth Green Snake a new lease on life, adding diversity to our ecosystem.
These are just a few of the ways we touch the communities around us, experiences that only we can provide. We’re proud that Representative Lilly and Museums, Arts and Cultural Enhancement committee are recognizing and fighting on behalf of museums today, and we hope that you will, too.
Created: 4/20/2017 Updated: 4/20/2017
I often go for a long bike ride on Saturdays, but this weekend I’m trading my cycling gear for marching boots.
I am proud and honored to lead a team of Chicago Academy of Sciences / Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum staff and volunteers at Saturday’s March for Science. How appropriate is it, on Earth Day, to march in solidarity with scientists and science teachers, including those on our staff! Scientists and science teachers are on the front lines in helping the public understand and appreciate the wonders of nature and science.
Our largest department at the Museum is education, and for good reason. Now, more than ever, it is critical to provide science-based data, facts and science education programs so that everyone can understand how our actions affect nature and the environment on which we all depend for life.
And as Chicago’s oldest museum, we’ve been at the forefront of teaching and connecting people to nature and science for 160 years. In fact, our educators provide more hours of hands-on education to students than any museum in Chicago.
That’s why we developed our newest exhibit, Our House: Rethinking Home in a Changing Climate, which helps people think about how our choices affect the environment.
In celebration of this Earth Day, I encourage families to simply have a discussion about nature and the environment and how they are both critical to our health and overall wellbeing. Take a moment to step outside and observe all the nature that surrounds us, right here in our urban area. If you and your family look for simple ways to connect more with the outdoors, it is amazing how those decisions will grow and harvest with time.
“The aim of science is to discover and illuminate truth. And that, I take it, is the aim of literature, whether biography or history... It seems to me, then, that there can be no separate literature of science.” - Rachel Carson
On that note, we encourage your participation at the March for Science! Please do say hello to our team if you see us proudly carrying Nature Museum signs. And, of course, the Nature Museum is open all day on Earth Day, so feel free to stop by throughout the day or after the march.
Created: 4/7/2017 Updated: 4/8/2017
As Chicago’s oldest museum, the Chicago Academy of Sciences/Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum has been at the forefront of connecting people in our city and region to nature and science since 1857.View Comments
We celebrate nature and science every day at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, but never more so than on April 22. In addition to Earth Day, April 22 is also the international March for Science, and Chicago is one of more than 300 cities that will have its own March. It’s a chance to support scientists and science teachers throughout the world, including our own Museum scientists, science educators and volunteers.
Many members of our team – staff and volunteers – will participate in the March For Science. Anyone is able to join the March – and we would welcome your participation. Because of the expected size of the March, we are not organizing an official Nature Museum group – but please say hi if you see our staff, volunteers and Trustees among the participants proudly carrying Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum signs.
For 160 years, the Chicago Academy of Sciences/Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum has been passionate advocates for the importance of science and nature education. From founder Robert Kennicott to former Academy president Thomas Chrowder Chamberlin, one of the first scientists to highlight carbon dioxide’s role in regulating the planet’s temperature, to the work of our scientists in the field and our educators in the classroom—this is who we are and what we do.
The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum will be open, as usual, on Earth Day - so feel free to stop by throughout the day, or after the March.
You can experience the new exhibit Our House: Rethinking Home in a Changing Climate, visit the Judy Istock Butterfly Haven, enjoy some fresh air on our outdoor exhibit Nature Trails and reflect on and nurture your family’s connection and appreciation of nature and science.