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Friday, August 22, 2014

The "Franklin & Marshall College's North Museum" Story

The entrance to the North Museum of Natural History and
Science on the campus of Franklin & Marshall College.
It was an ordinary day.  Just finished a trip to the North Museum of Natural History and Science which is located on the campus of Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, PA.  It's been more than 50 years since I last visited the place which was started to introduce children to the natural world.  Most 5th grade classes in Lancaster schools make a voyage to the museum sometime during the year.  I had many fond memories of the museum from the large snakes that visitors could touch to the room that made everything white on your body glow in the dark.  
This photograph was taken from the museum's website. It
shows a large group of men who were amateur collectors of
natural specimens who were known as the Linnaean Society. 
It was in 1953 that the college erected the existing three-story museum at the corner of Buchanan Ave. and College Ave.  The building was erected to hold natural history collections that had been donated by an active group of naturalist-collectors called the Linnaean Society.  Funds from the estate of Mr. Hugh North along with money from a local banker were used to build the museum.  One of my favorite parts of the museum was the planetarium where I got to explore the heavens and learn all about the stars and planets.  I was hoping that my grandson Caden and I would have a chance to see a show in the planetarium today during our visit.  We paid our entrance fee and following a map that was given to us, we started our tour of the museum.  First stop was the Live Animal Room which featured all sorts of live creatures that we could view.  Probably best at this point to show you some of the photos that Caden and I took of our trip through the museum.  Only disappointment of our entire trip was not being able to sit in on a planetarium program.

Directly inside the front door is this display of mountain animals.
Caden enjoyed the snakes encased in plastic slightly more than the live ones in the Live Animal Room.
This is a Blue-Tongued Skink which can grow to be over two feet long and live 20 years.  It gets it's name from the fact that it has a Cobalt blue tongue.  It is native to Australia, Indonesia and of course, the North Museum.
Caden captured a neat shot of a Peninsula Cooter whose shell can grow up to 15 inches in length.  It can be found in rivers, lakes, swamps, canals and ponds.  It's name comes from kuta, the word for turtle in several African dialects.
This looks scary until you realize it is rubber!
This bee box shows children and adults what happens inside a beehive.  It is open on one end to a window of the museum for all to see what is inside.  Couldn't take that photo, since the reflection was too much.  This year the worker bees inside the beehive produced enough honey to fill 138 eight ounce jars. 
In the Hall of the Cosmos room we were able to examine the moon and it's surface.
Here Caden stands next to the skull of a dinosaur to show how large the animal may have been.  This is part of the
Dinosaur Hall.
This is a notebook that allows people of any age to present their thoughts about using Indians as a sport's mascot.  Loved the answers which were primarily from children.  
This gives you an idea what a child might think about Indian mascots for sports teams.
This shark's jawbone which shows the many layers of huge teeth was quite impressive to my grandson.  He could probably walk through the sharks mouth.

There also displays showing rocks and minerals, fossils, birds of the north-east, an outdoor butterfly garden and a discovery garden.  Fun day for both my grandson as well as me.  It brought back memories of my childhood and my visit to the museum years ago.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

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