Happy Holidays from the Beaty Biodiversity Museum!

As we enter this winter holiday season, it is a good time to reflect on the role of biodiversity in our lives, and specifically the role that biodiversity plays in the holiday traditions we all cherish. We can all give thanks to the wonderful things produced by the biodiversity of the Earth: beautiful trees, holly, ivy, mistletoe, and the diverse and delicious food that comes from a wide variety of plants and animals. As we enjoy these things, contemplating their natural origins brings much appreciation and awareness of the relationship between humans and biodiversity.


Holly from the Herbarium here at the Beaty Biodiversity Museum.

This is also a time to reflect on the work that each of us does. I have greatly enjoyed serving as Acting Director for the past several months, largely because of the opportunity to work with our wonderful staff and to interact with the diverse group of enthusiastic museum members and visitors.


Aislinn Hunter, our Writer-in-Residence during the month of November, in the Museum with one of our hummingbirds.

2014 has been an excellent year for the Beaty. We turned four years old, and welcomed 34,220 visitors during the year, putting us over 100,000 visitors since the opening of the museum. We delivered 366 school and community programs, 12 “Way Cool” lectures, and 8 Nature Club sessions. We opened five new exhibitions, and added new Campus Walks and Ask an Expert Tables. In November we hosted our first Writer in Residence, Aislinn Hunter, who served as our first and only live specimen displaying her natural behavior – writing great poetry inspired by our collections.


A new donation to the museum this year – wild sheep and a muskox.

Most importantly, we took excellent care of our 2.1 million specimens. These specimens are the core of the museum; I think of this whole museum as a time capsule that we are sending into the future, so that people generations from now can learn about the biodiversity of their past and our present.


Visitor Comment Book

For many of us working in the museum on a daily basis, it becomes difficult to view what we do with fresh eyes. This is why interacting with visitors is so refreshing. One of my great thrills on this job is to look through the visitor comment book, and I would like to share a few of these with you.

First, there are the concisely positive:





“Whale is EPIC!”


The slightly more verbosely positive:

“This place is amazing its super interesting and really fun!”

“I love your museum”

“I like the big bones!”

“This is the greatest museum that I have seen”

“This is the best place EVER” (big smiley face)

The somber:

“We came in honor of Martha, the last Passenger Pigeon centennial 1914”

The philosophical:

“Beautiful animals show beautiful lives”

“We are all so small”

“The definition of beauty”

“And I thought I was old turning 50 today! Great place to understand our place in the world. Two thumbs up!”

The funny:

“Had a whale of a good time!”

“Super Scientificky”

“Whale you go out with me?”

The grateful:

“Everything was well organized and beautiful”

“Great tour and guide”

“Thank you so much for showing us this amazing place”

“Thanks museum staff for a fun family visit!!”

I share this praise for our staff and volunteers, and thank them so much for all they do for the specimens and the visitors. I also thank visitors for their enthusiasm, interest, and dedication to biodiversity. Together, we are all contributing to the vision of the museum: “A world where biodiversity is better understood, valued, and protected.”


Big Blue getting in the holiday spirit!

Also, just a quick reminder: the Beaty Biodiversity Museum is a great place to visit with family and friends over the holidays. We are open every day except Mondays and December 25th.

On behalf of everyone at the Beaty, I send you warm wishes for a joyous holiday season!