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New Bell Museum exhibition 'Natural Curiosity' offers glimpse into the obscure and intriguing from its 4 Million+ specimen collection

May 31, 2012

Exhibit Information:
What: Natural Curiosity
When: Open June 2 – September 2, 2012
Cost: Free with Bell Museum admission

In a collection of more than 4 million scientific specimens, teaching tools and artwork that span the globe, odds are good that a few will spark interesting questions and wonderment. That’s the goal behind the Bell Museum’s latest exhibit, Natural Curiosity, opening June 2, 2012. Bell Museum curators have selected from the collection, the strange and the spectacular to share with the public—some for the first time!

“Science can tell us some pretty amazing hidden stories of common creatures and give us answers to the uncommon,” says exhibit curator Jennifer Menken. “We want to tell these stories in ways that engage our visitors. The items we feature are quirky – from a giant cow hairball to an endangered mussel – and what’s fun is providing the accompanying knowledge.”

Natural Curiosity takes visitors through four exhibit areas:

  • “A Story to Tell” focuses on the fascinating stories of select specimens, some commonly found in nature.
  • “What is it?” challenges visitors to deduce, through the help of clues, what exactly is the uncommon thing they are viewing.
  • “The Side Show” highlights the oddities and giants of the natural world. Specimens include a mummified pigeon and a 400-lb clam.
  • "Old School” presents an ode to teaching days gone by. Vintage teaching models including dioramas and articulated skeletons show us how science students and researchers of the past learned about our natural world.

In an age of endless information at our fingertips, Natural Curiosity trains visitors to use inquiry skill while exploring the exhibit and encourages continued exploration beyond a trip to the Bell.

In addition to Natural Curiosity, visitors can explore the Bell Museum’s Jaques Gallery exhibit, Flutter: Butterflies and Moths in Art and Science, running alongside through summer 2012.

The Bell Museum is part of the University’s College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences, and strives to advance the quest to discover, document and understand life in its many forms and to inspire curiosity, delight and informed stewardship of the natural world. For details, visit

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Natural Curiosity opens June 2 at the Bell Museum

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