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Winged wonders are the stars of Bell Museum summer exhibit, Flutter: Butterflies and Moths in Art and Science

May 31, 2012

Exhibit Information:
What: Flutter: Butterflies and Moths in Science and Art
When: Opens June 2, 2012
Cost: Free with Bell Museum admission

Summer is the season for winged creatures of all kinds, and some of the most mysterious and majestic are the subject of one of the Bell Museum of Natural History’s 2012 summer exhibits, Flutter: Butterflies and Moths in Art and Science.

Flutter pairs University of Minnesota research on Lepidoptera - butterflies and moths - with works of art, photographs and pop culture items that celebrate the species. With 164 species of Lepidoptera in Minnesota, there is much to celebrate – and learn.

Visitors will be presented general information on the butterfly and moth population both within the state and beyond; through specimen displays and gripping photography, they will discover the mystery of metamorphosis, coloration, social signals and behavior. Outdoor enthusiasts will learn how to create butterfly and moth havens with easy gardening tips and techniques. They can even get up-close inspiration in the Bell Museum’s courtyard butterfly garden. 

Artists have felt the lure of Lepidoptera for centuries and Flutter includes displays that celebrate visionaries including Maria Sibylla Merian, a pioneer in scientific illustration, and Kjell Sandved, famous for his “Butterfly Alphabet.” Additional works from artists of varying styles will also be on display.

Much of the research behind Flutter comes from the work of the Bell Museum’s own director, university professor of entomology Susan Weller. As the Bell’s curator of Lepidoptera, Weller’s knowledge is a key component of Flutter – marrying the aesthetic appeal of butterflies and moths with the equally intriguing science of the species. Weller’s work is complemented by fellow researcher Karen Oberhauser, associate professor in the Department of Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology. Oberhauser’s work with monarchs has been used in schools around the state through her program, “Monarchs in the Classroom.”

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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Flutter opens June 2 at the Bell Museum

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