Museum Unveils Biodiversity Exhibit

For two years HSU's Natural History Museum has been planning and designing its newest exhibit: an entire corner devoted to biodiversity.

Museum director, Melissa Zielinski, said the idea was inspired by a visit to New York’s American Museum of Natural History a few years ago –“it has a hall of biodiversity, showing how “everything is connected. One part of the ecosystem affects the other.”

That got Zielinski thinking. “I really believe that small museums can have the same impact — but on a more personal level.”

To help her conceptualize the project, Zielinski called on recent HSU biology graduate Michael Lindquist, who helped design the exhibit, and art alum Rachel Rogge, now in Chicago, to execute the artistic vision.

The outcome:– an exhibit that interactively demonstrates, in particular, Humboldt County’s diverse species of life and how we as humans can continue to support biodiversity.

“A lot of people don’t know what biodiversity even is,” said Zielinski. “With this exhibit we hope to define biodiversity and relate it to our own lives here in Humboldt County.”

Aside from the interactive sliding panels and flip-open wall displays, the exhibit will have an internet kiosk cued up to the World Wildlife Fund-sponsored Web site and take-home flyers detailing little ways locals can promote biodiversity.

“We hope to influence conscious decisions,” said Zielinski. “We want them to know that what they do does matter — even though they are just one person.”

The new exhibit is, to date, the largest exhibit in the museum. Though it isn’t nearly the size of the New York exhibit that inspired Zielinski in the first place, she said “I’m very pleased with what we’ve come up with — especially with the space constraints.”

Based on visitors’ responses to the curtain-covered corner, and some partially exposed butterflies, they’ve been excited, too.

“The signs were up so long, there was a lot of excitement,” she said. “I’m so glad it is finally open, because now is the time to educate people about this.”

The new biodiversity exhibit opened to the public for the first time September 22. Doors are open Tuesday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, contact the HSU Natural History Museum in Arcata at 707/826-4479, or visit the Web site at .