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Bugs and Birds Swarming Academy This Summer

Pinned insects
"Pinned! Insect Art, Insect Science" opens Aug. 9.

June 23, 2014

Birds and bugs — what would summer be without them? — will be featured in two exhibits, a favorite festival and a class for adults this summer at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University.

The Academy’s seventh annual Bug Fest will take place Aug. 9 and 10. This year’s theme of “Beauty and the Bug” emphasizes the art and artistry of insects through a variety of fun and engaging activities, demonstrations and close encounters with hundreds of live insects. And this year’s fest will coincide with the opening of a colorful exhibit of artfully arrayed and framed insects. A class about moths adds to the insect-related fun.  

Joining the bugs will be a group of unique birds. “Birds of Paradise,” open now through Sept. 1, is an engaging family-friendly exhibit showcasing one of the most elegant examples of extreme evolution: the elaborate mating rituals of New Guinea’s birds-of-paradise. Co-developed by the National Geographic Society and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the exhibit brings together stunning videos, images and soundscapes of all 39 known species of birds-of-paradise.

Learn more about what you’ll find at the Academy this summer below. For more details and frequent updates about the following programs, visit ansp.org.

‘Unnatural History’

Now–Aug. 2

Art of Science Gallery

“Unnatural History” is a playful poke at what goes on behind the dioramas at a natural history museum. In Lori Nix’ imaginative black-and-white photographs, science, facts and animals are a bit askew and sometimes hilarious. This plays on the expectations people have for museums like the Academy as places of serious research and authority. Free with museum admission.

‘Birds of Paradise’

Now–Sept. 1

Special Exhibits Gallery

An elegant example of extreme evolution, New Guinea’s birds-of-paradise show off their feathery flair during elaborate mating rituals. In this highly interactive exhibit based on the groundbreaking research of photographer Tim Laman and Cornell ornithologist Edwin Scholes, visitors will behold the birds’ cinematic courtship dances, puffed-out plumage, wild calls, and bizarre behaviors through engaging  video, photography, soundscapes, and specimens. Hands-on games and components and the opportunity to learn signature bird moves in a unique dance-off make for an engaging experience for children and adults. Free with museum admission.

Academy Explorers Camp

Monday–Friday, July and August, 9 a.m.–4 p.m.

Academy Explorers Camp offers children ages 5–12 a unique, fun and engaging experience. Each week of camp explores an exciting new theme and features an off-site field trip, plus all the museum has to offer — from dinosaurs to preserved specimens to live animals. Fee: $295 per camper per week for members; $335 per camper per week for nonmembers. Before- and after-camp care available. More details, including each week’s camp theme, are available at the Academy’s website. To register, call 215-299-1060.

Prep for Moth Week

Adult Class

Wednesday, July 8, 6–9 p.m.

National Moth Week begins July 19, and what better way to prepare than to join Academy entomologist Stephen Mason to learn about one of the most diverse and successful organisms on earth: moths. Participants in this adult class will get a brief overview of insects in general and explore the amazing variety of moths that live in the Philadelphia region. They will see some of the Lepidoptera specimens in the Academy's research collection and learn about field collecting and bug pinning methods. National Moth Week offers a unique opportunity to become a citizen scientist and contribute data about moths. For more information on National Moth Week, visit nationalmothweek.org. Fee: $20 for members; $25 for nonmembers. To register, call 215-299-1060.

Bug Fest: ‘Beauty and the Bug’

Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 9 and 10, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.

Celebrate the beauty of bugs of all kinds at Bug Fest. Find out how insects have influenced artists and how bugs are works of art themselves. Watch as insects create their own art, and make insect artwork to take home. Cheer on a favorite cockroach in the Roach Race 500; sample insects in foods; talk with Academy entomologists; and see hundreds of live bugs as well as specimens from the Academy’s world-renowned collection. Free with museum admission. 

‘Pinned! Insect Art, Insect Science’

Aug. 9–Nov. 9

Art of Science Gallery

Christopher Marley’s insect artwork celebrates what he calls the latent elegance and lustrous beauty of insects. “Pinned! Insect Art, Insect Science” features diverse groupings of framed beetles, butterflies and other bugs that form an irresistible palette of colors and textures reflecting the amazing diversity of the insect world. Dozens of specimens from the Academy’s noted Entomology Collection illustrate the story about why and how scientists pin insects for research. Free with regular museum admission.