When I think about Natural History Museums, I think about mostly the fossils that are displayed for the general public. Fossils like dinosaurs, ancient ancestors of animals, even skeleton remains of ancient human species like the Neanderthals, Homo Erectus, etc. What makes Natural History Museums different compared to a General Museum or a even History Museum is that Natural History Museums are more of a scientific researched based institution that deals with rediscovering and researching the natural world. Some and maybe even most museums rely on non-natural history like art, recorded human history (documents, man-made artifacts, etc), and technology.

For some reason, I’m not really intrigued or interested in natural history things. I’ve always been so interested in mostly written human history from the earliest form civilization to the present. Things that relates to the natural world with fossils, ancient plant or fungi species, and anything related to that is somewhat separate with the interests I have with my history studies and what I look for in a museum. I think maybe the only thing that does interests me that relates to natural history is probably the evolution of the human species, the intermingling with the different human species such as artifacts that could relate to contact or even interbreeding. I’ve always been interested in the history of the human kind since it’s basically the story of our ancestors and how we, in present day, came to be. I guess, you can say, that I’m more into human anthropology and history than the overall natural history.

As a kid, I was somewhat interested in dinosaurs and even meteorites. I remember seeing a bunch of dinosaurs fossils, different plant species, and meteorites at the museums I lived in Indiana and even in Alberta/British Colombia, Canada. Mostly the reason why I thought they were very interesting to me at the time was that I learned about the natural history back in primary school. So, what I learned in the classroom was also something that I reviewed when I was visiting one of those museums as a kid. Other than that, I haven’t experienced that much of visiting Natural History Museums.

As I was thinking and pondering even more with the topic of Natural History Museums, I got curious if Alaska (or Anchorage in general since that’s where I’m currently living) had any Natural History Museums. Turns out there is one in town called Alaska Museum of Science and Nature. It’s so interesting because I’ve never been there before, not even had a school field trip when I was here for part of my primary education. I’m thinking perhaps it wouldn’t be that bad to check it out sometime when I’m available. I’ve always thought that the Anchorage Museum would be the one to somewhat focus on the natural history, however I realize it mostly focuses on the history of Anchorage, the sciences that relate to Alaska in general, and a bit of the wild life. I can’t remember if there were any fossils or plant species for part of their collections. Maybe I should visit both and compare and contrast the two.

Alaska Museum of Science and Nature

Question: What kind of museum do prefer visiting and why?

4 Thoughts to “Hannah: Natural History Museums”

  1. Arianna Wyanski

    I’ve been to a lot of different museums, but I think that I prefer the ones that are more based in nature, the oceans, and sciences, they seem to just be more interesting to me than museums that focus in one area. Although, I might be biased, because I’ve visited more sciencey and nature based museums more than any other, and the few other museums that I’ve visited (Museum of Flight Seattle, WA and Musical Instrument Museum AZ) were in areas that I was personally more interested in.

  2. Avatar photoSavanna VonScheele

    I can relate to you and your perspective of how you viewed a Natural History Museum. I have not visited many but took this class to find out more about them and to see other peoples perspectives. I prefer going to Museums based on nature, or one i would like to visit is the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC because i am interested in aircrafts and space in general.

  3. Korovin Ellis

    In general I prefer going to museums, for subjects I don’t really know much about. I also tend to prefer more focused museums, rather than the larger generalized museums, since they tend to be more crowded and attract tourists. In general I’m also not interested in art museums, since I feel like I suffer ascetic burnout going from art piece to art piece, rather than getting a chance to see and learn about them in a more individual sense, though this might be a personal thing.

  4. Angela Linn

    Thanks for your honest discussion about your perspectives on natural history museums. As a kid in Iowa, I was constantly going to natural history museums because my dad taught jr. high science and every family vacation needed to include lessons about earth and life science. My favorite was practically in my back yard, the University of Iowa Museum of Natural History. Included in Bird Hall (a distinctive feature of many natural history museums is that many divide up their public galleries by animal types) is the nation’s oldest cyclorama of the Laysan Island beaches with the frigate birds. This walk-in exhibit captured my imagination as a young person, as you look in all directions and hear the sounds of the beaches. LOVED it! https://magazine.foriowa.org/story.php?ed=true&storyid=2194

    I’m glad this class has provided you the opportunity to learn about a museum in Anchorage and I hope you do check out the Alaska Museum of Nature & Science! It would be a great future blog post to compare and contrast it with the Anchorage Museum.

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