Monday, August 31, 2015

Butterfly Live Exhibition at American Museum of Natural History: Review by Polly Guerin

An annual favorite: The popular live exhibition, Butterfly Conservatory, is eagerly anticipated by adults and children alike at the American Museum of Natural History. The rare and wonderful exhibit weaves a magical moment to celebrate the last halcyon days of summer.  The exhibit opens to the public on Saturday, September 5 and runs through Monday, May 29, 2016.
     The Butterfly Conservatory houses up to 500 iridescent butterflies that hover above visitors in a 1,200-square-foot vivarium filled with lush foliage and blooming tropical flowers where delighted children and young-at-heart adults play amid these magical winged creatures.
     The spectacle of hundreds of live tropical butterflies is an amazing venue and is accompanied with the the never before published rare manuscript; Titian Peale's "Butterflies of North America. Peale's lost manuscript brings to light a lost masterpiece of natural history from the American Museum of Natural History's rare book collection.  It is brimming with original, vibrant color plates of numerous butterflies by celebrated American artist and naturalist Titian Ramsay Peale II (1799-1885). David Grimaldi, curator of the Butterfly Conservatory in the Division of Invertebrate Zoology shed some light on Titian's background. "He was a member of the Peale family of Philadelphia. His father, you may remember, was the painter, Charles Wilson Peale." This beautiful volume  reveals Peale's life work, equivalent in scope and beauty to John James Audubon's The Birds of America. The book includes a foreword by Museum President Ellen V. Futter and text by Professor Kenneth Haltman and Museum Curator David A. Grimaldi that describes the art and science this talented artist brought to his extraordinary work. The book by Abrams publishers is a hardcover, 256 page, 220 color illustration volume. $40.00.
    Why do Butterflies matter?  Because we benefit from their pollination and they serve in the role as natural pet control. Butterflies in all their glory with wings fashioned like stained glass in vibrant colors enchant us and often mystify our comprehension. They are one of the most beautiful creatures on the plant, yet, unlike many other species, the butterfly is a delicate animal that is needed for the very health of our planet. The existence of butterfly colonies and their migration routes are threatened by habitat loss, particularly deforestation. This fact should be of great concern; a warning to us all to protest and take action to protect the butterfly. You can find a link to organizations to protect the butterfly on the Internet.
     Ta Ta darlings!!! On wings of the beautify butterfly, as summer draws to a close, I wish you a very pleasant week and Labor Day weekend.  Fan mail welcome at
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