Cincinnati Museum Center (CMC) is inviting you to go take a hike. And to do so you need to go no further than the museum itself. According to information released last week, Its newest exhibit offers an immersive stroll through the Eastern forest complete with the sights, sounds, and scents of the great outdoors. The John A. and Judy Ruthven Get Into Nature Gallery opened on November 5th.
The museum’s newest permanent exhibit is inspired by the 20,000-acre Richard & Lucile Durrell Edge of Appalachia Preserve System in Adams County – co-managed by CMC and the Ohio Chapter of The Nature Conservancy. Named in honor of a lifelong friend of CMC and legendary wildlife artist John A. Ruthven and his beloved wife Judy, the new exhibit inspires a new generation to explore, fall in love with and protect the wild spaces around us.
“The Get Into Nature Gallery lets you rest under a tree, turn over rocks and recharge to the sounds of nature,” said Elizabeth Pierce, president, and CEO of Cincinnati Museum Center. “We’re inviting a new generation to explore and fall in love with the wild world around us in the spirit of our beloved friend John Ruthven.”
The immersive 3,500-square-foot Get Into Nature Gallery replicates a walk through the four seasons of the forest with life-size models of red oak and redbud trees and a variety of native wildflowers, plants, and grasses. Scent-, sound- and touch-based interactives surround you in the exhibit. Additional interactives illustrate a year in the life of a teeming vernal pool – a seasonal pool of water that provides a habitat of distinct plants and animals – and allows you to draw water and nutrients from a tree’s roots and leaves. Explore animal dens with underground cameras, click like a cicada, and chirp like a cricket. Logperch, millipedes, amphibians, and moss enliven aquariums and terrariums throughout the exhibit.
The Get Into Nature Gallery is a robust exploration of those science concepts we remember – or think we remember – from middle school. Photosynthesis, migration, decomposition, pollination, food webs, and watersheds are illustrated through engaging interactives and meticulous detail. Through it all guests experience the extraordinary biodiversity of the natural world in our own backyard.
The exhibit is the latest success of CMC’s Champion More Curiosity campaign. The $1.8 million exhibit was fully funded through the campaign. A total of $95 million of the campaign’s $112 million goal has been raised to date and has funded the development of eight new exhibit and lab spaces, plus six exhibit refreshes, with additional exhibits in development. The campaign is also securing the museum’s future through endowment support.