Last month, we went behind the museum walls to learn 10 things you probably didn’t know about the Carnegie Museum of Natural History (including the existence of “The Alcohol House”). Now take advantage of any time that you have off over the holidays and get out of the house to explore the museum! There are enough exhibits and activities to interest everyone in the family, from your aunts and uncles, to those teenage cousins who are in from out of town, right down to the littlest ones too! Here are few things to do at the museum during the holidays.
Hillman Hall of Minerals and Gems
Are there any budding astronauts or space aficionados in your holiday crew? The Hillman Hall of Minerals and Gems has rocks that you can actually touch from Mars (that’s Mars the planet, not Mars, PA). Exotic minerals from around the world and a diverse collection of minerals from Pennsylvania are also on exhibit for those who are a bit more grounded on Earth. Don’t forget to check out the birthstone collection in the Wertz Gallery of Gems and Jewels…maybe it will give you some gift ideas for next year!
National Geographic: 50 Greatest Wildlife Photographs
Showcasing the evolution of photography, the National Geographic images convey how innovations such as camera traps, remote imaging, and underwater technology have granted photographers access to wildlife in their natural habitat. The 50 Greatest Wildlife Photographs give visitors an honest look at animals in the wild, while also complementing the Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s collection—there’s an accompanying scavenger hunt that you can enjoy with the whole family. Pick up your checklist at the museum’s front desk to get started!
Do you have some high energy kiddos staying with you? Discovery Basecamp was made with them in mind. Kids can dress up and play with oversized dioramas or even make their own. This new hands-on gallery gives children the opportunity to touch a real lion’s mane, climb over giant ant statues, and examine the wings of a fly under a microscope. Make sure they don’t miss out on Bone Hunters’ Quarry, where they can learn what it’s like to dig for fossils!
The Anthropocene Living Room
If you’re tired of your own living room, hang out at the one in the Carnegie Museum of Natural History instead! To learn more about the Anthropocene, a newly proposed geological epoch that is defined by the impact of humans on our planet, you can listen to the museum’s podcast, A is for Anthropocene: Living in the Age of Humanity. But you may want to take some time to reflect on what you’ve learned in the museum’s Anthropocene Living Room, which includes a display of the history of human impact on the planetary systems, a television that shows scenes from nature, and books for all ages. News stories on scientific discoveries and environmental work are also on rotation on the walls.
Special Holiday Activities
The holidays are a magical time of year, and the Carnegie Museum of Natural History is recognizing that this year with some very special activities! On Saturday, December 28th, the museum will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. for Sensory Friendly Saturday: Holidays Around the World. Visit holiday-themed stations throughout the museum, which showcase the holiday traditions of different cultures, and experience festive foods, crafting activities, and decorations. From now until January 2nd, kids can also visit Sven the reindeer at Discovery Basecamp and write a letter to Santa. Live animal shows will continue throughout the holiday season, so if you’re feeling froggy, head to the museum at 1:30 p.m. daily to encounter exotic animals from around the globe.
Keep an eye out in January for the next article in our “Behind the Museum Walls” series with the Carnegie Museum of Natural History!This content was provided by a local, independent contributor to Made in PGH, a lifestyle blog.