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Delaware Museum of Natural History
Wikipedia | Google | Google Images | FlickrThe Delaware Museum of Natural History in Wilmington is the oldest natural history museum in the state Delaware, located near Greenville. It was founded in 1957 by John DuPont and opened to the public in 1972. The museum houses extensive collections of seashells, birds, and also the second largest collection of bird eggs in North America.
HistoryJohn DuPont, the museum’s founder, started collecting seashells, birds, and bird eggs during his childhood. In 1965, he acquired a doctorate in natural science and wrote several books about birds. DuPont also took interest in developing a natural history museum and was part of several scientific expeditions to the South Pacific and the Philippines when he was still in graduate school.
His uncle, Henry Francis DuPont, provided the land on which the museum stands today. The Delaware Museum of Natural History originally housed DuPont’s collection of over a million seashells and 100,000 bird eggs. The museum was one of the first natural history museums in the country established to educate the community about the ecology of birds and marine life. In 2005, the museum had a major expansion, adding an exhibit on mammals, dinosaurs, and Charles Darwin .
VisitingThe museum is open from Monday to Saturday, 9:30AM – 4:30PM; and Sunday, 12PM – 4:30PM. The museum is closed every national holiday like December 25, New Year’s Day, Fourth of July, and Thanksgiving. The admission fee for adults is $ 9.00 USD , seniors are charged $ 8.00 USD , children (age 3 – 17) are charged $ 7.00 USD , members and children under 3 are free. During special events, admission rates are different from the regular rates, usually a dollar more. The first spectacle visitors will see upon stepping inside the museum is the giant squid replica at the ceiling.
The exhibit area of the Delaware Museum of Natural History is nowhere close to that of the Natural History Museum in New York or Washington D.C., but the facility makes good use of the space that they have, giving visitors and especially kids a great experience every time they visit. The museum also has several interactive galleries, hands-on science activities, and other interests such as scavenger hunts, trivias, and children’s story time.
Shell GalleryOne of the highlights of the museum is the simulated Australian Great Barrier Reef at the entrance of the Shell Gallery. The gallery houses over 2 million varieties of seashells, an extensive collection that ranks among the top 15 in the entire country. Visitors can also explore different species of molluscs, nautilus, and scallops displayed in the exhibit.
Hall of BirdsShowcased in the Hall of Birds are over 118,000 specimens of extinct and extant birds, 3-D dioramas, and other avian-related samples such as bird eggs. The exhibit also has an interactive gallery of the evolution of modern birds, and visitors can get a behind-the-scenes look at the museum’s Collections and Research Division.
Dinosaur GalleryThe Dinosaur Gallery was one of the additional exhibits to the original collections. In this area, visitors are able to explore different kinds of palaeontology specimens through the Science in Action Lab, and see skeletons of dinosaurs found in Asia. The gallery also houses the only permanent display of dinosaurs such as Archaeopteryx, Parasaurolophus, Tuojiangosaurus, and Yangchuanosaurus in the state.
Hall of MammalsJust like any other Natural History Museums, the Delaware Museum also houses its very own Hall of Mammals. The gallery has displays of different mammals from around the world, as well as animals that are abundantly found in the streams and wetlands of the state. Visitors can also explore the African watering hole nearby, where different kinds of African animals are on display.
Darwin and EvolutionThe newly added gallery talks about the wonders of evolution through an interactive gallery of Charles Darwin’s discoveries. The exhibit features documents from Darwin’s experiences, research, and interpretations of his evolutionary theories.
Other ExhibitsAside from the major exhibits, the museum also features other activities designed to stimulate young minds. The butterfly garden is a beautiful sanctuary of native plants, hummingbirds, beetles, and different species of butterflies. The Larry F. Scott Nature Trail is also one of the top attractions. The mile-long trail goes through the forest behind the museum and is filled with lush-green vegetation. Visitors are encouraged to explore the trail and learn more about the natural environment.
Getting ThereThe Delaware Museum of National History is located at 4840 Kennett Pike (Route 52). There are several options when visiting the museum, one is by riding a taxi cab from downtown Wilmington, taking the #10 DART bus (which conveniently drop off passengers at the museum building), and by taking driving there using a private car. When choosing the latter, just take Route 52 from Wilmington; or if you’re coming from Philadelphia, take the I-95 to Wilmington (South) and merge to Route 1 South. Exit on Route 52 South, the museum will be about 8 kilometers from there.
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Author: radiantan. Last updated: Jan 10, 2015