Archive for Saturday, April 20, 2002

Hands-on activities to greet Museum Day participants

April 20, 2002


Hands-on activities involving the bones of man's earliest ancestors, wings of insects and Amish quilt blocks are among the highlights of this year's Museum Day at Kansas University.

From 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, children and adults will be able to view free exhibits and take part in a variety of activities at the Museum of Anthropology, Natural History Museum and the Helen Foresman Spencer Museum of Art.

The Museum of Anthropology is using its "Early Us (And Them) in Africa" exhibit as the centerpiece for its program, said Andrew Weil, public outreach director for the museum. Participants will learn how bones can provide information about early human ancestors, such as what diseases they had and their stature, sex and age at death. Stone tools and dietary habits also will be explored.

"Walking With Prehistoric Beasts," a film by the Discovery Channel that follows the daily routine of a family of Australopithecus  an ancestor of man  will be shown. Quadruped races will test children's abilities to run and carry objects on all-fours. Participants also can get their photograph taken with a cardboard cutout of Luci, one of the earliest human ancestors, and her male counterpart, Desi.

The theme at the Natural History Museum is "Winging It" and all of its activities have to do with wings of one kind or another, said Brad Kemp, assistant director of public affairs at the museum.

Visitors can make a paper pterosaur, a type of ancient flying reptile, and work their way through an airborne obstacle course. They can don pollen-collecting baskets, like real bees use, and try their hand at retrieving, collecting and delivering simulated pollen.

They also can view the museum's rarely seen collection of flying fish, angel fish and butterfly fish; search the diorama for winged creatures; learn about wind-borne seeds; compare insect wings and bird wings; and watch videos about the dances and contortions some birds use to outshine their rivals.

In addition, Kemp said, Sea Lab will open on Sunday, with hands-on ocean discovery activities and an exhibit of marine specimens.

The Spencer Museum of Art has adopted "Patterns in Art" as its theme and will offer self-guided gallery activities focusing on its "Amish Quilts 1880 to 1940 from the Collection of Faith and Stephen Brown" exhibition.

Participants will be able to design quilt block patterns from decorative papers.

Other exhibits that will be open for viewing are "Contemporary Ceramics East and West," "Goltzius and the Third Dimension" and "Tim Rollins + K.O.S.: The Langston Hughes Project."

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