First Floor Rear
The “experiment” of the Experimental Gallery is in its unique collaboration between Carnegie Museum of Natural History and other groups, institutions, or partners who are focused on learning. The museum benefits from fresh perspectives offered by outside collaborators, while providing the opportunity to implement design concepts in an actual museum environment. Through this process, it is museum visitors who benefit the most, gaining a new insight into the world of natural history and the museum's cutting-edge research.
Check back for information about upcoming exhibitions in this space!
Winging It: An Experimental Gallery about Birds
In a new collaboration between Carnegie Museum of Natural History and Carnegie Mellon University School of Design, a group of senior design students worked with the museum’s scientific staff to create Winging It: An Experimental Gallery About Birds. In this exhibition, visitors discovered the world-class avian research conducted by scientists at the museum and Powdermill Nature Reserve, while gaining a new appreciation for the relationship between humans and the natural world.
Winging It: An Experimental Gallery About Birds included videos, hands-on-activities, and displays from the extensive Carnegie Museum of Natural History bird specimen collections. After learning about the complex relationship between humans and birds, visitors could take the Bird Personality Test to determine the kinds of bird to which they were similar. Visitors could get “banded” with a temporary silver bracelet like the ones attached to birds before they’re released at Powdermill Nature Reserve!
See Our Research
The exhibition concentrated on the scientific research on birds conducted at Carnegie Museum of Natural History and the museum’s environmental research center at Powdermill Nature Reserve. A new video created for Winging It examined Powdermill’s important bird-banding project, in which researchers have banded more than 500,000 migratory birds over five decades of tracking, making it the longest continuously operating bird banding program in the country. In another area, Winging It looked at Powdermill’s newer, but similarly important, bioacoustics research: the recording and study of bird calls and what they communicate.
Did You Know?
It’s difficult to study nighttime migratory birds, and there is still much to learn. But thanks to innovations in bioacoustics in use at labs such as Powdermill Nature Reserve, scientists can now make huge strides in understanding these birds by recording their flight calls as they pass overhead, unseen, in the night.
For More Info
Visit Carnegie Museum of Natural History's Powdermill Nature Reserve and Powdermill Avian Research Center websites to learn more about our research and behind-the-scenes activities.