'Party in the Panorama' to raise funds for iconic exhibition

Fri, 09/27/2013

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Jen Humphrey
KU Natural History Museum
785-864-2344

LAWRENCE — The natural history exhibit that brought Kansas to the world stage in 1893 is the focus of a new event at the KU Natural History Museum.

The museum will offer “Party in the Panorama: a Science Soiree for Grown-ups,” from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12. The event combines food and drink with a silent auction that will feature fossil casts, electron microscope art and photographs from the Lewis Lindsay Dyche collection at the Spencer Research Library.

In addition to the auction, the event features science games and activities such as   a demonstration of sound waves using fire and chance to mimic the sound of a parasaurolophus. Music will be provided by the band Truckstop Honeymoon. Foods at the event will pay homage to the international flavors of the World’s Fair. Tickets are $20 each or two for $35 and available through the KU Alumni Association, kualumni.org/panoramaparty.

Funds raised through the event will help support the future restoration of the exhibit, which was created by Dyche to represent Kansas at the 1893 World’s Fair. Dyche’s panorama of animals posed in natural settings helped draw as many as 20,000 people a day to the Kansas pavilion at the fair.

“Few people realize the significance or the age of the exhibit,” said Leonard Krishtalka, director of the KU Biodiversity Institute, which includes the museum. “It is one of the largest dioramas in the world. We hope to preserve this university treasure and bring it into new relevance for future generations.”

The museum began raising funds for the exhibit in October 2012, when KU alumni Kent and Janet Martin McKinney of Kerrville, Texas, contributed a challenge grant of $50,000. Dozens of donors matched their gift to raise a total of $102,000, which will be used to conduct a conservation assessment.

Tuckerbrook Conservation LLC, of Lincolnville, Maine, has been selected to document the condition of the taxidermied mounts that Dyche and later museum staff created. The assessment will begin in March 2014.

Over time, the animal hides have faded, and skins of some mounts, such as the walrus, have large, visible cracks. If nothing is done to repair the damage or halt further deterioration, the exhibit will eventually fall apart.

Additional information about the exhibit and the "Party in the Panorama" can be found here.

Contributions will count toward Far Above: The Campaign for Kansas,  the university’s $1.2 billion comprehensive fundraising campaign. Far Above seeks support to educate future leaders, advance medicine, accelerate discovery and drive economic growth to seize the opportunities of the future.

The campaign is managed by KU Endowment, the independent, nonprofit organization serving as the official fundraising and fund-management organization for KU. Founded in 1891, KU Endowment was the first foundation of its kind at a U.S. public university.



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Poet offers insights to Jayhawk experience through wordplay "Welcome to KU. Where questions rest, in stacks of answers from the past. …" Listen to Topher Enneking, a spoken word poet and former KU football player, as he weaves the experience of KU and its traditions through this storytelling and wordplay performance. Learn more about KU traditions at http://www.ku.edu/about/traditions/. Welcome to KU. Where questions rest in stacks of answers from the past. Where dreams crawl out of bed And learn to walk Uphill both ways. Where freshmen stand on stilts And hang from the rafters, While the wheat waves In a fieldhouse Where the Phog rolls in Helping us to see Through the past into the future. Haunting hosts giving handouts in a heritage Too heavy to grasp til you add to it. So it may be born anew, Allowing our boots to stand in the ash of oppression’s hate But shine bright as the sun While war cries of warriors past Ring in our ears long after their battles are won. Memorials telling time, “you don’t have to stand still.” Because the top of the world Is just up that Hill. Where our natural history is an awe-struck echo Of world’s fair and equal Past, present and future, prelude and sequel. Where our flags fly above planes. Where we build in chalks that can’t be erased. Stone edifices made to last So you would walk Past their doors, down their halls And let your voice fill their room. Because only in empty silence can destruction loom. So stand tall. Wrap your arms around this crowd Sing our alma mater and sing it out loud. Let your voice sing in chorus and reach other nations Beckoning new Jayhawks to spark new collaborations Because you are the mortar that will hold these walls upright. Your future Your dreams are why Jayhawks did fight For the tradition before you Was merely prelude For what will come next now that you’re at KU.


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