LAWRENCE — New exhibits featuring spectacular artifacts of pre-Columbian archaeology, the dazzling expressions of the color red in nature and the real bones of a new Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton are among those being highlighted by the KU Biodiversity Institute and Natural History Museum during its first-ever members day Aug. 16.
The free event begins with an open house at 7 pm with hands-on activities for families. Visitors are encouraged to bring picnic blankets and stay for ice cream and an outdoor movie. At 8:30 p.m., the museum will show the classic 1982 film "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial" on an inflatable screen on the lawn south of the museum.
“This event is the museum’s hearty thank-you to all of our members and friends,” said Leonard Krishtalka, director of the KU Biodiversity Institute and Natural History Museum. “The result of their wonderful support is an enormous transformation of our exhibits during the past year, from refurbishing classic dioramas with fresh paint and current information to renovating an entire wing for new, educational and adventurous exhibits.”
Although the event is a celebration with museum members, those who are not yet members or curious about the museum’s membership program are most welcome to attend, Krishtalka said.
Renovations include a two-year makeover of the sixth-floor wing of the museum. New exhibits there use art and science to display the beauty, diversity and functional form of mammal skulls, from bats to elephants. They display the otherworldly “faces” of parasites of sharks and rays, and the delicate, luminescent skeletons of fishes and frogs.
Also on the sixth floor, a new exhibit of pre-Columbian artifacts from Costa Rica is the first of many planned exhibits that will again showcase for students and the public KU’s rich archaeology collection.
For more information, visit biodiversity.ku.edu.