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Museum's Panorama work begins this month

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

LAWRENCE — Beginning Monday, March 10, visitors to the KU Natural History Museum will see a research team conducting a major evaluation of the historic Panorama of North American plants and animals.

As part of a monthlong assessment of the Panorama’s condition, Tuckerbrook Conservation LLC of Lincolnville, Maine, will survey the state of each of the Panorama’s animal mounts, plants and backgrounds, as well as lightly clean the animals, which have endured years of exposure to fluctuating temperature, humidity and light.  The onsite assessment is scheduled to be completed Friday, April 4.

The Tuckerbrook team includes Ronald Harvey, who brings more than 30 years of experience to the Panorama’s conservation, including work with dioramas at the Milwaukee Public Museum and the state capitol building in Augusta, Maine. He will be joined by Joan Gorman, senior painting conservator at the Midwest Art Conservation Center of Minneapolis, Minn. She will review the background paintings and any other painted surfaces within the Panorama. Alfred H. Hodson III, a historic structural engineer, will examine the physical structure of the exhibit. KU students will assist the team.

The museum is featuring two special events for the public to learn more about the Panorama during the ongoing conservation assessment. At 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Wednesday, March 19, the museum will welcome children and families to explore the nature of museum dioramas by creating their own take-home dioramas using a wide variety of materials. The event, scheduled during spring break for the university and area schools, is free.

At 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 26, the museum will host a free public lecture at the Commons, “Behind the Glass,” which will include presentations by Ronald Harvey and Bill Sharp, co-author of “The Dashing Kansan,” a biography about the Panorama’s creator, Lewis Lindsay Dyche.  Dave Kendall, executive producer at KTWU/Channel 11, will introduce the program. The lectures will be preceded by a dinner in the Panorama Gallery; a limited number of tickets for the dinner are available for $30 each by contacting the museum at (785) 864-4450.

The Panorama, one of Kansas’ American cultural treasures, was originally part of the Kansas pavilion at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, where it was immensely popular, being visited by as many as 20,000 people per day.

During a previous, three-day visit to the Panorama in December, testing of the animal mounts by Tuckerbrook revealed arsenic, lead and mercury, toxins commonly used in taxidermy in the past.  The conservation team will be dressed in appropriate protective gear during the month-long conservation assessment.

Fund-raising for the conservation assessment began in 2012, when KU alumna Janet Martin McKinney and her husband, Kent, of Kerrville, Texas, contributed a generous challenge grant of $50,000, which was matched through the generosity of the museum’s many friends and contributors.  The total raised to date for the conservation effort is $110,000.

The assessment report from Tuckerbrook will be used to develop a comprehensive conservation and reconditioning blueprint for the Panorama. The museum plans to invite the public to contribute its ideas for the Panorama through a series of community conversations to be held in the fall of 2014.


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Museum Events

Art Cart: Painted Fans
Saturday, January 20 | 1 p.m.-4 p.m.
Spencer Museum of Art, Sam and Connie Perkins Central Court, 317
1301 Mississippi St.
The Art Cart is a drop-in activity station where children and grown-ups enjoy hands-on art projects together, taking inspiration from original works of art. After traveling the world, Sallie Casey Thayer donated her collection of objects to KU to form what is now the Spencer Museum of Art. Learn about Mrs. Thayer and create a painted folding fan to start your own collection.

Slow Art Sunday: Steel Wool Peignoir
Sunday, January 21 | 2 p.m.-3 p.m.
Spencer Museum of Art, Kemper Family Foundations Balcony, 408
1301 Mississippi St.
Slow down at the Spencer and spend time getting to know one great work of art. Slow Art Sunday features one work for visitors to contemplate and converse about with Museum staff. In January, get to know Steel Wool Peignoir by Mimi Smith.

Science on Tap: The Cambrian: More than just Trilobites
Wednesday, January 24 | 7:30 p.m.
Free State Brewing Co., 636 Massachusetts St.
The Cambrian is a time in Earth’s history when many modern animal relatives make their first appearance. It is also a time when many bizarre animals without modern relatives appear in the fossil record. At this Science on Tap, Dr. Julien Kimmig will talk about the diversity of animals during this amazing period and what it can teach us about the future of life on earth. 

Career Close-ups: Developing a Career in the Museum World
Friday, January 26 | 2 p.m.-4 p.m.
Spencer Museum of Art, Auditorium 309
1301 Mississippi St.
Undergraduate and graduate students are invited to explore how any major can lead to a career in a cultural organization. A panel of museum professionals will share their experiences, followed by a networking reception and behind-the-scenes tours of KU’s museums. This year’s panelists include: Dina Bennett (Mulvane Art Museum, Washburn University), Glenn North (Black Archives of Mid-America), and Adrianne Russell (Cabinet of Curiosities). Advance registration is required at www.spencerart.ku.edu/career-closeups. Please register by January 24. Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/476618689399321/
Sponsored by the Spencer Museum of Art, KU Natural History Museum, University Career Center, and the Museum Studies Program.

Final Friday: Community and Culture Closing Celebration
Friday, January 26 | 6 p.m.-7:30 p.m.
Watkins Museum of History, 1047 Massachusetts St.
The Watkins, in partnership with the Max Kade Center and the Lawrence Opera Theatre, present an evening of 19th-century German-American music and cuisine.

Discovery Day: Celebrating Kansas
Sunday, January 28 | 1 p.m.-3 p.m.
KU Natural History Museum, 1345 Jayhawk Blvd.
In honor of Kansas Day, join us for hands-on activities that are all about Kansas wildlife, plants and fossils. 

Kenneth A. Spencer Lecture: An Evening with Eve L. Ewing: Poetry in Context
Wednesday, January 31 | 7 p.m.-8:30 p.m.
Liberty Hall, 644 Massachusetts St.
Eve L. Ewing is a sociologist, poet, essayist, artist, and educator whose research focuses on racism, social inequality, urban policy, and the impact of these forces on American public schools and the lives of young people. Dr. Ewing earned a Ph.D. from Harvard University and is recognized as a leader and social influencer, especially in conversations involving academia, writing, black women, and the intersection of politics and popular culture. Sponsored by The Commons.

University in the Art Museum for Graduate Students
Thursday, February 1 | 3 p.m.-4:30 p.m.
Spencer Museum of Art, 1301 Mississippi St.
University in the Art Museum introduces graduate students to opportunities for object-based teaching, learning, and research through collaborative partnerships with the Spencer Museum of Art. This workshop includes discussions led by graduate students in the departments of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; Geography; and Atmospheric Science. Advance registration is required by Monday, January 29. Register online at https://spencerart.ku.edu/uam.

Extraordinary Animals: Awesome Adaptations
Sunday, February 4 | 1 p.m.-3 p.m.
KU Natural History Museum, 1345 Jayhawk Blvd.
At this new monthly animal event, parents and children are invited to learn about animals of Kansas. Museum Animal Specialist Ashley Welton will offer presentations about animal adaptations using touchable specimens from the museums collections at 1:15, 1:45 and 2:15 pm. 

FeBREWary at the Watkins
Thursday, February 15 | 6 p.m.-9 p.m.
Watkins Museum of History, 1047 Massachusetts St.
The Watkins, in partnership with Lawrence Beer Co., presents an evening of beer, food, and knowledge! Enjoy beer and a fascinating talk on brewing provided by Lawrence Beer Co., plus food from local restaurants and an informal museum tour. Tickets are $15 for DCHS members, $20 for non-members. You may sign up online or contact the museum at 785-841-4109. We recommend buying in advance. Ages 21 and over only, please. More information and registration.

Winter Table: An Evening of Herpetology
Wednesday, February 28 | 6:30 p.m.
KU Natural History Museum, 1345 Jayhawk Blvd.
A celebration of more than 100 years of KU herpetology research programs and the careers of Linda Trueb and Bill Duellman. Explore the Natural History Museum's reptile and amphibian collections and enjoy appetizers and drinks. Dine in the Panorama Gallery with KU herpetology scientists and students conducting reptile and amphibian research across the globe. 

6:30 pm: appetizers, drinks and science salon
7:00 pm: dinner and program
$50 per person 

Reserve your space now at the 2018 Winter Table by ordering tickets online. Tickets are $50 per person. You may also call 785-864-4450 to purchase by phone or you may purchase tickets at the museum lobby during business hours. Questions? Contact biodiversity@ku.edu or 785-864-4450.

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