Kent State students have a chance to ‘Explore Museums’

Michelle Bair

Skeletons more than 54 feet long, fossils, specimens and models of various whales were presented to Kent State students

in one exhibit during the third

and final “explore museums”

class at the Carnegie Museum

of Natural History in Pittsburgh

last Saturday.

Along with the whale exhibit,

which will be on display through

May 2, the museum has ancient

Egyptian mummies, dinosaurs,

diamonds, gems, art and real

stuffed animals.

Students took a peek behind

the scenes at various reptiles and

amphibians, and some stood face–

to-face with the head of a boa constrictor

in a room full of snakes.

Another room is a research

area for studying moths, snails,

fresh-water clams and several

other creatures. It’s also where

some scenes from “Silence of the

Lambs” were shot.

Students who wish to experience

observations such as these

can register for Explore Museums,

a field-experience geography

course that meets three Saturdays

throughout the semester at 7:30

a.m. for an all-day outing of site

seeing and traveling. There are no

exams or papers, food is provided

and grades are pass/fail.

“The requirements are attendance

and taking notes,” said Molly

Delaney, the course instructor.

Also this semester, the class

visited the Cleveland Museum

of Natural History, the Ohio

Historical Center and The Great

Circle Earthworks.

Courtney Schroeder, junior psychology

major, and her boyfriend

Mike Seng, sophomore fashion

design major, decided to take the

course because it sounded interesting

and enjoyable. They both

said their least favorite part is the

early meeting time, but they still

recommend students take the class

next semester.

“It’s a good experience to learn

about Ohio’s history in a hands-on

environment,” Schroeder said. “It

only meets three times a semester,

but a lot can be learned. Plus, it’s

nice to get away from campus.”

Perks of the class extend beyond

getting out of the classroom.

“You get to see lots of behindthe-

scenes things and places in

the museum,” said Zach Burgess,

junior advertising major.

One “behind-the-scenes” place

students saw in the Cleveland

Museum of Natural History is the

“Cold Room.”

The room is full of preserved,

stuffed dead animals, so students

learned about taxidermy

and observed several animals,

including an alligator, a lion and

an ostrich. In addition, they saw

a large display of hanging animal

skins in the leather process.

The class also had an outside

tour where it saw trainers interact

with turkey vultures, bobcats, deer

and seals.

The trip to the Ohio Historical

Center and The Great Circle

Earthworks was primarily dedicated

to the Native Americans,

burial mounds and artwork.

Displays ranged from a May

4 exhibit for Kent State to the

bones of a mammoth mastodon

to characters reenacting lifestyles

during the Civil War.

Delaney passed around several

pieces of artwork and informational

handouts for students

to look at on the bus, which were

incorporated into the lecture and

places they visited.

The Adena Man Pipe, Delaney

explained, was used by early

woodland Adena people.

“They may have smoked this

pipe for hallucinogens and religious

purposes,” Delaney said.

She said field courses have

academic advantages because

they cover subject areas both

social and scientific.

“The course emphasizes a

geographical approach,” Delaney

said. “So students learn

about cultural and social as well

as environmental and scientific

aspects of the places. Therefore,

the course provides a wellrounded

view of the topics. It’s

open to every major on campus,

with no prerequisites. Every

major finds something interesting

about the course.

“The experiential aspect aids

in the learning process, for anyone

of any age, and especially

for students who do not have

much background in these subject


Delaney said she enjoys teaching

Explore Museums.

“The most enjoyable aspect is

the chance to get to know students

individually,” she said. “We are out

in the field functioning together

as a team all day long. I also enjoy

developing creative media to help

reach students from a variety of

majors and backgrounds.”

Aside from the tedious classes

that are required for one’s

major, a semester can include

a few bus trips for two upperdivision


“I’m glad I decided to take

the course,” Burgess said. “Even

though it’s time consuming on

three Saturdays, it’s fun and laidback


Contact on-campus entertainment

reporter Michelle Bair at [email protected].