Rock and Fossil Display
The Remington Nature Center is releasing its latest exhibit-a donation of rocks and fossils, most of which were found locally. Various specimens include agates, gold, petrified wood, concretions, and jasper. Examples of fossils include shark teeth, crinoids, ammonites, brachiopods, corals, and a trilobite.
This exhibit was made possible by three local rock and fossil collectors who donated the items to the nature center. The exhibit is showcased in two new cases, and informational signage has been added to further explain the collection.
"We are very fortunate to have this display, made possible by this donation," said Andrea George, manager of the Remington Nature Center. "These items will be enjoyed by so many of our visitors. They are wonderful examples of locally found items and should spark a lot of interest."
The Remington Nature Center is planning a summer kickoff from 11am-3pm on Saturday, May 28. The new rock and fossil display can be viewed and experts will be on hand to answer questions. There will also be a children's make-and-take craft available, and refreshments for all patrons.
Remington Nature Center Completes Civil War Display
In recognition of the Civil War Sesquicentennial, the Remington Nature Center of St. Joseph has added a second Civil War display that features authentic Civil War artifacts.
Civil War Exhibit
During my Civil War and Reconstruction class in college, my history professor made a bold statement: "The Civil War was the greatest American tragedy to date." I remember someone raised their hand and asked, "What about 9-11?" My professor nodded his head, paused, and repeated "The Civil War was the greatest American tragedy to date."
My professor was in no way trying to lessen what occurred on 9-11; both events were tragedies, but the Civil War ripped apart a nation. It divided states, counties, towns, families. We hear the term "brother against brother," but don't fully grasp the severity of that statement. The Civil War changed hundreds of years of history, impacted the economic structure of the south, and forever changed the United States.
With the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War approaching in 2011, the Remington Nature Center will continue to tell a piece of Northwest Missouri's story, as it was during the Civil War. Our Civil War display includes officer's uniforms of former St. Joseph mayor and Confederate General M. Jeff Thompson, as well as Union Colonel Robert Smith. These uniforms were provided by James Country Mercantile, Inc., from Liberty, Mo. James Country has outfitted re-enactors in many Civil War-era movies, and provides completely accurate uniforms. Details such as the differences between Confederate and Union gloves, sabers and pistols are evident.
Different examples of shot are displayed. We have a twelve-pound solid shot for a field howitzer, canister shot, three-inch ordnance rifle solid shot, and six pound solid shot from a field gun. There is also solid shot for ten-inch siege mortar, weighing 88 pounds.
Other items in the Civil War display include oxen shoes, iron knuckles, Union coat buttons, Confederate currency, and an artillery box plate. Another item displayed is very dear to me-an oval shaped Confederate belt plate. I found this item in a ditch, several years ago, on what is believed to be a skirmish site in Northwest Missouri. It is one of my favorite artifacts I've ever found, and I'm happy to have it on loan at the Remington Nature Center.
Some of the most popular exhibit items I use at the nature center are the collection of animal pelts. We have a large variety of different pelts, including deer, skunk, opossum, squirrel, red fox, beaver, and coyote, among others. When I do a presentation for a preschool, elementary school, or nursing home, I often take the animal pelts because all ages love to feel the soft furs and get closer to nature.
Each fur can signal the opening for discussion and reference back to exhibits at the Nature Center. For instance, the red fox pelt reminds me to mention that the tail is called a brush, and we have a taxidermy red fox on display by the conference rooms. The beaver pelt allows me to discuss Native Americans and trade. In 1650-1700 AD, a three-foot pile of beaver pelts would have been valued at approximately $300.
Preschool-aged kids love the pelts because they can touch them, which is so much more fun than just looking at them. I often read a book to coincide with the pelts. For instance, during the June story time, I read a story book about deer and the kids got to touch deer pelts, skulls, sheds, racks, and even an elk rack!
When showcasing the pelts at nursing homes, many of the seniors remind me there was a time when wearing real animal fur was extremely fashionable, and not quite as taboo as it is considered now. The seniors love to touch the fox and mink pelts, and reminisce of a time when those furs were all the rage!
At the Nature Center, we have a variety of furs for viewing and touching, near the footprints display. The names are on the reverse side, so test your knowledge and see how many you can identify. If your group or organization would like to schedule a program, such as the animal pelt identification, please call me at 816-676-3204, or email me at email@example.com
Barbed Wire Display
A new exhibit for Spring 2010 has been unveiled at the Remington Nature Center of St. Joseph. A collection of hundreds of pieces of barbed wire, donated by a local enthusiast, is now on display.
The exhibit explains the important changes barbed wire brought to the United States, ending the free range cattle grazers and allowing smaller ranchers to develop, thus changing the landscape forever.
"This display truly depicts both natural and cultural elements of Northwest Missouri," said Andrea George, exhibit/event coordinator for the nature center. "Nature was undoubtedly changed forever by the patents of barbed wire, and the cultural history can strongly be traced from the early 1850s through the World War II era."
"Many people collect barbed wire; there are museums dedicated solely to barbed wire," George said. "It is important because each strand of wire is unique and different, and the men who patented these wires were influencing history. In many ways, barbed wire was as influential in changing cultural history as the transcontinental railroad, or invention of the incandescent light bulb."
The barbed wire exhibit displays over 200 different examples, including one of the first patented wires - the Meriwether Wire.
The trapper display exposes the lifestyle of the first Europeans who ventured into the Midwest. Trappers came to collect the valuable pelts of animals, specifically the beaver and bear.
One of the earliest Europeans in Northwest Missouri was a Frenchman named Ettienne Veniard de Bourgmont. In 1724, he traveled from Fort Orleans, which is in present-day Saline County. His journals document everything from large packs of wolves to smoking a peace pipe, as well as trade with the Native Americans. Trade items such as metal axes and beads were used to entice Native Americans into helping the trappers.
The trapper's tent at the Nature Center shows the everyday tools necessary for a trapper to survive. Guests can sit on a rope bed, touch the real furs, view real traps and gaze at other meager possessions a trapper may have.
the Woolly Mammoth
The woolly mammoth and baby create a memorable signature exhibit at the Remington Nature Center. At replica size, this exhibit allows visitors to comprehend the height and appearance of these Ice Age creatures, and allows patrons to step back thousands of years ago to a different time in Northwest Missouri's history.
Taylor Studios in Rantoul, Illinois designed the mammoths, as well as the scene around them. Specializing in museum-quality replicas, Taylor Studios creates lifelike exhibits for educational facilities around the United States including the National Civil War Museum in Pennsylvania, the Lewis and Clark Interpretative Center in North Dakota, and the National World War I Museum in Kansas City, Kansas.
A member of the Elephantidae family, mammoths often grew 16-foot tusks, and could survive up to 60 years of age. They ate 130 to 660 pounds of food per day, and produced 31 to 400 pounds of dung daily. These social creatures lived right here in Northwest Missouri. Don't believe it? Perhaps the mammoth bones-the tusk, femur, humerus, tibia and mammoth teeth all found in Northwest Missouri-and also on display at the Remington Nature Center-will convince you.
the Black Bear
The black bear, on display at the Remington Nature Center, is a great example of the Center's motto, "where history and nature collide." Hundreds of years ago, black bears were common in Missouri. In fact, during the 1700s and into the early 1800s, black bears were so plentiful they were killed, second only to deer, for food.
By the 1840s, black bears were rare in Northwest Missouri. Reintroduction efforts in Arkansas helped the black bear to become more plentiful, and many people in Northwest Missouri claim a few still exist in this area.
The bear on display at the Nature Center was shot around International Falls, Minnesota by Jack "Cody" O'Donnell. While an average black bear weighs approximately 200 pounds, Mr. O'Donnell's bear was 630 pounds, and 7 feet, from nose to tail.
This impressive bear is a reminder of the animals from long ago, that used to thrive in Missouri. The black bear is just one of the handful of other unique animals on display, including a puma, feral hog, bison, bobcat and gray wolf.
The Remington Nature Center added its latest exhibit-an observation honey bee hive. The observation hive, honey bees and queen bee came from Draper's Super Bee located in Auburn, Nebraska. Specially made with double strength glass, hinged door and locked entry, the observation feeder allows everyone to safely observe the bees. Such hives from Draper's are on display all over the Midwest, including at Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo. Craig Rippey, WPC, lent the Nature Center his knowledge and expertise by placing the bees into the observation hive.
A tube connects the observation hive to the outside and on nice days, bees fly in and out, busy with their work. Danny Murawski got the piping into place, as well as made a base to elevate the hive. A feeder jar with sugar and water syrup also feeds the bees, until the flowers are fully in bloom.
More features will be added to the exhibit, including an informational sign about bees, take-home brochures and honey recipes from the National Honey Board, and possibly a video of honey bees and their importance.
Seven Native American Peace Medals
The Remington Nature Center of St. Joseph has unveiled its newest display : Seven Native American Peace Medals.
"We are extremely proud that this display is something to be viewed in St. Joseph," said Andrea George, exhibit coordinator for the nature center. "Such a range of medals are usually on display in major museums. We are happy that we are able to keep Northwest Missouri's cultural history in this area."
The medals on display were struck from a variety of metals, and are from some of the greatest presidencies: George Washington, Andrew Johnson, John Adams, and Rutherford B. Hayes. The display includes the medals, pictures of the opposite side of each medal, as well as an explanatory sign about peace medals and their importance to Native Americans.
With over 1,200 Native American artifacts already on display, the peace medals tie into the cultural and natural heritage of Native Americans who lived in Northwest Missouri hundreds of years ago.
"St. Joseph has such a rich history, and weâ€™re proud to showcase another exhibit dedicated to Native Americans," said George. "No people like the Native Americans could have been as resourceful with the Earth and its resources. We believe this exhibit is another reason the Remington Nature Center is dubbed 'where history and nature collide.'"
For more information, contact Andrea George, exhibit/event coordinator, at 816-676-3204 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
This pottery jar is made of clay with ground clam shells used for tempering. It has four small lugs on the rim, used for suspension. The surface has punch mark designs made by pressing a blunt twig into the wet clay, as well as cross-hatch designs from lines made with a sharp stick. The jar's decorative lines and punch marks are not only for decoration, but serve to dissipate heat from the vessel, much like a radiator, allowing the jar to be used to cook in without breaking.
This local artifact was found on an Early Mississippian site in Holt County, Missouri, 900-1200 A.D.
The Remington Nature Center has five complete pieces of Native American pottery on display, as well as over 1,000 Native American artifacts.