Leading off the evening, Mr. Edmond Mathez, curator in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, gave a brief but powerful overview and introduction to the exhibition, which runs until August 9th, 2015.
From earthquakes and volcanoes to tornadoes and hurricanes, nature’s forces shape our dynamic planet and often endanger people around the world. Nature’s Fury: The Science of Natural Disasters uncovers the causes of these natural disasters, explores the consequences, and considers the risks they pose.
Starting with a powerful panoramic video installation that contrasts nature’s immense power with our own human scale, Nature’s Fury tells the stories of how individuals and communities cope and adapt in the aftermath of these events — and how scientists are helping to reduce the risks, plan responses, and prepare for future events. Interactive stations help visitors discover the processes behind each of these natural phenomena with touchable specimens, videos and animations, models, and simulations. Guests can also generate a virtual volcano, stand in the eye of a roaring tornado, and experience the sounds of earthquakes – and even create an “earthquake” by jumping next to a seismometer.
Being New Yorkers, but first and foremost caring and empathetic human beings, it was hard to not be touched by some of the powerful imagery and moving descriptions of the devastations caused by natural disasters of not only recent times but also our not too distant past.
The evening was hosted by the American Museum of Natural History’s Junior Council, one of New York City’s most stimulating membership groups for young philanthropists. Founded in 1994, the Junior Council supports the Museum’s mission to discover, interpret, and disseminate — through scientific research and education — knowledge about human cultures, the natural world, and the universe.
Each year, Junior Council members participate in special events that offer them an intimate view inside the Museum’s collections, activities, and exhibitions. Junior Council members go behind the scenes at one of the world’s preeminent museums, meet some of the nation’s most distinguished and engaging scientists, and preview the latest exhibitions.
The viewing was followed by a cocktail reception in the Gottesman Hall of Planet Earth, which featured a special cocktail named Hurricane Sandy, along with some very tasty treats from Sweden, Morocco, Italy, and California.
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Photos by C. Chesek for the AMNH