Thanks to Thursday’s storytime sponsor

Join us for storytime

We offer storytime every day at at 11 a.m., but Thursdays are particularly special! Through the end of 2022, storytime on Thursdays is sponsored by the Office of the State Treasurer, administrator of the DE529 Education Savings Plan.


“Engaging young people not only educates them, it fosters creativity, helping them to be prepared to thrive in their future,” said Colleen Davis, Delaware State Treasurer. “Our DE529 Education Savings Plan similarly builds a bright future for young people by helping them become college and career ready financially. We are proud to partner with the museum to share the importance of combining education and fun for Delaware’s children.”


It is more important than ever to get started on a savings plan for future educational expenses.
Saving now can help your child be college- and career-ready in the future.

Investing involves risk, including risk of loss.
Before investing, consider the plan’s investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses.
Contact Fidelity for a Fact Kit. Read it carefully.

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Gala & Glow

A heartfelt thank you to all who celebrated the museum’s 50th anniversary — and the completion of our metamorphosis into the new Delaware Museum of Nature and Science — at our Gala and Glow on Friday, May 13, 2022.

Research Headquarters

How we know what we know:

In the Research Headquarters, sponsored by DuPont, explore stories about scientific research and related projects from our local area and beyond.

Scientists help us better understand the world around us. They conduct research in all kinds of environments: in the field, in the laboratory, and even in the museum’s natural history collections. They observe animals and plants in the air, on the land, and in the water. They conduct experiments and collect data to test their observations. Over time, they draw conclusions based on what they find, helping us make sense of what’s happening on the planet. What we know changes as scientists gather and share new information.

Tucked into the Regional Journey Gallery, the Research Headquarters currently includes stories about the Delaware Shorebird Project and the juvenile humpback whale collected by museum scientists in 2018. Other stories currently on view also include some of the research behind DuPont’s Kalrez® technology, citizen science project Coast Snap by Delaware Sea Grant, and exploring with carnivore ecologist Rae Wynn-Grant, courtesy of the IF/THEN® Collection.

On the back end, the stories in the Research Headquarters are installed in a content management system created by digital design studio RLMG. It’s set up so new stories can be uploaded seasonally.

Stories involving museum scientists

The juvenile humpback whale skull was weighed on its way to the museum.

A tale of a whale

A juvenile humpback whale died at sea and washed ashore near Port Mahon, Delaware. The whale, one of 34 humpback whales stranded on the East Coast in 2017, presented an opportunity to tell this important story at the Delaware Museum of Nature & Science. But first, museum staff had to determine how to retrieve the 280 lbs. skull from the beach.

Shorebirds at Mispillion Harbor.

Shorebirds on the bay

Each spring millions of horseshoe crabs migrate into Delaware Bay to lay their eggs on sandy beaches. At the same time, nearly half a million shorebirds arrive to rest and refuel on their way to breed on the Arctic Tundra. Their primary food is horseshoe crab eggs. The Delaware Shorebird Project studies the birds and the importance of the bay to their survival. Learn more about the Delaware Shorebird Project.

Stories from our partners

DuPont’s Kalrez® technology

From aerospace and chemical processing to chip manufacturing and oil and gas applications, DuPont™ Kalrez® elastomers are engineered to provide more stability, more resistance, and more effective sealing. Learn more about this technology from DuPont scientists. Learn more about Kalrez®. 

Coast Snap by Delaware Sea Grant

To manage coastlines, we need to understand how they behave. Delaware Sea Grant’s CoastSnap is a citizen science program harnessing smartphones and orthophotogrammetry to help scientists learn more about the shoreline. By using CoastSnap, the community becomes an integral part of the science team. Learn more about CoastSnap.

From the IF/THEN® Collection

Image by Tsalani Lassiter, courtesy of the IF/THEN® Collection

Carnivore ecologist Rae Wynn-Grant, courtesy of the IF/THEN® Collection

Rae Wynn-Grant, Ph.D. might just have the coolest job on the planet. As a carnivore ecologist working for National Geographic, she researches how endangered species are impacted by human interaction. Her work currently focuses on grizzly bears in Montana, but has previously taken her around the world — including to Tanzania and Kenya to study lions. The If/Then Collection is a digital asset library of women STEM innovators. Learn more about the If/Then® Collection.

The Research Headquarters is sponsored by DuPont

Oceans

Vast moving waters give life to our blue planet. Oceans cover two-thirds of our planet and include the largest unexplored areas on Earth. They also affect life here on land. Like the rainforests, oceans produce oxygen for the world and regulate our climates. Protecting them is vital for our survival.

Beneath the water’s surface, mountains, valleys, and plains shape a variety of ecosystems: sunny and shallow coastal waters, vast expanses of dimly lit mid-water, and the inky darkness of the deepest sea, all providing habitats for diverse marine life. World Ocean Day is designated to bring awareness to the importance of our oceans and the need to protect them. At the Delaware Museum of Nature and Science, guests may explore three different marine ecosystems — shallow, mid-water, and deep sea — today and every day.

Mid-Water

Sunlight fades away in the ocean’s twilight realm

The mid-water exhibit is generously sponsored in honor of Leila Saavalinen Steele

Most of the world’s oceans are mid-water, located between the surface shallows and the seafloor far below. Here, in the largest expanse of unexplored space left on Earth, immense whales and giant squid swim alongside fishes and invertebrates of all sizes.

The Mid-Water Ocean exhibit includes the juvenile humpback whale skull collected by DelMNS staff in 2018.
The whale exhibit is sponsored by M&T Bank | Wilmington Trust

Deep in the mid-water, light is scarce, temperatures are low, and pressure is high. Sea life has found survival strategies for this harsh environment.

The Nightly Commute: Every night as the sun sets, many ocean residents commute up towards surface waters in search of food. As the sun rises, they return to deeper waters, where darkness helps them hide from predators. This behavior, called diel vertical migration, varies depending on the species and its life stage. Some organisms travel long distances while others stay mostly at one depth.

Deep-Sea Dive

Take the plunge into an ocean canyon expedition

The ocean’s canyons are deep and dramatic, just like those on land. Marine scientists explore these mysterious realms with remotely operated vehicles or ROVs – small submersible vessels launched from research ships.

Scientists and engineers remain on the ship, guiding the ROV’s descent to roam the canyon floor. As the vessel’s cameras record the trip, engineers use its robotic arms to collect specimens of sea life.

These dives provide valuable glimpses into our vast and unexplored oceans.

Ocean canyons are narrow valleys with steep sides cut into the edges of continents under oceans. They can be several thousand meters deep. This video shows a dive into Kinlan Canyon, located in the Atlantic Ocean about 600 kilometers (375 miles) east of New York City.

Museum scientists collected these specimens from canyons in the North Atlantic using a remotely operated vehicle (ROV). The jars were hand-blown by At-Mar Glass in Kennett Square, PA. Each jar has a glass armature created specifically to hold each specimen.

Shallow Water

The ocean’s shallow, clear waters are full of life.

Around the edges of continents, the oceans are shallow and sunlight can reach down to the seafloor. Fishes, crustaceans, and many other organisms browse on submerged grasses and swim among kelp forests.

In warm, shallow seas, tiny coral polyps make stony skeletons that gradually build up into immense structures. These coral reefs overflow with diverse plant and animal life.

Delaware Museum of Nature and Science opens to the public May 23

After an extensive $10.8 million, 17-month renovation project, the Delaware Museum of Nature and Science opens to the public on Monday, May 23. The museum, formerly the Delaware Museum of Natural History, closed at the end of 2020 for the project. All of the exhibits – many in place since 1972 – were removed and the walls were taken down to the studs. Installation of the new exhibits has been ongoing since the end of 2021.

“We’ve completely shed that dusty, old museum perception. The Delaware Museum of Nature and Science is dynamic, engaging, interactive, relevant, and modern,” Executive Director Halsey Spruance said. “Our focus is on what we know about nature and science, why it matters to us, and what we can do to protect the environment. There’s a huge emphasis on how we are all connected and how our actions matter.”

Grand Opening Weekend Events:  

Friday, May 20, 10 a.m. Ribbon cutting and museum tours for invited guests and the media

Saturday, May 21 and Sunday, May 22, 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Member-Only Preview, sponsored by M&T Bank | Wilmington Trust. Includes special tours about the renovation process and new exhibits from staff members throughout the weekend. Open to DelMNS members and members of partnering museums: Delaware Art Museum, Hagley Museum & Library, Mt. Cuba, Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library, and Tyler Arboretum. Admission is free for members, pre-registration for timed tickets is requested.

Monday, May 23, 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Open to the public. Timed tickets will be available at delmns.org in early May.

Visit Information: The museum will be open seven days a week from 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Admission price is $12.95 for ages 3 and up, $3.95 for toddlers ages 1-2, and free for infants under 12 months. There is a $1 discount for tickets purchased in advance online. Admission is free for DelMNS members. For the first year, members of Delaware Art Museum, Hagley Museum & Library, Mt. Cuba, Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library, and Tyler Arboretum also receive free general admission.

New galleries include:

  • Regional Journey Gallery: Stroll across a giant floor map of the state and explore deciduous and mixed forests, the Bald Cypress Swamp, a saltmarsh, dunes, and the Delaware Bay. Designated areas such as the Fair Play Foundation Field Station and the DuPont Research Headquarters provide an opportunity to learn what is happening in our local region and beyond.
  • Alison K. Bradford Global Journey Gallery: A giant floor map of the world occupies the center of this gallery, surrounded by three land-based ecosystems, including a tropical rainforest, Arctic tundra and African savanna, along with three different ocean environments (shallow, mid-water, and deep). The ecosystems demonstrate nature’s diversity, the interdependency of life, and how humans play the biggest role in change.
  • Ellice & Rosa McDonald Foundation PaleoZone: Meet the creatures that lived in the Mid-Atlantic during the Cretaceous Period. Skeletons of the fearsome Dryptosaurus dinosaur, the flying “bat lizard” Nyctosaur, and the aquatic giant Mosasaur are joined by smaller Cretaceous specimens.

Other new exhibit spaces include the Tree of Life in the atrium with a visual interpretation of the Tree of Life, depicting the evolution of organisms over billions of years and the relationships between them in increasingly diverse branches. Adjacent to the Atrium, the Bill & Denise Spence Discovery Gallery offers rotating, hands-on exhibits. Opening exhibits include Delaware Mineralogical Society, First State Robotics and the University of Delaware, in addition to the museum’s Collections & Research Division.

New amenities include the Rest, Relax, Recharge café with prepackaged sandwiches, salads and snacks from Jamestown Catering, along with coffee, water, and other beverages. The Delaware Community Foundation Respite Room is a dedicated, calming space for visitors with sensory challenges and developmental disorders to take a break, as well as being a quiet and private option for nursing parents.

In addition to the new galleries and public spaces, additional parts of the project included lighting and sound systems, installation of a fire alarm and fire suppression system, new paving, HVAC system, refreshed meeting, event and temporary exhibit spaces, and renovated restrooms.

Delaware Museum of Nature and Science Project Partners

  • Strategic Planning           Schultz and Williams
  • Project Manager             Aegis Property Group
  • Exhibit Designer             Reich&Petch
  • General Contractor        Bancroft Construction
  • Architect                         JacobsWyper
  • Exhibit Fabricator           Kubik Maltbie

Media Contact:
Jennifer Acord, Director of Communications
jacord@delmns.org

Coral Reef

One of the most frequent questions asked about our exhibits: “Is the coral reef staying?”

It is! The museum’s popular coral reef exhibit is getting a new look, with updated and refurbished elements. The scene is designed to look like Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. The exhibit features a wide variety of corals — the animals that make the coral reefs — in many shapes, sizes, and colors. In addition, fish, mollusks and other specimens are represented.

A flock of new specimens

Look up into the trees in the Regional Journey Gallery, and you’ll see birds and small mammals perched on branches and tucked into crevices. Among the new additions added to the galleries recently include a variety of bird taxidermy, including a dramatic Bald Eagle, owls, woodpeckers, a Kingfisher and a family of Wood Ducks, with more scheduled for installation soon. Take a look at some of the newest arrivals.

Delaware Community Foundation supports new Respite Room with capital grant

Tucked into the Regional Journey Gallery is the new Respite Room, a dedicated, calming space for visitors with sensory challenges and developmental disorders to take a break, as well as being a quiet and private option for nursing parents.

Supported by a recent $19,864 grant from the Delaware Community Foundation, the room is designed to be a cozy and safe area, with limited furniture, soft lighting, and a sink for washing hands. The room will be secured, with access available at the front desk.

The Respite Room project was made possible by a grant from the Delaware Forever Fund and other funds supporting capital needs of nonprofits throughout the State of Delaware at the Delaware Community Foundation. We’re grateful for their support in creating this warm, safe and inclusive space for our guests.

The mission of the Delaware Community Foundation is to improve the lives of the people of Delaware by empowering and growing philanthropy through knowledge and relationships, now and in the future. As a facilitator, information resource and manager of charitable funds, the DCF helps communities and philanthropists focus charitable resources for the greatest community benefit statewide.

Metamorphosis in Progress

Take a look at some of the new exhibit components and other changes happening at the museum!

Thank you PNC Grow Up Great

For the last decade, museum educators have partnered with PNC Grow Up Great to develop, pilot and present professional development programs for early-childhood educators. Over the last two years, through another generous grant from PNC, we redesigned the Seeing Science Everywhere: Animals and Their Habitats training program and developed and tested a new two-part teacher professional development workshop, Science Up: Earth and Sky.

In fall 2021, Continuing Education Coordinator Lois Lamond presented Science Up: Earth and Sky workshops to 241 early childhood teachers from Wilmington Head Start and Children and Families First, representing all three counties in Delaware. The training incorporated new technology in the PNC Resource Center within the Nature Nook including a short-throw projector, wall-mounted webcam, microphone, and a new surround sound speaker system. The new equipment is also used for virtual programming and meetings, as well as in-person presentations in the Nature Nook.

Part of the grant included developing Earth and Sky activity kits for the schools and Head Start centers to use in their classrooms. Twenty-six kits were created for the Wilmington Head Start and Children and Families First classrooms, with additional kits available for loan to teachers who take the training workshops in the future. Both kits include books and hands-on tools, science experiments, and activities. A highlight of the Earth kit is a collection of Delaware rocks and minerals donated by the Delaware Mineralogical Society. DMS donated 19 sets of rocks for the kits.

In recognition of PNC’s support of the Museum’s education programs and metamorphosis into the Delaware Museum of Nature and Science, the Nature Nook will be renamed the PNC Grow Up Great Nature Nook.

Learn more about the PNC Grow Up Great program, including early learning resources, lesson plans, and more!