New discount programs for guests using EBT cards

We’ve joined Museums for All, a signature access program of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), administered by the Association of Children’s Museums (ACM), to encourage people of all backgrounds to visit museums regularly and build lifelong museum-going habits. The program supports those receiving food assistance (SNAP) benefits visiting the museum for a minimal fee of $2 per person, up to four people, with the presentation of a SNAP Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card. Similar free and reduced admission is available to eligible members of the public at more than 850 museums across the country.

Museums for All helps expand access to museums and also raise public awareness about how museums in the U.S. are reaching their entire communities. More than 850 institutions participate in the initiative, including art museums, children’s museums, science centers, botanical gardens, zoos, history museums, and more. Participating museums are located nationwide, representing all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. Virgin Islands.

We’re also a member of Art Reach’s ACCESS Delaware. The programs are similar, but with some geographic differences: ACCESS is primarily for residents of Delaware and Pennsylvania, while Museums for All is for residents of all 50 states. Additionally, ACCESS offers the Art-Reach ACCESS Card. Individuals with disabilities can purchase an ACCESS Card directly from Art-Reach that allows them to receive $2 admission to over 70 museums, gardens, theaters and cultural sites throughout Greater Philadelphia.

To use Museums for All

Upon the display of an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card, the individual and up to three additional people will get a discounted admission rate of $2 per person. The person whose name appears on the EBT card must be present to obtain the discount.

To use ACCESS

Bring a valid Art-Reach ACCESS Card, Pennsylvania ACCESS Card or Delaware EBT Card with a photo ID to the front desk. One (1) EBT or ACCESS Card admits the cardholder and up to three additional people at a rate of $2 per person. The person whose name appears on the EBT or ACCESS Card must be present to obtain the discount.

New species discovered using museum’s online collection data

Introducing Bourciera ovata

In the summer of 2020 — the first year of the pandemic — a team of European scientists began compiling a checklist of known terrestrial and fresh water mollusks of mainland Ecuador. The effort included occurrences recorded in past scientific reports or literature, museum datasets available online, and verified observations from citizen science projects like iNaturalist.

In reviewing our records, one of the scientists, Marijn Roosen of the Natural History Museum of Rotterdam, noticed some unusual records of a unique land snail in the Andes Mountains. Marijn requested more information about the snails and photographs to confirm their identifications. It turned out that some of the specimens from Puyo, Ecuador represented species previously unknown to researchers, including the newly-named Bourciera ovata.

With high resolution photographs of different aspects of the snail’s shell, Marijn was able to describe it as a new species, demonstrating a greater diversity of Ecuadorian land snails and the importance of having museum collection data accessible, as surely there are many more new species to be discovered. The research was published in September in the journal Folia Malacologica.

DMNH 151926, formerly thought to be Bourciera fraseri, is now the type specimen for the newly-discovered species Bourciera ovata. A type specimen is the specific specimen on which a new species is based. The museum’s mollusk collection already included around 1,200 type specimens. Photos by Alex Kittle.

Roosen, M. and Dorado, C. Revision of the genus Bourciera Pfeiffer, 1852 (Gastropoda: Helicinidae), with the description of six new species from Ecuador and Peru. Folia Malacologica, 30(3), 155–167. https://doi.org/10.12657/folmal.030.018

Taxonomy changes reflected in new specimen organization

The introduction of Bourciera ovata is just one example of how what scientists know about species and their taxonomy continues to develop. While working from home during the pandemic in 2020, Collections Manager Alex Kittle began reorganizing the mollusk collection based on updated information and species names, and later moved the actual specimens to reflect these changes. Information about our entire mollusk collection is now publicly available on the Symbiota portal, InvertEBase. Our collection profile shows 233,603 records are available online, representing 500 families and 15,658 species; 32% are georeferenced to specific locations.

Collection Manager of Mollusks Alex Kittle in the DelMNS scientific collections.

MOTUS detects Lesser Yellowlegs

A bird species that migrates through our area — a Lesser Yellowlegs (Tringa flavipes) — was detected by the Motus Wildlife Tracking System (MOTUS) tower on the museum’s roof, installed by University of Delaware scientists in early 2021 to track movement of Purple Martins (Progne subis).

Lesser Yellowlegs © U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region

MOTUS is an international collaborative research network dedicated to tracking the migration of small birds, made possible by radio telemetry towers, which read the transmitter tags carried by birds that fly within about 15 km of the tower. Since our tower was installed, it has logged more than 3,200 readings.

The MOTUS tower was installed in early 2021.

The vast majority of detections are of banded Purple Martins, with some individual birds detected many times. The tower has also detected a few American Kestrels (Falco sparverius).

The tower detected the Lesser Yellowlegs on July 13, 2022. According to Dr. Nicholas Bayly, it had been banded in late April near Cali, Colombia, by researchers associated with Audubon Colombia and Asociación Selva, a non-profit organization supporting research and conservation in the Neotropics (selva.org.co).

After it was banded, the bird flew north and was detected by three towers in Missouri, and one in Michigan, before heading to our area. Five other MOTUS towers in our region also detected the bird, including Longwood Gardens. Dr. Matthew Halley, the museum’s Interim Curator of Birds, says the detection highlights the value of projects like the MOTUS program, which enable scientists all over the world to collaborate on migratory research.

This map shows the flight path of the Lesser Yellowlegs detected near DelMNS.

Map data © 2022 Google, INEGI Imagery © 2022 NASA

Wild and Scenic Film Festival

The Wild & Scenic Film Festival comes to the museum with three special programs developed for students as part of Plastic Free Delaware’s initiative to bring the films to schools in the Mid-Atlantic region. Each weekend is designed for a different age group – but all are welcome – and includes approximately one hour of short featured films along with themed activities.

Join us September 9-11, October 14-16, and November 11-13. Details are below for upcoming weekends!

The Wild and Scenic Film Festival on Tour has been curating and touring inspiring film festivals across the country since 2003, but Plastic Free Delaware is the first to bring their new grade-centered film programs to schools on the east coast. We’re delighted to host the program this year.

Show times:

5 p.m. Friday as part of Flex Hour Fridays, 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

Free with general admission or with DelMNS or Winterthur memberships. Pre-registration is preferred for the Wild & Scenic Film Festival, regular museum admission may be purchased in advance or at the door.



October 14-16: Becoming an Activist and Activism through Art  

Geared to grades 9-12 
Featured films include:

An Alaskan Fight

Sometimes conservation can feel like an ultramarathon. In this short biopic, runner and wild fish advocate Sam Snyder fights for Bristol Bay, Alaska over the course of a decade and learns the meaning of home and place in the process.

Hidden Wild

Join science educator Alex Freeze as she takes three South Florida students on an expedition to discover the wilderness hidden in their own backyards.


November 11-13: Monarch Migration

Geared to grades 5-8
Featured films include:

Protecting the Monarch Butterfly

Monarch butterflies have one of the longest migrations of any insects, so they depend on critical habitats for their survival during their long journey. Organizations like the Pollinator Conservation Association are committed to protecting and restoring habitat to help save this iconic species.

If You Give a Beach a Bottle

Inspired by a picture book, Max Romey heads to a remote beach on Alaska’s coastline in search of marine debris. What he finds is a different story altogether.


The Wild & Scenic Film Festival School Program is partially funded by a grant from Delaware Humanities, a Delaware state program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The screening of the Wild and Scenic Film Festival at the Delaware Museum of Nature and Science is supported, in part, by a grant from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts. The Division promotes Delaware arts events on www.DelawareScene.com.


Our sponsors include:


The Wild & Scenic Film Festival was started by the watershed advocacy group, the South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL) in 2003. The festival’s namesake is in celebration of SYRCL’s landmark victory to receive “Wild & Scenic” status for 39 miles of the South Yuba River in 1999. The 5-day event features over 150 award-winning films and welcomes over 100 guest speakers, celebrities, and activists who bring a human face to the environmental movement. The home festival kicks-off the international tour to communities around the globe, allowing SYRCL to share their success as an environmental group with other organizations. The festival is building a network of grassroots organizations connected by a common goal of using film to inspire activism. With the support of National Partners: Peak Design, Hipcamp, EarthJustice, Miir and Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, the festival can reach an even larger audience.

Thanks to Thursday’s storytime sponsor

Join us for storytime

We offer storytime every day, 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.

Starting Monday, November 28, Storytime is at 10:30 a.m. instead of 11 a.m.


“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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© 2022 FMR LLC. All rights reserved.

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.