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Explorers!

Showing from January 27 - August 26, 2018 in the Main Exhibit Hall

In celebration of the 125th Anniversary of the Dayton Society of Natural History’s Collection, join us for an epic journey into the past! Venture to far-flung corners of Earth at this exhibition that charts a course through five geographic regions, ranging from Japan and Egypt to the Philippines, Ecuador, and the American Plains.

Explore the history and culture of these regions through a feature selection of artifacts and specimens, as well as through hands-on, interactive activities for visitors of all ages. Guests will: 

  • Enter a replica tomb and view an ancient mummy as well as other artifacts, learn about the iconic pyramids in Egypt, and build a pyramid model.
  • Wander beneath a replica Torri gate, run through a Japanese “bamboo” forest, and view beautiful textiles including kimonos.
  • Chart their way to the Philippines to learn about sailing and navigation techniques, try their hand at traditional basket-weaving, and more.
  • Explore the architecture and lifestyle of Ecuadorians, and view artifacts and specimens ranging from dolls and baskets to botanical beadwork.
  • Visit the American Plains, where they can discover the history and culture of Native American peoples through books and hands-on activities in a real tipi, examine artifacts, and discover the tactile difference between leather and rawhide.

Guests can stamp their passport in each area, and even trek to an area designed for our youngest explorers.

Why these countries? Thanks to five intrepid explorers whose adventures are still helping educate Museum visitors, the Society’s Collection features a strong selection of artifacts and specimens from these geographic areas. In honor of our 125th Anniversary, Explorers! was inspired by these generous donors who contributed significant artifacts and specimens to the Collection – many of which will be on view in the exhibition:

  • In 1922, J. Morton Howell became the first “Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary” to Egypt. Upon his retirement from this ambassadorial position, this Dayton native was gifted many artifacts from the Egyptian government, which he in turn entrusted to the DSNH.
  • Virginia Kettering traveled extensively in the mid-twentieth century, and was a strong supporter of the DSNH mission. She donated many objects from her sojourns, including items from Japan that are featured in the exhibition.
  • More than 200 artifacts from the American Plains were donated in 1926 by Katharine Talbott of Oakwood, after she received them from A. L. Corey, a healer and teacher of American Indian arts on the Western frontier during the turn of the century.
  • In 1904, Lt. Col. George I. Gunckel and his wife Romie were stationed in the Southern Philippines following the Spanish-American War. A dental surgeon for the military, Gunckel and his wife collected more than 260 cultural objects, many representing the Moro people. Romie donated the artifacts to the Society in 1946, after his death. 
  • Herbert Spencer Dickey participated in more than a dozen expeditions in Central and South America, including Ecuador, with one sponsored by the DSNH. One of Dr. Dickey’s most famous expeditions was his nine-month honeymoon with wife Elizabeth in 1925, when they were gifted a tsantsa (shrunken head) from the Orinoco people in South American.

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