Miniature Butterfly Dioramas and Pressed Plants

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Alexa and Sophia Francis (ages 4 and 6) came to the Miniature Museum of Natural History and made some butterfly dioramas using artificial butterflies and flowers.  We learned about which flowers attract butterflies most, especially milkweed.  We put the flowers and butterflies (made from feathers) in glass and plastic domes, using moss and pebbles, shells and tiny pine cones we collected.

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Here are the proud artist scientists!

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Then we took a nature walk and collected tiny specimens in the wild.  We pressed them in our microwave plant press, that takes only 45 seconds to press flowers and plants.

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Then we mounted them to small cards and put them inside mylar sleeves to protect them.

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Alexa and Sophia’s little brother Jude who is nearly 2 years old is a budding artist scientist too!

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Experiments and Ringbox Dioramas at The Iowa Imagination Station

A selection of exhibits from The Miniature Museum of Natural History and a portion of our miniature Laboratory went to the Iowa Imagination Station over Spring Break.

Here’s Angie conducting miniature acidity and alkaline experiments with the tiny test tubes.

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And here’s Ethan assisting her on the first day.

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all to a fascinated audience of younger kids and mature older ones.

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We also looked at the miniature slides with various magnifying devices and miniature microscopes.

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Then a group of talented diorama artists made miniature scenes in velvet ring boxes, using HO scale animals and assorted bits of nature modified for tiny effects.

RingboxDeerHere’s Angie helping a young artist..

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And Lizzie Ayers-Arnone and her friend made their own very creative dioramas.

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And Emily, Angie and Ethan also made some demonstration dioramas.

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A whole world of miniature natural environments!

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And Mr. Dog was also in the house, guarding the Miniature Museum and being friendly to all the kids who love dogs.

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The Miniature Museum of Natural History and Laboratory are open for private viewings in our regular location at the Summit St. Studio by contacting us via the comments section on this website or by Facebook.

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Tiny Experiments in the Miniature Laboratory

IMG_0841Five girls came to visit the Miniature Museum and Laboratory Today – Nora, Alice, Willa, May and Stella with Moms, Katie Roche and Kelly Smith, who also brought Iris, Willa’s little sister.  We did some walking around the miniature Museum with tiny shoes on little fingers.

Then we proceeded to the Laboratory and decided to do the Color Organ Experiment – to show the different acidity or alkaline properties of liquids.

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We put on SAFETY GLOVES and GOGGLES to be extra safe!

Then we set up the Test Tubes with various liquids:

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TesttubeC  TesttubeD  TesttubeE

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Drops of Anthocyanin was added to the large test tubes first!

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The girls added Anthocyanin to each set of 5 test tubes, the full size, mini size, and micro mini size.  All the results came out the same, with a spectrum from red to light greenish yellow!

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Then we looked at the miniature slides with the magnifier:

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Then we tried to see if blue vinegar and yellow dyed baking soda would make green foam.  It did!  We did it with the miniature glass beaker

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Then everyone had a try over the sink:

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Happy Saint Patrick’s Day, BTW!

The girls also made some miniature dioramas…

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The miniature Laboratory set is closing down for the night—we hope to see you all on Thursday and Friday of this week at The Iowa Imagination Station from 10 to 12 am!

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The Miniature Museum will go to the Imagination Station

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On March 19th and 20th, during Spring Break Week, the Miniature Museum of Natural History and Laboratory will be going to the Imagination Station in North Liberty at the Gymnastics Center, 455 Herky Avenue.  We’ll be there between 10 am and 12 noon both days to talk about the project.

We will be bringing an assortment of the fabulous dioramas

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We will have the miniature laboratory case with miniature slides and microscope.

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We will have the miniature bird and butterfly cases with the miniature specimen cabinets.

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We make the miniature butterflies and moths by miniaturizing them then printing on vellum paper, carefully cutting them out and slightly bending their wings.  The miniature nests we make on the tips of chopsticks, winding the fleece with bits of hair and grass and glue.

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We repurposed miniature furniture and make compartments for specimen cabinets, then collect the tiniest pebbles, gemstones, shells and we make miniature eggs ourselves, painting in the spots when required.

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And of course the rocks and minerals case, along with

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the miniature herbarium where we carefully press plants and mount them on cards with strips of vellum and have a small library of natural history books we’ve made by miniaturizing big ones.

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We will have some presentations on these days between 10 am and 12 noon for those who can attend.  And our special museum guard, Mr. Dog, will also be in attendance to offer pet therapy.

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We hope to see you there!

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Stella’s Miniature Laboratory

Our Eastern Seaboard Representative of the Miniature Museum of Natural History is Stella Schultz, who lives near Boston.

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Stella developed an interest in science very early in life, in love with so many aspects of nature.  Always a dedicated scholar of whatever she finds interesting (she studied Chinese for several years!) she began a botany experiment logbook and got a high powered microscope to look at the things she collected in the wild.

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She began her own miniature laboratory with things she built and collected and with some tiny glass test tubes and other micro things sent to her by the Miniature Museum group.  Here are some photographs of her laboratory arrangements.

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StellasScalesStella uses her life size microscope to undertake various scientific studies and she records her findings in drawings and descriptive data in her Laboratory Notebook.  Here is her analysis of a Tilia Stem

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And her close looking at a feather

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  (Photographs by Allen Spore, Rob Clocker, Anne-Catrin Schultz and Stella Schultz)

We encourage all who are interested in the miniature museum to send us their pictures and tell us about the things you love to study in the natural world!

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