The Scissortail Flycatcher

Debra attempted a very small scale replica of the wonderful Scissortail Flycatcher spotted at Sand Lake in late April.  You can gauge the scale against the Sharpie.  The state bird of Oklahoma, it was rare to see a scissortail flycatcher so far North.  We saw a solitary bird, but the bird books say they usually travel in “large, bickering flocks” when they migrate.  Perhaps this one just had enough of the bickering, already!  We are creating a habitat for it now.

ScissortailFlycatcher!  ScissortailFlycatcher2  ScissortailFlycatcher3

The Flycatcher has a remarkable long tail, and when it rises to fly, there is a flash of gorgeous bright orange-pink soft feathers under the wings..

22_Scissor-tail   Scissor-tailed_Flycatcher_RWD7

119-scissor-tailed-flycatcher-tyrannus-forficatus-c2a9texaseagle

Advertisements

Diorama Party in Progress….

Emily and Angie were able to work on the pond and layout for the large Serengeti diorama, where we are experimenting with the water pond effects (not yet shown) used by expert model railroad folks…

PuttingOaisisIntoSerengeti  Serengeti2
Apparently bouncing on Emily’s back helps Angie come up with brilliant design solutions!   Angie worked on some smaller dioramas of polar bears and the hedgehog family.

EmAngie1

Angie is also at work on a fabulous confrontation between a wild boar and an American badger, while Emily is creating a new design top-down diorama showing two lynx having a territorial stand off in tall grass.  Photos of the finished dioramas to come.

FloorAnimals

At one point, a meerkat had to be pried from the jaws of the hippo, but both have lived to tell the tale…

HippoEatingMeercat

We had a wonderful final walk on our secret path off of Clear Creek Trail, where the fallen log bridge is a highlight.  We will resume our diorama parties in the fall when Debra returns from California.

.ClearCreekTrail LogBridge1 LogBridge2

Xin wasn’t able to come that day as she was in the throes of final’s week, but she was there in calm and wonderful spirit.

Xin-1

With fun and warmest greetings from all the Diorama Divas of the Miniature Museum!

Emily&Angie

 

 

The Reverberations of Sophie Germain

We have created a miniature Chladni Device for our Museum, based on the historic one designed by Ernst Chladni (1756-1827), the German physicist and musician.

 ChladniDevice-Closeup   ChladniDevice4

Chladni found that by drawing a violin bow along a metal or glass plate covered with sand, that various regular patterns would emerge.   There is a fine replica of Chladni’s device at the Smithsonian Museum.  Ours is 1:12 scale, and uses a teeny tiny violin bow.

 Bowing_chladni_plate   ChladniDevice-Smithsonian

 The mathematical relationships of these fascinating patterns were taken up by the French mathematician Sophie Germain (1776-1831), shown below at age 14.  Germain was not allowed to attend classes at l’École Polytechnique because she was a woman, but she was able to obtain the lecture notes in advanced mathematics by using the pseudonym Monsieur Antone-August Le Blanc.  Her own mathematical discoveries, published under this name, gained the attention of other European mathematicians, most notably Carl Friedrich Gauss.

Sophie_age14

The patterns in sand emerge:

images

And are drawn and recorded:  they begin to form categories:

ChladniVIbrationChart

These can then be calculated for their geometric relationships:

chladni_calculated

 While our miniature Chladni Device is still being adjusted to try to make it actually work, we have taken great inspiration from Sophie Germain herself.  Sadly, she died at age 55 from breast cancer.  In her last years Germain was at work on a fascinating study of what she thought were the underlying metaphorical ideas that connect science, the humanities, and all of life.

The Miniature Herbarium

 

We collect the specimens on our nature walks with Mr. Dog, then press them in a very cool new kind of press that goes in the microwave.  It takes only 45 seconds instead of a month and the color of the specimens are more true.  The tiny specimens are then attached to artist trading cards with glue and very thin strips of vellum, then labeled as to who, where  and when we found the plants.  We will soon be working with botanist who can help us verify our findings.

These are the strips of vellum which are even tinier than the slides!

StrapsForHerbarium

And these are our most recent specimens, collected at Sand Lake, where we also saw an Amazing scissortail flycatcher–stay tuned, we’re making a diorama about that beautiful bird!

Herbarium-1 Herbarium-2 Herbarium-3 IMG_3930Herbarium-4 Herbarium-5 Herbarium-6 Herbarium-7 Herbarium-8 Herbarium-9 Herbarium LabelingTheHerbariumMiniatureHerbariumHerbarium-1 Herbarium-3 Herbarium-6 Herbarium-7

The Miniature Specimen Room

Tiny bookshelves with little books……..And a corridor in with bell jars awaiting their exhibits.

Bookshelves

Corridor_Specimens  GlassBellJars

Inside the Specimen Room, tiny cases of butterflies and chiffoniers of minerals and shells.

SpecimanRoom2A   SpecimanRoom1

And cabinets with doors holding mineral and shell specimens.

MiniatureNaturalHistoryMuseum-Minerals-3       MiniatureNaturalHistoryMuseum-Shells2

The tiniest specimen cabinets have itty bitty drawers smaller than a matchbook.

BothCabinets

The butterflies were carefully cut from photographs of real butterflies printed on vellum.

ButterflyCabinet-3      ButterflyDrawer-3

The Specimen cabinet of eggs, shells and minerals,

EggShellTrays      SMallThingsCabinetDrawers

each drawer is roughly the width of a quarter.  We made the eggs ourselves…and the shells are the smallest we could find.

EggsDrawer      ShellsDrawer

We have attempted to identify the minerals and rocks, and will confirm what they are with the help of a geologist.

LargerStonesDrawer      TineiestRocksDrawer

We have made the tiny nests on the tip of a chopstick.  The largest nest here is in the cap of an acorn, which resembles the nest construction of certain swallows.

BirdInBellJar       MiniatureNests

 

The Miniature Laboratory

There are tiny vials and jars, miniature instruments and test tubes, alembics and beakers.

MiniatureLaboratory-BottlesLadder   MiniatureLaboratoryBottlesBooks

And miniature microscopes and slides…

MiniatureLaboratory1  MiniatureLaboratory2

LabDesk

LabBench3

LabBench LabBench2

The miniature slides are made from actual slides of microbiological specimens, then reduced to the size of the moon on your fingernail and printed onto film and carefully cut out.  These are the slides before they have been reduced and trasnfered to film:

SlideImagesBeforeREductionOntoFilm

We have wondered why bacteria look so much like Cheetos, and the shapes of some viruses look like hard candies.  Science suggests things are not what they seem, so we have to look a bit harder to understand what it means…

Bacteria:

12668156-bacteria-and-bacterium-cells-floating-in-microscopic-space

Viruses:

virus_collage

Then tiny boxes made of balsa wood are made to hold the miniature slides.

MiniatureSlides

We fill the very tiny bottles and vials with substances that only look like the chemicals—trying hard to get the best color and texture according to our master chemistry chart.  We have raided the spice cupboard in doing so, and also made our own crystals from a kit.  Then we cut out very tiny labels and attach them to the bottles!

   GettingTheChemistryRight

LabelingTheMiniatureChemicals-

LabelingTheMiniatureChemicals-.2

Now they are ready to go into the tiny cabinets!

 

 

 

 

The First Dioramas

DeerSide OwlSquirrel2

Red Deer by D. L. Pughe        Squirrel and Owl by Angie Zirbes

PandaDiorama2 Tigers4

Panda by Xin Xu                          Tigers by Emily Buck

Wolves4WolvesDetail

Wolves by Angie Zirbes

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑