San Diego Natural History Museum. Photo by Vince Smith via Flickr
San Diego Natural History Museum. Photo by Vince Smith via Flickr

The San Diego Natural History Museum announced Thursday it will unveil a new, permanent exhibition titled “Extraordinary Ideas from Ordinary People: A History of Citizen Science in the new Eleanor and Jerome Navarra Special Collections Gallery” on Aug. 20.

The exhibition features rare books, art, photographs, and historical documents from the Research Library’s 56,000-volume collection that will help pay homage to the past, present, and future of citizen science. These items will be displayed alongside plant and animal specimens and brought to life through multimedia interactives and touchable models.

“After decades of working with the library’s treasures behind closed doors, it’s a great honor to be able to share these historic artifacts with the public,” said Margaret Dykens, director of the Research Library at the San Diego Natural History Museum. “The objects on display convey the impact citizen science has had not only on our organization, but the world at large. I think visitors will be impressed by how well some of these rare books have been preserved—some of them date back to the 1500s and are in great condition.”

To protect the integrity of the featured objects, each gallery will be climate- and light-controlled. Additionally, in an effort to keep the exhibition fresh and preserve the pieces on display, the pages of the rare books will be turned and artworks will be rotated periodically, making it a new experience each time visitors come to enjoy the space.

Visitors will encounter many other impressive exhibition highlights, including:

An extremely rare copy of the gigantic Double Elephant Folio of John James Audubon’s Birds of America. The folio, one of only a few copies in existence, depicts life-size renditions of a wide variety of North America’s birds.

Gorgeous, oversized murals featuring illustrations from rare books, including a Reddish Egret from the aforementioned Birds of America as well as a stunning mural from Historia Naturalis Ranarum, a book from 1758 about the natural history of frogs.

Exhibits on naturalists—both past and present—featuring rare books alongside specimens from the Museum’s research collections, touchable objects, and multimedia experiences that allow deeper access to the works on display.

For more information, go to theNAT’s website .

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