Discover what puts the “fire” in fireflies when the NC Museum of Natural Sciences in downtown Raleigh opens GLOW: Living Lights, a new special exhibit on display from June 19 through September 12, 2010. Don’t miss the first-ever museum exhibition to explore the phenomenon of bioluminescence — an organism’s ability to produce its own light.
Visitors to GLOW start their journey by investigating the chemical process that produces “cool” light. They then explore the world of light-producing terrestrial organisms like fireflies, glow worms and foxfire fungus before traveling on to the mid-ocean, where an estimated 90 percent of the animals produce light. Here visitors encounter alien-looking creatures like viper fish, which dangle a light lure to attract their next meal, and cookie cutter sharks, which earned their name from the cookie-size chunks of flesh they take out of unsuspecting prey in the dark. Visitors continue on to demonstrations of the interesting techniques and equipment used by scientists to study bioluminescence, and then explore the many benefits of this research — from helping to speed the study of cancer-fighting drugs to the detection of anthrax spores in public places.
TICKETS — Exhibit hours are Monday–Saturday 10am to 5pm and Sunday noon-5pm with last tickets sold at 4pm daily. Admission is $7 for adults; $5 for students and seniors; $4 for children ages 5-11. Members and children age 4 and under are free. Purchase tickets online at www.naturalsciences.org. You can also visit the Museum Box Office or call 919-733-7450 x212.
CURATORS — Dr. Edith Widder of the Ocean Research and Conservation Association (ORCA) is an author on the subject and has been featured in a number of television and film projects, including specials on the Discovery Channel, National Geographic and PBS. Dr. James Case is a leading expert on fireflies and a research professor at the Marine Science Institute at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and is widely regarded as the “grandfather” of bioluminescence research. Joining Drs. Case and Widder as a curatorial consultant is Dr. Steven Haddock of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. GLOW is produced by Exhibit IQ and sponsored by Colvard Farms and UNC-TV.
ILLUSTRATION CONTEST — To help celebrate this unique exhibit, as well as our most popular annual event, the Museum announces the inaugural BugFest Illustration Contest. BugFest, the largest bug-centric event in the country, is held Saturday, September 11 from 9am to 7pm, and this year features aquatic bugs. We invite you to illustrate your best and most realistic version of a bioluminescent or aquatic bug in its natural surroundings. All entrants receive one free children’s admission to GLOW (value = $5). Illustrations will be accepted through August 15, 2010. Winning entries will be displayed at BugFest on September 11, with the Grand Prize winner selected on-site by event attendees.
For more information, including contest rules and entry forms, visit us online at www.naturalsciences.org or stop by the Museum Store.