Bell Museum shows interesting artifacts for holiday

by Seth Woehrle

Unicorn horns, killer pine cones and moths as big as your head will be featured at the Bell Museum this Saturday.
The museum is joining in Homecoming festivities for one day with an exhibit entitled “Oddities and Curiosities” featuring strange natural phenomenon.
“We’re pulling out things that people don’t usually get to see,” said Jennifer Menken, coordinator of the museum’s Touch and See Room. “Usually they’re tucked away in a scientific collection somewhere.”
The event will include artifacts such as an elephant skull once thought to be that of a Cyclops. Early African explorers brought back the skulls as proof the creature existed.
The museum will have exhibits available for the public to feel and examine, bringing artifacts out from behind glass for a hands-on experience.
There will be a live Galapagos tortoise on loan from the Como Zoo, pine cones so large and sharp they can kill and the famous “Three-Bodied Pig.”
Menken herself will be in charge of the “Big Nature Show,” a presentation on some world records of the natural world which, she promises, “will be done with flair.”
The exhibit will have a sideshow theme with museum employees in costume as circus barkers. Other employees will walk the parade route, telling spectators about the exhibit.
Menken said that the sideshow theme harks back to the origins of natural history museums.
“This is what natural history museums started as,” said Menken. “They were a collection of oddities and extremely rare or bizarre things.”
This is the first time that the Bell Museum has done an exhibit specifically for Homecoming. In the past, the museum has held a Halloween event and offered refreshments for Homecoming parade-goers.
Curiosities and Oddities combines the two events.
“We’ve never done this before. We used to do a Halloween program, and we stopped that about five years ago. Somebody came up with the idea, ‘Well, we’ve got all this weird stuff in the collection, let’s go look at it,'” said Menken.
The exhibit will take place on Saturday, Oct. 28 from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Bell Museum.

Seth Woehrle welcomes comments at [email protected]