(AP Photo/Andres Leighton)

It’s Not Nice To Fool With Nature Unleashed

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to stand inside a roaring tornado or how an underwater earthquake can trigger a deadly tsunami?

The Museum of Science & History’s newest traveling exhibit, Nature Unleashed: Inside Natural Disasters, explores natural disasters through stunning displays, state-of-the-art animations, poignant, large-scale images and cultural artifacts that reveal the dynamic relationship we have with the Earth. The exhibit is on display through Jan 10, 2016.

This month, MOSH is partnering with Visit Jacksonville to offer the Kids Free November program, providing free admission for children ages 3 – 12 at participating cultural locations. “It’s a really wonderful opportunity that we are proud to be a part of to create access for the community to visit the Museum” says marketing manager Melissa Beaudry. Up to five children will be admitted with one general admission adult ticket. Guest can explore the Museum and its daily programming including the Nature Unleashed exhibit.

Nature Unleashed is an interactive exhibit focused on four types of disasters – earthquakes, volcanoes, hurricanes and tornadoes. These phenomena are the spectacular results of the forces that drive our changing planet. From Pompeii to Papua New Guinea to New Orleans to Greenburg, Kansas, Nature Unleashed examines the science behind the history and the headlines.

“ We are always so intrigued by the weather that happens around us,” she says. “This exhibit is a great example of natural disasters that have happened throughout history, their impact on communities and the science behind it.”

The exhibition illustrates how much we know – and how much we are still learning – about nature’s terrifying power. Build and erupt a virtual volcano, simulate tsunami and observe the formation of a hurricane as winds and warm temperatures combine. Witness the devastating strength of an EF-5 tornado and get a satellite view of the eye of a hurricane as seen from space.

Examine rock and lava specimens that help explain past geologic events, discover how people adapt to living at risk and learn the inspiring stories of real disaster survivors. Beaudry says the exhibit contains cultural artifacts to demonstrate the strength and power of Mother Nature. “It shows us what happens in a community when those natural disasters hit,” she says. “You can really get the feel of a hurricane simulation and a tornado and those hands-on components that MOSH is developing in conjunction with the traveling exhibit.”

This exhibition and its national tour were developed by The Field Museum in Chicago. “It’s great when institutions like The Field Museum curate an exhibit and then make it a traveling exhibit so that communities around the country can benefit from it,” says Beaudry.

The exhibition stresses that storms, volcanoes, and other forces of natures are completely natural phenomena. Whether they’re disasters or not depends on the choices we make,a powerful message for visitors and residents of Florida where hurricanes are a regular weather threat. The Earth sustains us, protects us, and makes life possible; but it also humbles us with its dramatic power. Nature Unleashed examines how we can prepare for, and in some cases minimize, the impact of nature’s fury by creating more resilient communities.

MOSH will be hosting a panel discussion titled Nature Unleashed in Northeast Florida: Our Changing Climate on December 17th with area experts discussing the impacts of climate change on Northeast Florida and how we can build more resilient communities. MOSH daily programming will include Dynamic Earth and Force 5 showing in the Bryan-Gooding Planetarium where guest will experience what happens when nature’s fury is unleashed by riding along swirling hurricanes and diving into an erupting underwater volcano. The Museum of Science & History 396-MOSH, www.themosh.org.

About Liza Mitchell