Starting on Saturday, Sept. 24, families are invited to come to the Witte Museum to explore different regions of the Earth in the “Natural Geographic Presents Earth Explorers” exhibit. Museum guests will get a tour of what biologists, naturalists, and other researchers see on a daily basis through augmented reality exhibits.

Kids can learn as close to first-hand as it gets what it takes to explore six different environments, from ice caves in Mexico, to the Amazon Rainforest, the African savannas, vast oceans, and more. Every exhibit includes a “gear list” that tells the viewer what equipment they need for each exploration.

In a Thursday media preview, Witte Museum President and CEO Marise McDermott said that the exhibit is interactive, educational, and fits in with the core values of the Witte Museum.

Witte Museum President and CEO Marise McDermott welcomes media to the new 'Earth Explorers' exhibit. Photo by Kathryn Boyd-Batstone.
Witte Museum President and CEO Marise McDermott welcomes media to the new ‘Earth Explorers’ exhibit. Photo by Kathryn Boyd-Batstone.

“Every fall, we really push hard to get an exhibit that takes into account all of the (requirements) of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (standards),” McDermott said. “And this exhibit hits on a million of them.”

Every part of the exhibit is interactive, allowing kids and adults alike to identify different animal’s migration patterns, activate a hot air balloon, join biologists on their explorations of Africa, and venture into a submersible watercraft to go deep sea diving.

Helen Holdsworth, curator the the Texas Wild exhibit, told the Rivard Report that Earth Explorers is for people of all ages to experience parts of the world the average person may never get to experience live.

An enclosed area takes you in a video on a trip to the deep ocean waters. Photo by Kathryn Boyd-Batstone.
An enclosed area takes you in a video on a trip to the deep ocean waters. Photo by Kathryn Boyd-Batstone.

“I really think adults are going to get a great experience as well because there’s a lot of information in (the exhibit) that most people don’t know,” Holdsworth said. “It’s fascinating and awe-inspiring to look at some of these videos.”

After the preview, McDermott further elaborated on why the exhibit was a perfect fit for the Witte.

A model of a great white shark. Photo by Kathryn Boyd-Batstone.
A model of a great white shark. Photo by Kathryn Boyd-Batstone.

“The Witte is a natural history museum, and here we are among natural history,” she told the Rivard Report. “The Witte likes to do ‘everything Texas and so much more.’ This exhibit is so much more. To be able to share the different exotic regions of the Earth with the families of San Antonio is something that’s really important to us.”

McDermott hopes that this will inspire schoolchildren to take an interest in the sciences and turn that interest into careers. But that’s not the only value the exhibit has, she said.

“Sometimes, as adults, we forget that there are places that are still being explored,” she added. “We are life-long learners at the Witte Museum.”

The exhibit comes at the tail end of a three-year journey of museums around the country. It will be open until from Sept. 24 until Jan. 22. The $100 million “New Witte” building will be opening soon after on March 4, 2017.

The exhibit is $4 for members and $5 for non-members with general admission.

https://rivardreport.wildapricot.org

 Top Image:The exhibit features the findings of scientists who have explored New Guinea.  Photo by Kathryn Boyd-Batstone.

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James McCandless

Former intern James McCandless is a recent St. Mary's University graduate. He has worked with the San Antonio Current and Texas Public Radio.