**This is an official release from the Museum of the Earth. Tompkins Weekly did not write this article.
Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany’s international broadcaster has listed the Museum of the Earth, in Ithaca, New York, as the second institution in their article on “Six museums to explore virtually during lockdown” ( https://www.dw.com/en/six-museums-to-explore-virtually-during-lockdown/a-53073411 ) between Paris’s Louvre and The British Museum based in London. Ithaca’s Museum of the Earth is a public educational venue of the Paleontological Research Institution (PRI), which is affiliated with Cornell University.
The Museum of the Earth combines natural history displays, interactive science features and art exhibitions to encourage "critical thinking about life on Earth in the past and today, and how our species is affecting the natural world." The museum's permanent exhibition takes visitors on a journey through 4.5 billion years of the Earth's history.
Since the coronavirus had limited the access to their current special exhibit, "Bees! Diversity, Evolution, Conservation"—which had been scheduled to run through the end of the summer—staff members worked quickly to make a virtual version of the exhibit available for viewing anywhere in the world. This online version of the exhibit takes one through the fascinating world of bees and reveals amazing facts and new insights into the over 20,000 species of bees which are vital to the cultivation of the food we eat. The online version of the exhibit includes amazing macro photography, videos, and illustrations of bee anatomy and behavior. Virtual visitors can get a closeup look at 100 million-year-old ancestors of bees preserved in amber and see videos of bee scientists at work. The virtual exhibit is available at https://museumoftheearth.org/bees .
Since before the beginning of government-imposed shutdowns, PRI had been working on a number of efforts to expand its reach through online offerings. They have now consolidated many of these offerings in a new “Learn & Teach @ Home” section of their website (https://priweb.org/learnathome) that includes a number of great resources for Earth, life, and climate science education. The resources include their Digital Encyclopedia of Ancient Life and 3D fossil images that you can look at close up and rotate fully. They also have posted their Teacher-Friendly Guides to Earth and Climate Sciences available as free downloads, have new coloring pages and workbooks for children, and are continuing to rapidly expand their You Tube video offerings on a number of topics.
PRI has also just announced that one of the premier exhibits on permanent display in their Cayuga Nature Center public venue: “Cayuga Lake: Past & Present”, is also now available online at: https://www.cayuganaturecenter.org/cayuga-lake-welcome . The exhibit goes into detail on the biosystem of Upstate New York’s second largest Finger Lake, Cayuga Lake, and how the lake has evolved over time—including the influence of humans on the ecology of the lake and the region. Included in the exhibit are explanations of the chemistry, water quality, and species diversity in the lake, along with descriptions of many of the major native and introduced species that live in the lake today.
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