4 thoughts on “Images from the Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum (2016)

  1. I know you’ve been back several times. So I always appreciate these updates. How has it grown and changed over the years?

  2. Hi Kim, I remember well our visit in March of 1994. I next went back in 2009 for a quick visit. I mostly remembered the Hummingbird aviary and I went to that immediately. And then in 2015 and 2016 I visited several times each year. My sense is one of slow and gradual change with deep respect for the desert and the life in it. The Desert Museum is clean, modern and up to date and has a vibrant energy about it. Next winter we go to San Diego and I will miss my visits to the Desert Museum.

    Here is a history of the 90’s and 2000’s:

    During the 1990’s a number of important renovation and infrastructure projects were completed, including a major expansion and landscaping of the public and staff parking lots, reconfiguration of the Museum’s front entry patio, construction of new restaurant and special events complex, and extensive path and utility line work. Important new habitat exhibits were also completed including the Mountain Habitat, the Grassland, and the Hummingbird Aviary. In the Hummingbird Aviary visitors can see up to eight species of hummingbirds and these animals regularly bring off clutches in the enclosure. For its successful work on hummingbird propagation, the Museum received an AZA “Significant Achievement Award” in 1998. There were also several exhibits on the new Desert Loop Trail. The Javelina and Coyote exhibits showcase a low-visibility, fencing developed by Museum staff. In addition, the ever-popular Ancient Arizona exhibit opened in 2000, and gives children the opportunity to dig for life-like fossils. In 2001, the Desert Museum launched the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum Art Institute (School of Natural History Art), which fosters conservation through the arts. The Art Institute offers a variety of different programs, including youth art classes, workshops, and a nature illustration certificate program. In 2007 our newest exhibit “Life on the Rocks” was opened as well as two critically needed buildings, the Baldwin Education Building and a 300-seat indoor facility, the Warden Oasis Theater. These two new visitor areas provide our guests climate-controlled environments for lectures, animal presentations and formal classes as well as catering and rental spaces for symposia, conservation related meetings and social gatherings. In 2008 the Museum collaborated with Forever Young Treehouses of Burlington, Vermont and constructed the first fully accessible treehouse/discovery nature center in Arizona. Corporate support and personal gifts made the “Coati Kids Clubhouse” possible.

    Years ago, the Museum developed a television series that has become known as “Desert Speaks” and was produced in cooperation with the local PBS affiliate (KUAT) and broadcast in 200 markets. Robert Edison, the Museum’s Executive Administrative Director served as co-producer.

    The Desert Museum is now over 50 years old and the commitment to the founding ideals is as strong as ever. The spirit of innovation and excellence of Carr, Pack, Woodin, and Larson live on with ever-improved exhibitry. This has been most recently evidenced by the creation of the “Desert Loop Trail,” a half-mile long loop through natural desert along which are large enclosures, made of Invisinet® developed by former Museum Director of Design, Ken Stockton, for animals such as javelina and coyote. This fine stainless steel netting is nearly invisible to visitors providing a greatly heightened sense of seeing animals in natural conditions and is now on the market available to other institutions. In 1998, the AZA presented the Museum a “Significant Achievement Award” for the Javelina Exhibit.

    • Wonderful update; many thanks. The hummingbirds were spectacular 22 years ago–and still! I’m glad to know they continue to thrive. I’m intrigued by the art component as that is fully in the spirit of what we (you and I as well as our broader cohort) were there for. Bringing in somewhat larger animals–coyote (whom I bet they are de-“varmint”-izing) and javelina–is a nice innovation too. I’m glad you’ve been able to go back over the years.

      You seem to be well–satisfied enough to enjoy your worthy accomplishments; dissatisfied enough to keep striving. Isn’t that what it’s all about?

      Take care, friend.

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