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  6. Science by Night! Canadian Museum of Nature comes alive at night on May 21

Science by Night! Canadian Museum of Nature comes alive at night on May 21

Ottawa, May 14, 2015—Where can you explore, discover, listen to and laugh with scientists, and ultimately unleash your inner nerd? The answer is at the Canadian Museum of Nature’s first-ever Science by Night event taking place May 21, from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

There will be plenty to experience at this free event. Test your dino knowledge with a Jurassic Park “fact or fiction” game show. Learn what it takes to de-grease a blue whale. Hear about a rare species in the Ottawa River. Catch a behind-the-scenes tour of the museum’s historic mammal dioramas. Bring minerals for identification. Reflect on the impacts of bird-building collisions through a dramatic display. These are just some of the events planned as all four floors of the museum will come alive with fun, informative activities and interactions with museum experts.

“Science by Night is an opportunity for us to share our stories, excitement and successes about the things we do at the Museum that the public might not know about,” says adult programming coordinator, Cynthia Iburg. “It’s an invitation to meet our museum family and enjoy a cocktail while hearing anecdotes from some of our researchers about their fieldwork and other projects.”

The concept is inspired by a program that Britain’s Natural History Museum has been doing for five years; an initiative to change the perception of science and research in the eyes of the general public. It’s meant to demonstrate that researchers are real people doing interesting, relevant things.

The evening is targeted to adults, and the programming differs significantly from the Museum’s popular Nature Nocturne experience, the monthly party featuring DJs, dancing, and creative (often seasonal) themes.

Visitors can look forward to a roster of activities:

  • Palaeontologist Dr. Jordan Mallon will lead a Jurassic Park “fact or fiction” game show where contestants will learn what Hollywood got right (and wrong).
  • Mineralogist Dr. Paula Piilonen will identify rocks and minerals brought in by the public at the museum’s Trading Post.
  • Technician Alan McDonald will share stories of the monster endeavour that was required to de-grease and install the museum’s blue whale in 2010, one of only two on display in Canada. 
  • Fish expert Noel Alfonso will show jars of specimens from the Museum’s collections and talk about how X-rays contribute brilliantly to the classification of fish.
  • Representatives from the not-for-profit FLAP (Fatal Light Awareness Program) will reveal a dramatic display of bird specimens in the Queens’ Lantern to illustrate the impacts of bird collisions with buildings.
  • Conservation tours at 6 pm and 9 pm of the museum’s historic mammal dioramas, with a rare chance to peek behind the huge fibreglass shells of these unique pieces of art.
  • At 7:30 p.m., mussel expert Dr. Andre Martel and his dive team will reveal the story of the rare hickorynut mussel in the Ottawa River and concerns about the zebra mussel.
  • In the Lab, visitors can participate in an owl pellet dissection as a pilot for a summer workshop that starts June 27.
  • Relax at our botany Arctic field camp and hear “campfire” stories about fieldwork.
  • Curious minds can test their knowledge with the poison ivy ID game, learn to become a “citizen scientist” in the search for an invasive lichen, delve into the hidden world of parasites, and get a sneak view of a soon-to-published authoritative book on Arctic fish.

Admission is free (regular surcharge applies to the special exhibition, BODY WORLDS: Animal Inside Out). Food and drinks will be on sale, so visitors can enjoy a nice, long evening out—and discover the why’s, how’s and who’s of cool science.

The Canadian Museum of Nature is located at 240 McLeod St, Ottawa. Follow the museum on Twitter, on Instagram (museumofnature), and like the museum on Facebook. For general information, visit nature.ca or phone 613-566-4700.

Media contact

Laura Sutin
Media Relations
Canadian Museum of Nature


Dan Smythe
Media Relations
Canadian Museum of Nature