By Zachary Gotthardt
SC Staff Writer
This Friday and Saturday, October 24 and 25, the Schisler Museum of Wildlife and Natural History will be open to the general public. The museum has only been open to the public on a handful of occasions prior to this weekend.
The Schisler Museum of Wildlife and Natural History was opened last year, but only to a select few.
Up until this point, there was still a considerable amount of work to be done.
The Open House during Homecoming Weekend will be a milestone for one of ESU’s newest treasures.
According to the museum’s curator, Edward Mooney, the Schisler Museum of Wildlife and Natural History was created to “inspire wonder, exploration, understanding, and stewardship about the natural world.”
The museum contains a collection of over 100 taxidermy specimens from around the world.
ESU alumni Arthur and Fannie Schisler, who are “world-class big game hunters,” donated the collection.
The collection “represents 40 years of collecting on the part of the Schislers, and… was donated to ESU for the purpose of founding a wildlife and natural history museum.”
The museum has three target audiences, the primary being ESU faculty and staff as an educational resource.
According to the official mission statement of the museum, it will be “a regional destination and dynamic educational organization providing engaging, innovative, and memorable learning opportunities to diverse constituents.”
So far, it has achieved that goal. Many ESU classes have benefited greatly from the unique animals and displays.
The biology department in particular has taken advantage of the displays, but drawing classes have also benefited.
The museum displays five habitat recreations from around the world, showcasing an African exhibit, an Arctic exhibit, every species of deer in North America, and nearly every species of duck in North America.
These specimens were not available previously.
ESU students painted many of the exhibit’s backgrounds.
In addition, a number of students were responsible for identifying animals, cataloging specimens, installing the insect exhibit, and installing the African exhibit during the museum’s creation.
The museum has also proven useful as a teaching tool for elementary education majors as they learn the intricacies of grade-level science.
The local community is the second target audience of the museum.
This includes school groups, summer camps, local educators, day cares, churches, and other miscellaneous community groups.
The third and final group is represented by, as Mooney says, the “well over a million tourists that come to the region every year.”
The collection is world-class, and Mooney believes it will attract the attention of this large demographic.
Mooney encourages “anyone with an interest in the natural world and with an interest in wildlife” to attend.
Guests can expect to see everything from common creatures that can be found in the Delaware Water Gap to polar bears, exotic African mammals, and an expansive collection of insects from around the world.
The Schisler Museum of Wildlife and Natural History will be open during Homecoming Weekend between 7:00 PM and 9:00 PM on October 24, and 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM on October 25.
Tours on October 24 are only available by reservation, but tours will be given every half hour the next day.
There will be no charge this weekend for visitors. When the museum officially opens later this fall, tours will be given via reservation.
Admission will be $6 for adults and $4 for children and seniors. Special group rates of $5 for adults and $3 for children and seniors will be available. Admission for ESU students will be free indefinitely.
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