Natural History! Space! Science and Technology! World Cultures!
Located inside the beautiful trails of Leila Arboretum, Kingman Museum is a hidden treasure in Southwest Michigan housing an extensive natural history collection and Digistar Planetarium. A local landmark in Battle Creek for over 80 years, Kingman Museum works to provide a universal place of hands-on learning for our community and a unique educational experience with every visit.
CURRENTLY ON DISPLAY:
Great Minds: Curiosity is now running through the end of May!
Kingman Museum’s exhibit “Great Minds: Curiosity,” open now through the end of May in the museum’s lower level exhibit area, showcases many strange and unusual collection items, each with a unique story to tell and scientific facts for visitors to learn.
“Cabinets of curiosities” were collections of interesting artifacts started by Renaissance nobles, merchants and clergy. Their collections included artwork, animal specimens, ethnic items, rocks and minerals or anything they wanted to use to impress their friends or learn more about. Many of the earliest cabinets of curiosities were entire rooms sometimes called “wonder rooms;” the word “cabinet” itself referred to a room before it referred to a piece of furniture. As time went on, owners of cabinets of curiosity became more scientifically-minded as their reach began to extend to the New World, doing more research on their items leading to new discoveries and debates in every field of science. In the Victorian Era, many of those cabinets of curiosities formed the nucleus of museum collections around the world.
Artifacts on exhibit include a type of volcanic glass resembling a clump of human hair called “Pele’s hair,” a preserved baby hammerhead shark, and a coconut mailed through the U.S. Postal Service from Indonesia in 1944 as well as many more. The exhibit also includes kids’ activities and arts and crafts, videos exploring other famous museum collections playing on our video wall and an interactive tour showcasing a real-life cabinet of curiosity.
Kingman Museum’s annual “Great Minds” series of exhibits focuses on the scientific minds behind discoveries that affect our daily lives. Past exhibits have included chemistry, inventions and patents and optical illusions. Last year’s exhibit, “Memories,” focused on how the brain stores memories, allowing all humans to have the potential for great minds. Being a cabinet of curiosities, “Curiosity” shows the affect ordinary collectors had on the world of science.
Visitors will also find new things at the museum outside the exhibit, including the new Tri-Light Box wall, a larger-than-life Lite Brite-like activity area with painted bottles in place of colored pegs, another new hands-on science area including plasma balls and a Euler’s disk and a new assortment of gift shop items including stuffed animals. The museum’s 16-foot Native American birch bark canoe, which previously hung from the ceiling, also recently returned to the museum after being stored off-site.
Kingman Museum is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, as well as a member of the Association of Science and Technology Centers and Michigan Museums Association.