News Column

Carlsbad Museum unveils new bat exhibit

May 14, 2014

By Martha Mauritson, Carlsbad Current-Argus, N.M.

May 14--CARLSBAD -- The new show at Carlsbad Museum and Arts Center is full of information -- mostly biology and environmental science -- about a little-understood creature known as the bat.

And while some may be put off by the prospect of a science lesson, the exhibit has display after display that is nothing but fun for visitors of all ages.

"Masters of the Night: The story of bats," reads the sign at the door to the museum's large gallery.

Museum director Dave Morgan said the exhibit had been lined up since before he came to Carlsbad last year.

"It's this museum's effort to bring in something new and fresh," he said. "We are also trying to concentrate on science."

The three daughters of Daniel and Mattie Campbell visited the museum with their mother Tuesday morning to give the youngsters' point of view about the show.

Twins Emily and Maranda, age 8, read the info and pressed the buttons on just about every one of the interactive displays; 3-year-old Kassidy watched intently everything her sisters did, and made her own rubbing of a bat picture at an activity table that was just her height.

The girls heard the difference in echos that were produced by caves of different sizes; they saw video clips about how and where bats gather food; at the push of a button, lights on a world map showed the habitats of the vampire bat (not in the United States, Emily pointed out) and a half dozen other bats.

Maranda stepped between a pair of giant bat ears and pulled the earpieces close to her own ears so she could hear just how much more sound is captured by bats with this adaptation.

The information throughout the exhibit is packaged so it can be entertaining as well as interesting.

According to one snippet, there are 986 known species of bat; and bats, the only flying mammal, make up 25 percent of all the earth's mammals.

There are photos and models of many bats, and large sculpted heads with Braille inscriptions for the blind.

A ranger from Carlsbad Caverns will be on hand one Saturday each month to share his or her bat expertise with museum guests.

Morgan said the museum plans to start lining up public school classes for field trips to the bat exhibit as soon as possible.

The formal opening of the show will be marked by a reception from 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday. It will stay here in Carlsbad through Sept. 6, he said.

The museum at 418 W. Fox Street, is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and admission is free.


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Source: Carlsbad Current-Argus (NM)

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