Midwest Museum of Natural History offers variety of exhibits

By Juliana Leprich

Anyone looking to spend quality time with natural history this summer need go no further than Sycamore.

The Midwest Museum of Natural History (MMNH), 425 W. State St. in Sycamore, has a variety of different exhibits.

“We have a pretty amazing collection of animals from North America and Africa,” said MMNH Executive Director Molly Trickey. Trickey also said the museum includes a children’s area, a geology exhibit and a few other exhibits.

While the museum has typical attractions, it also holds a few surprises.

“People are surprised when they visit for the first time,” Trickey said. “Who knew there was an elephant in Sycamore? In addition to the exhibits, there’s always something going on; from preschool programs to dissecting sharks to adult lectures. It’s a great place for families, too. We see many museum members who come on a weekly basis with young children to spend an afternoon visiting the animals and playing in the Discovery Den children’s area.”

The museum does not only have animal specimens, but live animals on display, too.

“To me, the most interesting things in the museum are the live animals,” said Sarah Netherton, MMNH guest services and animal management employee. “When people usually think of a museum, they generally don’t think of living things on display. New visitors are always surprised when I tell them there are live reptiles and a sulcata tortoise they can touch downstairs.”

The museum has special events regularly in addition to the standard displays.

“Our summer fundraiser, Rockin’ for the Reptiles, is coming up June 30,” Trickey said. “Proceeds support the care of the live animals at the museum. We’ll have live music, games, food, face painting, moon bounce and, of course, lots of reptiles.”

The Midwest Museum of Natural History is local and relies on its community to stay open. Trickey said support from the community and volunteers are what really keep the museum going.