Midwest Museum of Natural History hosts annual Groudhog Gala

By Jordan birchfield

The Midwest Museum of Natural History (MMNH) hosted its annual Groundhog Gala in Sycamore Saturday.

The 4th Annual Groundhog Gala is the largest fundraiser for the museum, 425 W. State St. in Sycamore, and all proceeds support educational programming, live animal care, museum operations and community outreach, the press release stated.

“This event is unique, said MMNH director Molly Trickey. “We have many presentations, a silent auction, and food and drink from all over the world”

The event hosted special guest presentations set up through out the museum. Sports memorabilia such as Chicago Blackhawks jerseys and other sports items were part the silent auction. Attendees of the Gala were treated to special presentations from different enthusiasts of anthropology, biology and world culture.

Among the presenters was Amanda Duncan, percussion performance graduate student at NIU, who played the Sogo drum from Ghana. She also displayed her skills on other drums from West African countries.

The event also featured Kathleen and Art Scarpaci of Geneva, Ill. and the tarantula collection they have built over the years.

“My husband grew up in Oklahoma, where the Oklahoma Brown Tarantula is a native species,” said Kathleen Scarpaci. “The collection started with just one and grew to over a dozen.”

The museum is in the process of cataloging its collection, not just the animals, but rocks and cultural artifacts from around the world. Cindy Chang, biological sciences graduate student at NIU is working on the process of cataloging the collection.

“By cataloging our collection of artifacts we are making it easier for people to have access to it, having access to information and education is important,” Chang said.