Detail of Paul Villinski’s “Arcus,” made from recycled cans.
My friend Sam Jaffe talking about caterpillars.
Friday night I had the joy to attend the fabulous new exhibit at the Berkshire Museum titled “Butterflies!” The galleries are filled with hands on art and science activities, contemporary butterfly sculpture, artifacts from the museum’s collections, live caterpillars, and mixed media of photography and film, including an audio track from Dr. Lincoln Brower discussing what happens within a chrysalis. And, as part of the exhibit, one of the galleries houses a large butterfly pavilion with over 200 live tropical butterflies from around the world!
Underwings of the Blue Morpho Butterfly from the live butterfly pavilion.
“Butterflies” was curated by Maria Mingalone, the museum’s director of interpretation, and she deftly and beautifully combines science, art, and nature in an exhibit that is sure to inspire and delight the very youngest to the most senior of citizens, and every age in between!
The opening was very joyful and buoyant—I most certainly felt that way and, judging from the expressions on visitor’s faces, wasn’t alone. I am convinced that butterflies bring out the happy in people!
The audience for my short film “Flight of the Monarchs”—I watched as many people watched my film many times over, despite the case that because the galleries were so crowded you couldn’t hear the beautiful music. I think there were several thousand people at the event.
The music that I set my film to is “Fields of Blue,” written and performed by Jesse Cook. I wrote the artist and sent him a copy of my film and the most amazing thing happened where, within only the few day whirlwind to create this little film, we were granted permission to use his song!!!!!!!!
My film opens with a clip of a Monarch flying in front of Eastern Point Lighthouse (you can see our Lighthouse in the above photo). Most of the footage that I used for the movie was of butterflies in flight, shot on Cape Ann, and the audience was stunned at how beautiful the migration is through Gloucester. That opening clip of the Lighthouse and the Monarch took several days to capture the exact shot that I wanted. Butterflies don’t take direction!
Some of my photos were used to illustrate Dr. Brower’s audio recording explaining what happens inside a chrysalis.
Sam and his fiance Kathy, also a graduate student in environmental studies.
If you have never been to the Berkshire Museum, their website description reads as follows: “The Berkshire Museum offers a unique array of exhibitions, activities, and attractions for visitors of all ages. From fine art and ancient objects to fossils; from an aquarium of native and exotic creatures to the Feigenbaum Hall of Innovation, we are your community museum: a place where everyone, from toddlers to elders, can learn, play, explore, innovate, be engaged and inspired.”
I arrived early, before “Butterflies” opened its door, and explored the galleries. It’s really a very engaging museum and especially while the exhibit is running, would be a wonderfully fun and interesting day trip with children.
Sam Jaffe making final adjustments to the chrysalis and cocoon display. To see some of Sam’s stunning photography, click on his website here: Sam Jaffe
Olive Ridley Skeleton at the Berkshire Museum