Let’s take a field trip! Your English budget is pretty much devoted to books and other resources, but this event is cross-curricular – so get talkin’ to those science teachers to put up some fundage and we can all go.
The Power of Poison is a traveling exhibit from the American Museum of Natural History in New York, currently in residence in Denver until January 10th of next year. This one is definitely worth the drive down! If you haven’t been to the DMNS before, it is just south of the Denver Zoo off Colorado Blvd, and always worth a daylong visit. I had the opportunity to spend an afternoon there while in CO for a July run, and this potent exhibit is deadly fun.
Poison is a paragon of what a museum exhibit should be. There are plenty of reading panels for people like me who have to stop and read everything, but there also plenty of big attractions to run through and see up close – life-size models of yew trees, larger than life ant colonies, tons of interactive, touch-screen challenges, and even a terrarium of poison dart frogs. There is a demonstration by able-minded museum curators of the first practical arsenic test in history, as well as two real-world games designed to detect and cure poison before it’s too late. (If all of this mystery-solving gets you stoked, prep for a future installment in which we return to the DMNS to visit the world’s greatest detective – http://sherlockholmesexhibition.com/ !)
Two key installations for us, of course, focus on literature. One is the Shakespeare diorama: the poisons of the plays (9th grade – Intro to Lit.) with emphasis on the witches of Macbeth (Euro./Adv. Lit). The other is the Mad Hatter from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland (Euro. Lit). How did poisons influence both of these incomparable writers? Head to The Power of Poison to find out! Or, I guess, you could use the internets. But only one of those options includes lunch at Cinzettis. Oh. Yeah.
If that doesn’t get you excited enough, how about this picture from the Mythic Creatures exhibit (open until September 7th – http://www.dmns.org/mythic-creatures/)?!