Fairbanks Brings Animal Diversity

ST. JOHNSBURY-Fairbanks Museum has finally re-opened its doors after being closed for the winter months, preparing to present their new items added to their exhibits. The goal is to bring a new variety of animals to create animal diversity in the museum.

"There is so much planning before exhibits can change here," Director of External Relations, Anna Rubin explained. The museum has been working for two months to prepare for their new showing of animals to the community. A lot of this work consists of taking care of the animals, and restoring them. As well as having to do a tremendous amount of research while regrouping the exhibits.

"It involves taking out old exhibits, repainting, refinishing the walls. Making sure that everything is fresh and clean, doing any repair work to the display cases. As well as setting up for the new displays, creating the mounts, working on the text making sure everything is in place and correct," Rubin said.

There are some items that are familiar to the community that have been regrouped and moved to other parts of the museum. "This polar bear behind me has been seen for many years, for many generations. It used to be in a different part of the Museum, and we have now grouped it with other creators from the arctic," Rubin explains. The museum was also able to pull many of their older animals from storage, after those animal exhibits had been pushed to make space for other exhibits.

"We now have a giant vertebrae of an Atlantic right whale that was purchased by Fairbanks Museum way back in the eighteen hundreds," Rubin says enthusiastically. The Museum has also added various beach shells, albino animals, and new birds and insects. "Again we purchased a few new things for the collections to be on display to fill out the displays and get some more diversity," collections manager, Beau Harris explained.

The team at Fairbanks Museum wanted to convey that they are working on showing more biodiversity of animals. "We also find that there are many ways of looking at the world, and so at one time it was very exciting to see various types of birds. But now we are trying to diversify our own displays. By showing those mammals and birds, and insects together as a way of showing what animals survives in different ecosystems," Rubin said.

The hardest part about preparing for the new exhibits for the museum was being closed for so long, especially during covid. "During covid having to close down for some days, and having to limit visitors is really hard. It feels kind of lonely, so this work helps us get over that. It also gives us something to be excited about. We really want people to come in and see what's happening and what's new," Rubin explained.

"It will be good to have people visiting again, and being able to see the new exhibits. Hopefully they will be able to learn some new things," Harris said. The museum re-opened to the public on February 27th. Rubin shares that there are already people ready to come see what the museum has been working on. If you wish to visit, you can go on their website and check out their schedule. If you are traveling with more than eight people, reservations must be made beforehand.