Current Museum Exhibits Utilizing NSRL Collections
Biodiversity of the Llano Estacado
Long-term Exhibit, opened October 2020
This exhibit explores the wildlife and ecosystems of the Llano Estacado of Texas. Taxidermy specimens of mammals, birds, and reptiles represent the biodiversity of the region's 7 major habitat types: short- and mixed-grass prairies; canyons, breaks, and draws; playas; salinas; sand dunes and sand hills; agricultural lands; and urban areas.
Visit the Museum website for more information, and plan to visit the Museum in person to experience this fascinating and educational gallery!
Tiny and Mighty Creatures
Opened March 2022
This display cabinet contains 100 individual specimens, including beetles, true bugs, butterflies, flies, bees, moths, and more, from all around the world. The exhibit is accompanied by online content available at: https://www.depts.ttu.edu/nsrl/collections/Invertebrate_Zoology/insect-exhibit.php.
Past Museum Exhibits Utilizing NSRL Collections
FROZEN IN TIME: Genetic Resource Collections --- Preserving the Past and Making Future
Exhibit Dates: October 2019 - January 2020
This exhibit highlighted the value of genetic resource collections, such as the Robert J. Baker Genetic Resources Collection of the Natural Science Research Laboratory, Museum of Texas Tech University, to scientific discovery, education, and society. These collections, typically frozen to preserve their genetic integrity, are comprised of frozen tissue samples and extracted DNA from wildlife specimens representing the Earth's biodiversity. Each tissue sample is unique and irreplaceable, and by being “frozen in time” these samples can reveal clues to that animal's genome, environment (contaminant exposure), health (diseases and parasites), and many other pieces of information vital to our understanding of life on Earth. Samples from the NSRL's GRC are used by scientists worldwide to conduct research and address environmental challenges.
Grasslands of North America and Africa
Exhibit Dates: April 2018 - February 2019
This exhibit explored the importance of the world's grasslands. In particular, the mammalian biodiversity occurring in North American grasslands, including the region around Lubbock, was compared to that found in the African grasslands. The important characteristics and attributes of different types of grasslands, and steps we can take to preserve them, were discussed. The NSRL's taxidermy collection was used extensively to create this exhibit.
Visit the Museum website for more information.
Vampire Bats: The Good, the Bad, and the Amazing!
Exhibit Dates: May 2014 - January 2015
This exhibit introduced many facts and dispelled some myths about vampire bats. Text, photos, and videos described their unique physical and physiological adaptations and social behaviors, and discussed their evolution from insect-eating bats. The collaborative research of Texas Tech Horn Professor of Biological Sciences Dr. Robert J. Baker and post-doctoral fellow Dr. Caleb Phillips was highlighted.
From Numerous to Non-existent: Common, Rare, Threatened, Endangered, and Extinct Species in the Collections of the Natural Science Research Laboratory
Exhibit Dates: July 2013 – September 2014
This exhibit described the status of many rare, threatened, and endangered wildlife species. These species were represented by taxidermy mounts of many large mammals and birds, as well as study-skin preparations of mammals and birds, bird eggs, and dried insect specimens from the NSRL's collections. Current status, population estimates, common threats, and conservation needs were described for each species.
Chernobyl, 25 Years Later: Biological Legacy of a Nuclear Meltdown
Exhibit Dates: September 2011 – March 2012
This exhibit described research conducted by a team of scientists from Texas Tech University at Chernobyl, Ukraine, the site of a 1986 nuclear meltdown. The primary goal of the TTU research in Chernobyl is to achieve an understanding of the biological consequences of chronic exposure to radiation in the environment. The exhibit included an explanation and photographs of the Chernobyl meltdown and the resulting impact on the environment in the 25 years since the incident. Details of specific research projects and results, and a list of publications resulting from Texas Tech research at Chernobyl, were provided.
Rats, bats, and a whole lot more: Expeditions by the Natural Science Research Laboratory, 1994-2008
Exhibit Dates: May - September 2010
This exhibit highlighted recent field work of NSRL-affiliated faculty and students. It described the purpose of the NSRL and the value of natural history collections for research and education. The exhibit featured many photographs, and artifacts were on display such as various traps, a mist net, prepared specimens, and a mock "field camp". The process of collecting and preparing mammals for deposit in the NSRL was illustrated. A sampling of the publications resulting from the featured field expeditions was on display, and the success of the many students that took part in the expeditions was described.
Polar Bears and Brown Bears:
The Situation is More Complex than Originally Envisioned
Exhibit Dates: May – September 2010
This exhibit described the differences and similarities between brown bears (Ursus arctos) and polar bears (Ursus maritimus). It included a display of the NSRL's full-body taxidermy mounts of both species. The exhibit discussed the genetics and evolution of polar bears and grizzly bears, and the possible implications of climate change on the status of both species. Included was a description of research conducted by the NSRL and Department of Biological Sciences on the evolution of polar bears and brown bears.