|5630 Dunbar St. at 41st Ave.
The United Nations declared 2010 as the Year of Biodiversity, so it was only fitting that the new Beaty Museum of Biodiversity be officially opened on May 22, the International Day for Biological Diversity.
The actual museum is not yet finished, but their show-stopping Atrium display is up and running. The two story glass atrium has a complete skeleton of a blue whale, the largest animal that has ever lived, hanging from the ceiling.
UBC currently has 6 major biological collections on campus, but they are spread out over several buildings and are not accessible to the public.
|The Beaty Biodiversity Centre is a complex of three new buildings, one of which will house all the various collections in one place, similar to the Museum of Anthropology. The various collections are:|
The UBC Herbarium houses the largest collection of plants in western Canada, with more than 600,000 specimens from around the world. Nearly half of those specimens are bryophytes (mosses, liverworts, and hornworts), making the UBC bryophyte collection the largest in Canada, and one of the best in the world.
The Spencer Entomological Collection
The Spencer Entomological Collection (insects) is the largest in Western Canada, with over 600,000 specimens. Over half a million pinned specimens, 75,000 alcohol-preserved specimens and 25,000 specimens on slides showcase BC and the Yukon’s spectacular insect diversity.
The Marine Invertebrate Collection
Primarily used for teaching, this collection holds several thousand specimens collected from BC and around the world, including cephalopods, bivalves, corals and sponges. The Collection has recently been greatly enhanced by donations of seashell collections, which represent a substantial representation of marine diversity from throughout the world.
|The Cowan Vertebrate Collection
The Cowan Vertebrate Collection contains over 40,000 specimens of vertebrates, including mammals, birds, amphibians, and reptiles. The collections are primarily from western Canada, especially British Columbia and the Yukon.
The UBC Fish Museum
The UBC Fish Museum is home to the second largest fish collection in Canada, containing over 800,000 alcohol-stored whole fishes, cleared and stained specimens that reveal internal bony structure, skeletal preparations, and X-ray images. The Collection also includes extensive tissue and DNA archives.
The Fossil Collection
The Beaty Biodiversity Museum’s fossil collection contains over 20,000 specimens, ranging from recent shells to 500 million year old blue-green algal fossils, called stromatolites, which are the oldest evidence of life on earth. The Museum houses a modest collection from the famous Burgess Shale, in Eastern BC, alongside specimens from localities all over the globe.
And the big bonus with the new facility will be the ability to provide space for the more than 50 scientists from around the world who are working all over campus on problems in diversity.
|Although the day was cool and cloudy, there was a good turnout with lots of kids in tow. There were about a dozen canopies around the grounds with hands-on displays, origami folding and drawing tables.|
|Kids of all ages were drawn to the live barnacles doing their thing. The building on the right behind the tent is the Beaty Biodiversity Centre, which will provide space for reasearchers and the actual Museum displays.|
|Two tables of microscopes allowed the kids to have a close-up look at insects. They were even given small nets to catch insects in the lawn and flower beds.|
|The 26 metre long skeleton is of a mature emale that died and was washed ashore at the north end of Prince Edward Island in 1097. In hopes of preserving the whale's skeleton for research or museum display, the PEI government and the Canadian Museum of Nature arranged for the skeleton to be dragged off the beach and buried.
The whale skeleton remained under the red PEI dirt for two decades. In 2007, the Museum of Nature and the PEI government granted UBC permission to retrieve the whale, and bring it to BC to be displayed in the new Beaty Biodiversity Museum.
There will be 4 more free Open Houses during the summer:
Each preview features a different theme, with unique programs and activities, so come back often. By collecting krill pins from at least three of the five preview days, you can earn a special blue whale button in the fall. Food and drinks will be available for purchase on site in the cafe.
|The Beaty Biodiversity Museum is centrally located on campus, just south of the UBC Bookstore. It's a short 10 minute walk from the bus loop and across the street from the Health Sciences Parkade on East Mall. It's worth the visit, especially with kids.|
|Other Things to do in the Neighbourhood:|
Newsletter # 180
|All Nations Stamp & Coin
5630 Dunbar St. at 41st Ave.