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Gateway Science Museum – Grand Opening Feb. 27, 2010

The Gateway Science Museum is opening to the public on Saturday, Feb. 27 – with a ribbon-cutting at 10 a.m. and grand opening celebration activities for adults and children alike throughout the day – throughout the whole museum. Photo: The Gateway Science Museum’s logo is derived from the skylight at the top of the front tower of the new building’s entrance. That tower represents a volcano – such as the historic Mt. Yana or Lassen Peak or Mt. Shasta, which have been ‘wayfinders,’ or directional markers, for people in the North State for thousands of years.

“The activities will be festive and geared toward fun and education,” acting director Rachel Teasdale said in an interview last week. Among other activities geared toward highlighting the museum’s mission to “create a life-long learning environment that enables people to explore, interpret, and celebrate the magnificent natural heritage of our region through science, research, and education,” Teasdale mentioned that “we will have face painting – and the face painters will create motifs from regional plants, animals and insects for their designs.” So you could get a Pipevine Swallowtail wing or a bouquet of yellow Mariposa-lilies (Calochortus luteus) painted on your cheek.

“The 16-year journey to the opening of the Gateway Science Museum has been noteworthy,” Judy Sitton, president of the Gateway Science Museum Board, told me. “As a member of the community/campus partnership for this landmark, I look forward to us all experiencing science and regional natural history in a fun, stimulating, interesting and memorable way. We have so much to celebrate and hold dear in the North State. The Gateway Science Museum is a key to the ‘gateway to learning.” Photo: Front entrance and skylight of the new Gateway Science Museum – courtesy of the Gateway Science Museum.

The first of the museum’s traveling exhibitions will also be in place for the opening. Being installed all next week, the first exhibitions (beyond the state-of-the-art building and eco-regions based landscapes themselves), as described on the museum’s newly revamped website gatewayscience.org, will include:

Photo: a real praying mantis on a rose in the garden.

Backyard Monsters: The World of Insects will be in the museum’s two main galleries:

Step into the fascinating world of insects at Backyard Monsters, where visitors can catch sight of towering bugs such as a 9-foot-tall praying mantis and insects that are up to 96 times their normal size! These hi-tech, robotic insects not only appear real, but their actions are simulated to show real-life movements as well.

Interactive education stations are also available for exploration. Visitors can view the world through the eyes of a multifaceted insect, create rubbings of insects which can be taken home, learn the methods of insect flight, discover how common fleas survive and adapt, and more.

Another eye-catching feature of Backyard Monsters is a world-class insect specimen collection that features numerous insects and bugs such as longhorn beetles, butterflies, arachnids, moths and insects.

Witness: Endangered Species of North America will be in the long central Valley gallery:

The most strikingly beautiful, yet tragically endangered, species of North America are documented in Witness, an astonishing collection of photographic portraits by Susan Middleton and David Liittschwager, organized by the California Academy of Sciences.

Visitors will have the opportunity to learn about the various plants and animals currently on the Endangered Species List of North America, such as the California condor, Arizona agave, northern spotted owl, grizzly bear and more.

Each photographed plant and animal is isolated with a stark background to visually explain that these species are becoming endangered, and in one way or another, losing their natural habitats.

River Voices: A Photography Exhibit on The Confluence of Culture on the Sacramento River Watershed:

Photographer Geoff Fricker documents one of the most important rivers in California, the Sacramento River, and its diverse role in the region.

Seven 6-by-9-foot photographic panels record the diverse layers of culture in the landscapes that intersect along the Sacramento River. Here, 500,000 acres of historic riparian habitats once existed, but today, only 25,000 acres of the original habitats remain.

Additional panels provide quotations about the relationship between humans and the land. Other images reveal years of scouring, deposition, and tree growth along the meandering river system, as well as areas of the floodplains adapted to farmland throughout the history of humans in Northern California. Photo: A Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly and its wing patterns.

Museum Hours
Wednesday–Friday: Noon-5 p.m.
Saturday–Sunday: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
The address is 625 Esplanade, Chico, CA 95929-0545.

After March , the museum will keep regular hours.

Ongoing programing – including school field trips, summer programs for school-aged children and memberships –  is in development so keep checking back at gatewayscience.org, or better yet, send an email indicating your interests, and you will be kept up-to-speed with announcement emails.


The Gateway Science Museum is developing a membership program. Please check back later for more information or e-mail gateway@csuchico.edu with any questions or comments you may have. Please include “Membership” in the subject line.

If you or your gardening organization has a class or plant/gardening related event you’d like posted to the on-line Calendar of Regional Gardening Events at jewellgarden.com, send the pertinent information to me at: Jennifer@jewellgarden.com

Did you know I send out a weekly email with information about upcoming topics and gardening related events? If you would like to be added to the mailing list, send an email to Jennifer@jewellgarden.com.

In a North State Garden is a weekly North State Public Radio and web-based program celebrating the art, craft and science of home gardening in Northern California and made possible in part by the Gateway Science Museum – Exploring the Natural History of the North State and on the campus of CSU, Chico. In a North State Garden is conceived, written, photographed and hosted by Jennifer Jewell – all rights reserved jewellgarden.com. In A North State Garden airs on Northstate Public Radio Saturday mornings at 7:34 AM Pacific time and Sunday morning at 8:34 AM Pacific time. Podcasts of past shows are available here.