Temporary Exhibits

temp, exhibits, wild india

The Museum has temporary exhibits in several locations in and near the Ruthven Building.

Fourth Floor Temporary Gallery: Passenger Pigeon Exhibit

Once the most common bird in the world, an estimated six billion passenger pigeons roamed eastern North America in enormous flocks that could darken the skies for days at a time.  But in the mid-1800s, large-scale commercial hunting all but wiped out the bird in the space of 40 years.  The last wild bird was sighted in 1902, and the last captive bird died at the Cincinnati Zoo on September 1, 1914. The extinction spurred the passage of the US Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and inspired other early conservation efforts. 

     UMMNH is partnering with Project Passenger Pigeon to commemorate the centenary of the bird’s demise. Last year, the Museum produced a series of nine exhibit panels, entitled A Shadow Over the Earth: The Life and Death of the Passenger Pigeon. Written and designed by Museum Studies intern Kaisa Ryding (Art & Design, ’14), the panels have been made available for free to museums, schools, libraries and other institutions through the passengerpigeon.org website. More than two dozen institutions across the United States and Canada will be using the panels this year. This marks a new effort by the Museum to have its content reach a wider audience.  It also represents a new paradigm in the museum field as a whole for sharing content between institutions.

     A companion display, The Passenger Pigeon in Michigan uses specimens from the U-M Museum of Zoology to describe the key role our state played in the history of the pigeon, and allow visitors to come face-to-face with the extinct bird. The exhibit was written by Joe Dresch (MSI, LIS, ’10), designed by Juliana Lew (Art & Design, ‘08), and built and installed by UMMNH staff. 

     A Shadow Over the Earth and The Passenger Pigeon in Michigan are open in the fourth floor temporary exhibits gallery at UMMNH, and run through January 4th, 2015.

Fourth Floor Gallery: Explore Evolution

Fourth Floor Gallery

Explore Evolution

Explore Evolution examines evolution at work on a number of species, from fungus to finches, from ants to whales, with humans and chimpanzees thrown in the mix. Explore Evolution was produced by the University of Nebraska and the Science Museum of Minnesota, with contributions from several experts in evolutionary science— including U-M’s own Philip Gingerich, whose work on fossil whales is featured.



Fourth Floor Hallway: Between Power and Spirit: Sacred Spaces in Ancient Peru

Fourth Floor Hallway Exhibit

Between Power and Spirit: Sacred Spaces in Ancient Peru

Now open

Joe Hines (Anthropology, ‘75) travelled to Peru in the ‘70s and ‘80s to participate in U-M field work.  He returned in the ‘90s to document sacred buildings in Machu Picchu, Cuzco and other Incan sites.  Through stunning black-and-white photography, Hines explores ancient Incan architecture and use of space.  Now a Dearborn-based designer, Hines has generously made his photographs available to the Museum for display.  Between Power and Spirit will have an open-ended run in the Museum’s fourth-floor Hallway Gallery.

Fourth Floor Gallery: Archaeology

Fourth Floor Gallery


"Archaeology" examines the methods and tools that archaeologists use to uncover ancient cultures, focusing on the work of University of Michigan archaeologists. The "Archaeology" exhibit is currently undergoing renovations and will feature new exhibits, including topics of Inca beer, underwater archaeology of Lake Huron, and the earliest inland European fort in the U.S. The exhibit is currently open during renovations. 

Check back for more details this summer!