The changing exhibits gallery at the Anniston Museum of Natural History was completed in 1982, less than ten years after the museum originally opened. Since the beginning, the Anniston Museum has sought to enrich its permanent collection with a series of changing exhibitions. Some exhibits are borrowed from other establishments, while others are created in-house and allow the museum the opportunity to show off some of its lesser-known artifacts. Permanent exhibits are updated at random intervals, but the changing exhibit gallery offers something new every six months to a year.
The changing exhibit gallery seeks to explore the relationship between art and natural history through a variety of mediums. Philip Henry Gosse, the exhibit currently on display, explores the relationship between art and natural history by looking in depth at the history of entomology in Alabama. Previous exhibits, such as Animals in Bronze (1984), explored 3D interpretations of wildlife and its relationship to the artist.
Occasionally, the museum hosts “blockbuster” exhibits. These exhibits are rare and costly, and the museum depends upon the public for backing. A T-Rex Named Sue (2007) was such an exhibit. This exhibition required much preparation, and the museum closed for a week to install the exhibit. Having Sue at the Anniston Museum allowed children from all over Calhoun and neighboring counties the opportunity to see the world’s most well-preserved T-rex skeleton. In 2009, the museum hosted Reptiles: The Beautiful and the Deadly, another intensive exhibit that required two zoo keepers. Visitors were able to see reptiles of all sorts, from common turtles to a massive anaconda.
AMNH-original exhibits have been equally as stunning. The SEMC award winning Live Salty: From Shore to Ocean Floor (2016) drew crowds into the depths of the sea and educated them about earth’s most precious resource. The exhibit featured stunning wrap-around graphics and a large saltwater tank still on display in Alabama: Sand to Cedars. All of these exhibits have two things in common: they seek to enrich visitor experiences, whether it is a first-time trip to the museum, or the hundredth. Second, they rely on those who support the museum and its mission to educate visitors about the beautiful world in which we live. Information about upcoming changing exhibits at Anniston Museums and Gardens can be found on our website, social media, and through members’ emails. We hope to see you soon!