GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Florida Museum of Natural History’s McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity butterfly exhibits are the 2005 winner of the Southeastern Museums Conference Exhibition Award of Excellence for best exhibit with a budget of more than $1 million. Exhibitions are judged in the areas of design and fabrication, exhibit publications, educational and evaluative programs and the ability of the exhibit to support the museum’s mission or goals.

Florida Museum Assistant Director of Exhibits Darcie MacMahon, who directed the exhibition project and worked on the exhibit competition proposal with museum photographer Jeff Gage and designer Ian Breheny, will officially accept the award at the SEMC Annual Conference in October. Other museum employees who contributed to the project include Kurt Auffenberg, Pat Bennett, Stacey Breheny, Nathan Bruce, Ron Chesser, Tom Emmel, Jay Fowler, Jeff Huber, Dale Johnson, Tom Kyne, Bob Leavy, Lee Seabrook, Andrei Sourakov, Gwen Thompson and Jay Weber.

The Florida Museum’s McGuire Center opened in August 2004. Its exhibits include the 6,400-square-foot outdoor, screened Butterfly Rainforest, which houses tropical and subtropical plants, trees and nectar flowers to support hundreds of butterflies and moths, as well as an indoor public exhibits gallery that showcases a “Wall of Wings” with more than 13,000 Lepidoptera specimens and photographs reaching nearly three stories high and more than 200 feet long.

The Southeastern Museums Conference includes museums in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.

Media Contact: Paul Ramey,  (352) 846-2000,
Writer: Lauren Williams