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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Experience the symphony of the animal kingdom at the Florida Museum of Natural History’s newest temporary exhibit, “Wild Music: Sounds and Songs of Life” opening May 28.

The exhibit, presented in English, Spanish and Braille, allows visitors to hear, feel and see the power of sound.

“‘Wild Music’ explores the biological roots of music,” said Darcie MacMahon, Florida Museum of Natural History assistant director for exhibits. “The exhibit is highly interactive and hands-on, allowing visitors to explore the science of sound and music in an engaging and entertaining way.”

The exhibit takes visitors on a journey through the forest, city and sea to experience the melodies found in each environment.

The city setting radiates the sounds of markets, street cars and outdoor cafes as well as groups at work hauling nets, moving logs and pounding grain. Visitors may also compose masterpieces using their own voices with pre-recorded sounds, animal voices and percussion instruments in a sound proof “Jamming Room” and record themselves describing the memories evoked by different types of music for an ongoing project at the University of North Carolina Music Research Institute.

In the forest, listen to the songs of a variety of bird species and discover how they have influenced human composers like Mozart. Visitors may also use a parabolic microphone to find a variety of sounds hidden throughout this area of the exhibit.

In the sea, observe a trolling motor and ratchet underwater using a hydrophone; see, touch and hear shell trumpets; and listen to whale songs as well as human compositions inspired by their aquatic harmonies.

The exhibit also features a seven-minute video, describing how animals use sound to advertise their presence, communicate with one another and form and nurture social groups. Guests may also examine a collection of unusual instruments like a didgeridoo, an Australian instrument made from a hollow log, African talking drums and a 53,000-year-old cave bear bone flute. “The exhibit allows visitors to experience sound in a unique way,” MacMahon said. “We all enjoy music, but don’t usually think of it as rooted in both culture and nature – the exhibit gives us new perspectives on music in a really fun way.”

Admission to “Wild Music” is $8 for adults, $7 for Florida residents, $6.50 for seniors and college students and $5.50 for ages 3-17.

“Wild Music: Sounds & Songs of Life” is a production of the Science Museum of Minnesota, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and the Association of Science-Technology Centers. Major funding comes from the National Science Foundation, with additional support from Harman International Industries Inc. and NEC Foundation of America.

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Source: Darcie MacMahon, 352-273-2053,
Writer: Leeann Bright
Media contact: Paul Ramey, 352-273-2054,