New in-floor exhibit at the Nature Center features masterful fabrications of flora and fauna found in real-life namesake Indian Creek
After more than five years of planning, careful crafting and, finally, installation, Indian Creek Nature Center’s long-awaited Indian Creek Exhibit is complete and open for public viewing. The exhibit was planned as part of the design of Amazing Space prior to the building’s construction in 2016. This week we put on the finishing touches and installed the glass top, completing a huge, time-intensive project that not only brings fresh energy to our exhibit hall, but also a new educational and inspirational experience to our community.
“From an educational perspective, we think it will bring people in and inspire their curiosity,” said ICNC Naturalist Emily Roediger. “We hope the exhibit sparks questions and leads people to discover and learn new things. We are excited to see how this new exhibit inspires people to explore outside for themselves and see what they can find, discover and learn.”
Thousands of hours have gone into the creation of this exhibit, many of which can be attributed to exhibit designers and fabricators Terry and Paula Brown — the married duo behind Museum Professionals. Terry has been creating natural history exhibits since the 70s, and the Indian Creek Exhibit is his final project before retirement. After retiring from her own career, Paula joined Terry’s business in 2018. The Browns have spent countless hours in their home studio in Minnesota creating every piece of the exhibit by hand. From the sandy bottom and blades of glass to the very realistic taxidermic critters, each of the nearly 200 different plants and animal models were painstakingly researched and carefully crafted from real-life counterparts to ensure they are scientifically accurate. Some of the elements, such as the sand, pieces of wood and shells, are real specimens pulled from the creek.
“This is rare — even at big museums, you don’t see exhibits like this,” Terry Brown said. “This exhibit is more personal for this area and we put a lot of details into this. People can bring their children here or grandchildren and teach them about things they may never see in real life.”
“There are so many different elements to the exhibit that a visitor may not be able to take everything in during just one visit,” Roediger said. “Some things in the exhibit might be difficult to find or observe out in nature, so having them in the exhibit gives the opportunity to shine light and attention on otherwise unseen activities that occur in the wild.”
“One of the things we love about our business is that we get to bring something to the public that educates them,” Brown said. “A lot of the things in the creek, most people would never see unless they see it here and then go out looking for them. When they become more familiar with what’s in the environment, they have more of a sense of wanting to take care of it. All things begin and end with nature, and it’s our job to take care of that. To take care of nature. If we can educate people on things that are out there that they aren’t aware of, it gives more of a sense of ownership and wanting to care more for what’s in our environment.”
The Indian Creek Exhibit was funded in part by a one-for-one matching grant from the Hall-Perrine Foundation, which helped inspire more than 100 donors — both individuals and corporate sponsors — to generously give to this project. THANK YOU to all the donors and supporters who made this project happen — YOUR generosity will inspire Champions of Nature for generations. A special thank you to Terry & Paula brown, whose passion and expertise made this exhibit what it is: a masterpiece.