National Smithsonian Museum Day increases visitors by 200%


By Sam Votaw

Stetson’s three on-campus museums participated in the 8th annual National Smithsonian Museum Day on Saturday, along with 11 other Volusia County museums. The Hand Art Center, the Museum of Natural History and the Gillespie Museum were all open to showcase their respective exhibits on this unofficial holiday designed to celebrate the institution of museums, and each reported an average of 200% increase in the number of visitors.

The exhibits took place during the university’s Family & Friends weekend and admission was free of charge.

Dr. Gibbs, the director of the Aquatic Marine Biology Department, was pleased with the showings Smithsonian Day yielded for the little-known Natural history museum located in Sage Hall.

“Not a lot of people [of the general public]know about this museum,” Gibbs said. “When a day like this comes around it’s typically a great showing.”

Full of fascinating remains of Floridian wildlife found during fieldwork, the room also hosts an impressive albatross skull dated from 1874.

“We’re very proud of what we have here,” Gibbs said.

The Gillespie Museum located at 234 E. Michigan Ave. showcased its rotating series of rare rocks and minerals from all over the world, including some permanent establishments, like a towering 6-foot-7-inch purple crystal geode.

With anticipation of celebrating its 55th anniversary in November, the Gillespie Museum showcased the “fun of collecting and what collecting can lead to,” Dr. Karen Cole, the museum’s director, said.

The Hand Art Center continued to stage its faculty driven “Convergence” show, as well as the color sketches of Oscar Bluemner.

All of these museums are open year round. Cultural credit is available for some.