Darwin Day, in remembrance of Charles Darwin, was hosted by The McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture, began on Mon. Feb. 9.
The weeklong celebrations consisted of a variety of different lectures and Darwin-themed events that led up to his birthday on Sat. Feb. 12.
The Coordinator of Academic Programs, Lindsey Wainwright, put Darwin’s birthday party at McClung together.
The party’s events included giant papier-mâché puppets of Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace, pin the tooth on the dinosaur, fossil lectures and birthday cake.
“Darwin day is a huge deal to the university and McClung because it’s not just the human origins—it’s about the scientific background and evidence of the human origins,” said Wainwright.
According to Wainwright, it is important that we celebrate Darwin’s birthday because he is an important figure in scientific discovery and that it’s besides being a celebration of learning, discovery, questioning and learning about the natural world.
“It’s fun to have a figure that’s well known and celebrate the continuation of scientific discovery,” said Wainwright.
Last year was the first year that McClung hosted the birthday party. It was also the first year that the academic programs unit became a part of the museum.
Last year, they had more people come than expected—which is great, except they ran out of cake, according to Wainwright.
“It’s just reminding us that scientific inquiry is fun and exciting and it’s an opportunity to have minds of all ages coming to the museum and make discoveries of their own. Hopefully this is a [step] into engaging with the museum and learning about science,” said Wainwright.
Wainwright got interested in Darwin Day celebration specifically because she saw it as a way to bring students into the museum. The academic program unit is a way to make closer connections with research and teaching at the university.
“Our goal with this event, is to get students in the door. A lot of students at UT don’t really know that much about the McClung Museum, they’re not familiar with our collections of the kind of research that happens here,” said Wainwright.
The birthday party was an opportunity to have a fun and lighthearted event that would help students become more familiar with what the museum has to offer and Darwin’s impact on scientific discovery.