Museum Musings

Holiday Traditions: Taking Turns

In conjunction with the holiday-inspired exhibition Winter Wonderland, we asked staff to share some of their traditions so that we can share them with you.

“The Mouse is Mine!”
Sara -b -blog -imageAs in most households my parents have an advent calendar. It has a tiny mouse that you move along to show the date. We have had this thing since I can remember. As my brother and I got older we had to take turns “moving the mouse.” I quickly realized that by letting him go first I would always get to land on Christmas Eve. It took a while but he eventually figured out my evil scheme. After that we had to trade off even and odd years.

Fast forward to us moving out of the house. We still would race to our parents to see who would move the mouse first. We of course, in the spirit of Christmas, would rub it in the other ones face.

Present day I am almost 30 and my brother 26. We both still rush to our parents only now we to wait, and let my daughter move the mouse. I am not going to lie it is hard for us both to sit back and pass the torch to the next generation.

However, she is my daughter so in the end the point still goes to me!

—Sara Brumfield, Event and Beverage Manager

Written by Fernbank Museum at 14:08

Holiday Traditions: Staff Edition

In conjunction with the holiday-inspired exhibition Winter Wonderland, we asked staff to share some of their traditions so that we can share them with you. Up first, a familiar face to regular guests to Fernbank NatureQuest.

The Flames of Christmas Day
Sean -and -GranddaddyWhen Granddaddy built his house after coming home from The War, he put a big cabinet into the wall beside the fireplace. This cabinet was filled with all manner of mysterious, mystical fire accessories, everything from spare brooms and pokers to popcorn poppers to matches of whatever length you might want. The most remarkable thing though, the thing that'd catch the sparkle of the old man's eye and set this young boy's imagination ablaze, was the color powder. The powder was a nondescript gray in a ratty cardboard tube, the markings of which had long worn off. Looking for the powder, I'd root through the cabinet when no one else was around, finding plenty of empty match boxes, discarded newspaper, and similar refuse stored in precarious proximity to the hearth, but I never could find that powder. Granddaddy, of course, always found it straight away, leading me to suspect some hidden compartment. Looking back now, he more likely sneaked the color powder up from his workshop downstairs on the only time of the year we used the fireplace: Christmas Day.

Christmas when I was a boy was something of a Rockwellian affair with the whole family in the living room gathered around the outskirts of a sea of colorfully wrapped and ribboned presents seeping from underneath a big tree decked out in lights, beads, and ornaments older than my parents. On the other side of the room sat the fireplace, hand-decorated stockings nailed to the wood paneled wall above. Once or twice each year, when everybody was together in the room, Granddaddy would toss a handful of the powder in the fire, and everyone would gasp and cheer. Honestly, I couldn't say much about everyone else's reaction because my attention was rapt upon the flames. First, the orange flames turned to gold, then a deep dandelion yellow. Next, they shifted to green, an azure glow that soon became the dark blue of ocean depths before fading to the hues of a clear noon sky and back to orange.

The big flashy demonstration, everyone gaping and awing, wasn't my favorite tradition of the holiday though. Every year after the rest of the family had gone home or to visit neighbors and the quiet of night had fallen, Granddaddy and I would pull up an old rocking chair and sit alone in the living room lit only by twinkle of the tree lights to watch the fire die. These where the times he'd let me throw the powder in myself, spectacular bursts of colored flame erupting far from the prudent eyes of mothers and wives. Before long the flicker of flames would fade and the logs would turn to ash, which marked a fine time to darken the tree and settle into our beds as the silence of a sated Christmas night settled onto the house.

—Sean D'aigle, Exhibition Facilitator

Written by Fernbank Museum at 15:44

Unwrap New Traditions

Giggy -Santa -Hat‘Tis the season for celebrations, and there are lots of ways to celebrate at Fernbank! The Museum will be closed Christmas day, but will be open during normal business hours through the rest of the year.

  • Prepare to ooh and aah over two floors of twinkling, beautifully decorated trees and displays showcasing celebrations around the world with the special exhibition Winter Wonderland.
  • Take a spectacular cinematic journey that soars high above the Holy Land and plunges deep into the vibrant Old City in the award-winning film Jerusalem.
  • Enjoy a virtual tropical getaway and discover a paradise unlike any other in the giant screen adventure Galapagos: Nature’s Wonderland.
  • Test what sparks the instinct of fear through a series of fun and safe activities. Just follow the sounds of laughter to the special exhibition Goose Bumps! The Science of Fear
  • Additional drop-in programs will be offered December 21 – January 4. Look for the “Today at Fernbank” sign when you arrive for details.
  • Round out your holiday shopping or treat yourself! There are many ways to Give the Gift of Fernbank.

SPECIAL OFFER: With so much exciting programming in 2015, now is a great time to become a Museum member. From December 19 – 31, save $20 off Family Advantage or $40 off IMAX® Advantage membership levels.

Happy Holidays from Fernbank Museum!

—Deanna Smith, Director of Marketing

Sale prices valid 12/19/14 – 12/31/14 only. Valid on new, renewal and gift memberships. May not be combined with any other offer. Offer may not be used for upgrades or toward prior purchases.

Written by Fernbank Museum at 11:14

Holiday Treats For Families Dec 20-23

Keep the kids entertained and engaged with a variety of hands-on learning fun at Fernbank Museum. In addition to the special exhibitions
Goose Bumps! The Science of Fear and Winter Wonderland, and the films Galapagos: Nature’s Wonderland and Jerusalem, Fernbank will also be offering special programs December 20 through December 23.
Grinch -for -web

Saturday, December 20
Winter Wonderland Seek and Find
10am-5pm, Entry and Upper Levels

How the Grinch Stole Christmas
10:30am, 11:30am, 1:30pm, Auditorium (Limited Seating)  

Roaming Santa-saurus
10am-2pm, Museum-wide 

Tadpole Tales: Mammoths on the Move
11:30am, Naturalist Center 

Puppet Making
Noon-2pm, Great Hall

Fear Show
1pm, 3pm, Goose Bumps! The Science of Fear Theatre

Live Animal Encounter
2pm, Naturalist Center

Puppet -kid -for -blogSunday, December 21
Winter Wonderland Seek and Find
Noon-5pm, Entry and Upper Levels

Roaming Santa-saurus
Noon-3pm, Museum-wide 

How the Grinch Stole Christmas
12:30pm, 1:30pm, 2:30pm, Auditorium 

Tadpole Tales: Mammoths on the Move
1:30pm, Naturalist Center 

Live Animal Encounter
2:30pm, Naturalist Center

Fear Show
3pm, Goose Bumps! The Science of Fear Theatre

Monday, December 22
Winter Wonderland Seek and Find
10am-5pm, Entry and Upper Levels

Fear Show
11am, 1pm, 2pm, Goose Bumps! The Science of Fear Theatre 

Live Animal Encounter
1:30pm, 2:30pm, Naturalist Center

Tuesday, December 23
Winter Wonderland Seek and Find
10am-5pm, Entry and Upper Levels

Live Animal Encounter
1pm, 2pm, Naturalist Center 

*This schedule is subject to change without notice. Please refer to the “Today at Fernbank” sign when you arrive for more details on these engaging programs.

Reminder, the Museum will be closed Thursday, December 25, but will be open during normal business hours the rest of the holiday week. Mark your calendars to ring in the “noon” year with us on December 31!

—Deanna Smith, Director of Marketing

Written by Fernbank Museum at 14:43

Food, Fun and Friendship

The holiday season brings to mind thoughts of gratitude, community, and—my favorite—food! At Fernbank, we’re incredibly thankful for all of our volunteers. We do our best to show this appreciation whenever possible, whether it’s through smaller gestures like our volunteer rewards program or larger events like this week’s Holiday Potluck Luncheon.


Attendees at this year’s luncheon were greeted by festive decorations and holiday music along with fun games and a make-your-own hot cocoa station. Our volunteers really go all out when it comes to our potlucks, and this year was no exception—no one walks away hungry when these folks are involved!  

See more photos on our Facebook page.

We’d love to have you join our exceptional team of volunteers! Learn more about current opportunities or contact us at 404.929.6360 or e-mail

—Kate Naylor. Member and Volunteer Services Coordinator

Written by Fernbank Museum at 13:30
Welcome to the official blog of Fernbank Museum of Natural History. This blog is an opportunity for the people that keep Fernbank running and constantly expanding, to share stories from their point of view. We hope you’ll enjoy these first-hand, behind-the-scenes glimpses of what goes into keeping a world-class natural history museum running. As always, we’d love to hear your feedback on these stories, to hear your personal experiences and hear any suggestions for topics. Happy reading!