- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
If you're a member of the Bohart Museum Society--that's "the friends" arm of the Bohart Museum of Entomology at UC Davis--you're probably looking forward to the upcoming pre-Halloween party (invitation only).
Or if you love science, you're probably looking forward to when the museum opens to the public. It's temporarily closed, you know, to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic precautions. Admission when it does open? It's free. It's always been free.
But if you want to join the Bohart Museum Society, there are scores of membership benefits:
- Subscription to the Bohart Museum Society newsletter--mailed to you quarterly, as well as the electronic news emailed to you periodically
- Invitation only special events and programs member discounts on gift shop merchandise
- Members' Halloween Open House
- Access to the collections, and free information and identification services from staff
- Museum library use
Memberships are $25 for an individual; $15 for a student; $40 for a family; and $100 for a patron. And, endowment donations are gratefully received. See more information here.
75th Anniversary. The Bohart Museum, now celebrating its 75th year, is located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane, UC Davis. It is currently open only to UC Davis and research communities. As it says on its website: "We are currently open to members of the UC Davis and research communities who are vaccinated and/or have had a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours per UC Davis policy. We need to focus on training our new interns and safely greeting the new UC Davis students first before we can open to the general public. Our store is on-line and items can be shipped or picked up curbside on Friday mornings. Please contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org."
The Bohart Museum, the seventh largest insect collection in North America, houses nearly eight million insect specimens, collected from around the world. It also is home to a live "petting zoo" comprised of Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks and tarantulas, as well as an online gift shop stocked with insect-themed jewelry, clothing, books, posters and other items.
Lynn Kimsey, UC Davis distinguished professor of entomology, serves as the director of the Bohart Museum, which is named for its founder, noted entomologist Richard 'Doc' Bohart, 1913-2007, a member of the UC Davis entomology faculty for more than 50 years. Kimsey was one of his last graduate students.
Kimsey writes about him: "He led an outstanding career in entomology both as a scientist and teacher. Dr. Bohart ("Doc") began his career at Davis in 1946. He became well-known for the courses he taught on general entomology, insect systematics and a summer field course in insect identification. He served as chair of the Department of Entomology from 1963 to 1967. His scientific research on insect taxonomy and systematics is unparalleled. His publications include three of the most important books on the systematics of the Hymenoptera, including the well-used volume Sphecid Wasps of the World. His journal publications total over 200 articles. He revised many groups of insects, discovered new host-associations or geographic ranges, and described many new species."
"The collections made by him and his students during field courses form the basis for the Bohart Museum's unrivalled collection of the insect fauna of the northern Sierra Nevada Mountains," Kimsey points out. "He and his wife Margaret also contributed many specimens from their collecting trips around the world. He also provided generous personal financial support to the collection." Kimsey interviewed him in 1996 and you can access the one-hour video on this Aggie Video link.
Fundraising Project End Oct. 31. Meanwhile, the Bohart Museum is seeking donations for its traveling insect specimen displays. It has launched a CrowdFund project to raise $5000 by 11:59 p.m., Oct 31 to purchase traveling display boxes for their specimens, which include bees, butterflies and beetles. These are portable glass-topped display boxes that travel throughout Northern California to school classrooms, youth group meetings, festivals, events, museums, hospitals--and more--to help people learn about the exciting world of insect science.
“When COVID halted our in-person outreach programs, we were still able to safely loan these educational materials to teachers,” said Tabatha Yang, the Bohart Museum's education and outreach coordinator. “Now that UC Davis is open again to students we have all these bright, students on campus with fresh and diverse perspectives,” she said. “We want to support their talent, so the funds we are raising will go to students for the creation of new traveling displays. This fleet of new educational drawers will expand and update what we can offer. Some of our current displays were created 15 years ago! One can only imagine all the places these drawers have been and all the people who have been inspired."
The minimum donation is $5, Yang said. "You can donate in honor or in memory of someone, a place, or an organism, too! There is a map (states and countries) that lights up donor locations. Those of you with a fondness in your hearts for insects, college student experiences, science education, and/or museums, please donate to light up our map!" Access the donation page and map at https://bit.ly/3v4MoaJ
Aggie Pride Week. As part of Aggie Pride Week or Spirit Week, the Bohart Museum hosted a mini-outdoor open house on Saturday, Oct. 16. "This was the Cal Aggie Alumni Association's fall parent weekend for students, parents and alumni," said Yang. See some of the images below.