Channel-billed toucan (Ramphastos vitellinus) 2006.37.18
Nine-banded armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus) 11632
Blue-gray tanager (Thraupis episcopus) 08489
The Amazon Rainforest: Beauty • Destruction • Hope
April 13, 2021 - August 29, 2021
In The Amazon Rainforest: Beauty • Destruction • Hope, the interplay between live animals, scientific specimens, and the work of renowned photographers tells the story of a sprawling ecosystem on the verge of collapse, and the efforts being made to save it.
In the first stage of this journey, viewers will marvel at the beauty of the Amazon. The sublime photography of Brazilian artist Claudia Jaguaribe will portray a seemingly unspoiled Eden, while live animal displays and taxidermy will bring the rainforest to the museum floor. Visitors will learn how the Amazon ecosystem is balanced, from the fish in the floodwaters to the monkeys swinging through the canopy. This is the vibrant Amazon that has been traditionally portrayed in nature documentaries and films.
Unfortunately, the secret hidden by this verdant façade is an urgent one: deforestation and ecological degradation is on the rise in the Amazon, and the rainforest is in desperate need of help. The haunting works of Daniel Beltrá show scenes of this devastation viewed from overhead; an ecological apocalypse that gains a shocking and sterile beauty. Though this annihilation is manmade, no humans populate these desolate landscapes. Interspersed with these images will be skeletons of the animals that make the rainforest their home, inviting visitors to consider what is lost when the rainforest is destroyed.
Hope is found in the final stretch of the exhibition, where viewers will learn how the communities living in the Amazon have teamed up with scientists, artists, and politicians around the world to find new ways for both rainforest and humanity to prosper. These include initiatives towards sustainable rainforest resource use, such as harvesting rubber from wild rubber trees, and creating fisheries that support families without straining local fish populations.
Finally, the exhibition will highlight the work being done in the Bruce Museum’s very own Connecticut neighborhood to help the Amazon, such as the species conservation programs of the Beardsley Zoo.
Human activity has left the Amazon on the brink—but may still be able to save it.