Pelicans, thermal image. Image courtesy Dr. L. Witmer, Dr. R. Porter, and Dr. G. Tattersall.

Dinosaur Bone, microscope section under cross-polar light. Image courtesy of Dr. Kristi Curry-Rogers.

Hog-Nosed Snake With Prey, CT Scan. Image courtesy of Dr. Ed Stanley and Dr. David Blackburn.

Under the Skin

February 1, 2020 - November 29, 2020

Roosterfish, cleared and stained specimen. Image courtesy of Dr. Matthew Girard.


Under the Skin Virtual Exhibit Tour

On this site, you can explore the objects and visualizations displayed in the physical exhibition along with bonus content and links to help explore more deeply. 

Nature is full of beauty, at scales great and small. Under the Skin highlights a dozen recent discoveries through a combination of remarkable imagery and real biological specimens. While each represents a research breakthrough, these striking and in many cases prize-winning images can rightfully be considered art in their own right. 

Under the Skin samples images made possible by a remarkable array of technologies—CT scanning, infrared cameras, scanning electron microscopes and more—that allow scientists to visualize the marvels of evolution that lie below the surface. All of the images presented in the exhibition were captured in the last five years, thus representing the cutting edge of modern imaging. Many showcase amazing discoveries that were undreamt of just a decade ago. Natural history specimens from the Bruce Museum and on loan from other collections complement each image and reinforce the role of museums as stewards of natural history. 

Visitors will learn how we can peer into the inner ear of a frog smaller than a pistachio, count the unborn babies inside a pregnant tiger shark, and reveal the age of a ten-ton dinosaur from microscopic structures in its bones. Exploring the relationship between light and nature, visitors will discover that flying squirrels can glow a fluorescent pink, pelican pouches burst into color in infrared, and macaroni penguins have invented their own special brand of the color yellow. 

As part of the exhibition lecture series, world-renowned scientists, many whose work will be highlighted in the exhibition, will visit the Bruce Museum to share their discoveries. A scholarly research symposium will bring together faculty, postdocs, and graduate students from the American Museum of Natural History, UCONN, Yale, and beyond for a day of presentations and discussion, freely open to the public.

The Bruce Museum is grateful for exhibition support from a Committee of Honor Co-Chaired by Sue Baker, Ingrid Delson, Lisette Henrey, Gale and Bob Lawrence, and Dr. Kim Nichols. Additional support for Bruce Museum exhibitions is generously provided by the 2019-20 Bruce Museum Council, Charles M. and Deborah G. Royce Exhibition Fund, the Connecticut Office of the Arts, and Sylvia and Leonard Marx, Jr.