Friday, March 02, 2012

Mythic Creatures and Congress [with Video]

I went to a party last night and was pleasantly surprised when a strategic civic discussion was instigated by a sitting member of Congress.

I was there at the invitation of my good friend Kathryn Hall, the Diva of Diversity, who seems to have a finger in promoting so many of the positive developments that take place in our community. So when she suggested I attend I circled the date.

The event was a preview party for an fascinating new exhibit on mythic creatures at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History in University Circle.

After a brief greeting and overview of museum activity from executive director/CEO Evalyn Gates, invertebrate paleontologist Michael Ryan offered the audience a short and amusing slide show presentation on the new Mythic Creatures exhibit.

Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur arrived shortly after the program began. Kaptur sightings are undoubtedly more frequent in Greater Cleveland since the Republican-dominated Ohio General Assembly redrew Ohio’s Congressional districts in an unconscionably partisan manner. The new District 9 combines major portions of Kaptur’s current Toledo-based current district with Dennis Kucinich’s current northwest Cuyahoga County district, along with parts of Lorain County new to both of them. Results of next Tuesday’s Democratic primary will likely signal the end of one their Congressional careers following their increasingly strident primary campaign.

But here was Kaptur in University Circle, which is outside even the new district that she hopes to be representing next year. Refreshingly, she was speaking not of politics but of possibility.

Kaptur urged Museum officials to look to the commercial and educational benefits of collaborating with regional cultural partners to enhance Cleveland and northeast Ohio as a destination stop. You can see video of her twelve minute talk here and here.
It was refreshing to hear an elected public official speak strategically and positively. She never mentioned her campaign or her rival, but if there were Westside Cuyahogans in the audience, she gave them a glimpse of what Congressional leadership looks like. Come to think of it, she did that for east siders as well.

Mythic Creatures: Dragons, Unicorns & Mermaids
If you are a fan of other worlds, or if you have children or grandchildren either with imagination or whose imaginations need stirring, this is a must-see exhibit. It opens tomorrow and runs through July 1, 2012.
Museum CEO Evalyn Gates writes of the exhibit in the current issue of Tracks,  the museum’s bimonthly publication:

Mythic Creatures is definitely a science exhibit—and you will almost certainly come away having learned something new about the natural world. But it is also an exploration of the connections between science and culture—the ways in which observations of natural phenomena are integrated into the stories and legends of cultures around the world, and the insights we gain from using science to search for the origins of these stories.[Source]

Cleveland's Museum of Natural History has a track record of mounting exhibits that offer neat twists on one’s understanding of natural history. Its current exhibit, Polar Obsessions, ends its run this Sunday, so if you can make it there this weekend, you can catch both exhibits on one visit.


Pat said...

If only Marcy Kaptor were better at women's health, the environment, and war/peace, I might agree with you.

Richard said...

Thanks for weighing in, Pat. My point was certainly not that all of her policy positions were exemplary or ones that I agree with, but that her presentation was a too rare instance of where an elected official had a thoughtful idea about how to improve a community outside of the normal campaign promise mode.