Black Girls Reconnect With History?

It had been far too long since I visited the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, so I was intrigued when I was invited by Lenora Brown for a tour to learn about their upcoming events.


Thinking back, it's probably been over 20 years since a young Shana hopped off a school bus and walked through the doors to learn about fossils.  This memory came back to me as I entered the main lobby to check in and meet Lenora for the day.

When I connected with Lenora, she showed me the plans for the $120 million Centennial Transformation Project already underway.  She told me about their upcoming exhibits, including the current Bearded Lady Project, and their events like the Friday night lectures and very popular Think and Drink with the Extinct.

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As I was learning about the museum’s changes and programs, Lenora told me about the plans for the animals. Wait, what animals, the dinosaurs, I thought.  After working through my confusion I asked her, do you currently have animals here?  Then we walked through the gift shop out of a door to the Perkins Wildlife Center.

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From touring the Perkins Wildlife Center I learned:

  • Invisible fencing provides what seems like an open space for the animals to roam but protects them from outside animals.

  • Animals have names like Calvin, Hobbs, Linus, and Lucy (Sadly, Lucy died recently.)

  • There are two types of foxes, raptors, bald eagles, otters, porcupines.

  • The area is open all year, but some of the paths are closed due to ice.

  • All of the animals and trees are native to NorthEast Ohio.

  • The overhead trail is opened to different animals on different days


The tour ended with a trip to the planetarium which again, I didn’t know they had. And as I walked to the parking garage, I saw them, the dinosaur fossils. After getting in my car I realized that I had been sleeping, or hibernating on the Natural History Museum.  It has way more to offer than just the prehistoric exhibits.

Looking back, I felt bad for not taking my kids there when they were little. I also realized that the museum was kind of a big deal. From attending their Friday night lectures, that my scientist friends love, and spending time in their research library, I was amazed at all the cool things that this hidden gem on Wade Oval has to offer.

Be sure to check out all of the events happening at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History including Think and Drink, Reel Science, and International Women and Girls in Science Day.