Tag Archives: Berkshire Museum

Save the Date ~ Screening of My Film “Life Story of the Black Swallowtail Butterfly”

On August 16th at the Berkshire Museum they’ll be showing a double header of sorts. Earlier in the afternoon at 2:00pm is a presentation of my program on how to attract butterflies and pollinators to your garden, titled “The Pollinator Garden,” followed by a showing of my film Life Story of the Black Swallowtail Butterfly, followed by a Q & A. The event is part of the “Butterflies” exhibit currently on display at the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield. I hope you can come join me!

Black Swallowtail osmeterium ©Kim Smith 2011 copy

In the above photo, the orange horn-like structure at the top of the caterpillar’s head is called an osmeterium. When the caterpillar is distressed, it everts the osmeterium. The osmeterium is thought to be a mimic of a snake’s tongue and is a defense against would-be predators such as birds. Additionally, a horrible smelly odor is released from the osmeterium, which can be smelled from a distance of up to ten feet away, and is yet another defense mechanism!

See previous GMG posts about the “Butterflies” exhibit here.

 Butterflies at the Berkshire

Museum Map to Berkshire Museum Provided by GMG FOB Catherine Ryan

Exciting New Film Assignment for the Berkshire Museum Black Swallowtail Butterfly Male ©Kim Smith 2013

Thank you to Our Sweet Friend and GMG Contributor Catherine Ryan

I met Catherine initially through my work designing the HarborWalk gardens as she was very much involved with making the wonderful granite story markers placed throughout the HarborWalk (she also had a hand in many aspects of the HarborWalk’s creation). Catherine is a regular contributor to Good Morning Gloucester and her posts most often feature the work of Gloucester artists, along with covering a wide range of art and cultural related events.

I am so appreciative of our friendship, and also want to highlight some of the valuable volunteer pro bono work she does as the Mayor’s Representative on Gloucester’s Committee for the Arts. In that capacity, she works with the steering committee for the Gloucester Harbortown Cultural District,  provides on-going expertise for the Gloucester HarborWalk, and works on countless other statewide and New England regional outreach projects, coordinating with many cultural districts beyond our own.

As you may or may not be aware, Catherine created the interactive Google map with over 100 sites and images by Edward Hopper from his many visits to Gloucester: See Edward Hopper All Around Gloucester here.

image001Gloucester to Berkshires Map by Catherine Ryan. Click to view larger.

I was so touched by Catherine that she made the above map for my participation in the Berkshire Museum’s exhibit “Butterflies” and for my upcoming film screenings there. On Friday I learned that the Museum has scheduled a showing of Life Story of the Black Swallowtail Butterfly to air on Sunday, July 13th. We are planning additional activities around the event and I will keep you posted. So many thanks to Catherine for making this helpful map and providing a handy visual for GMG readers planning to make the trek out to Pittsfield and the Berkshires. 

Catherine writes ~

“I am SO HAPPY for you! Here’s a visual map to Western MA and proximity of some of the major Berkshire art & cultural highlights including 5 nearby Cultural Districts.

Gloucester to Berkshire Museum, Pittsfield, MA 169 miles
Berkshire Museum to Mass MoCA 35 miles
Berkshire Museum to newly re-opened Clark 31 miles
Berkshire Museum to Tanglewood 14 minutes
Berkshire Museum to Amherst (many museums in this area, too) approx. 1 hour and twenty minutes

*Gloucester has 2 Cultural Districts and Pittsfield has one also. There are 4 other cultural districts in western MA (3 are within the Amherst vicinity): Springfield, Northampton, Easthampton + Shelburne.”

Ginormous Moth and Live Butterflies at the Berkshire Museum!

In the above Vine from the Berkshire Museum exhibit “Butterflies,” you can catch a glimpse of the ginormous Attacus atlas, the world’s largest moth. Atlas Moths are found in the tropical and subtropical forests of Southeast Asia and are common across the Malay archipelago. The female Atlas Moth, which is appreciably larger than the male, may have a wingspan of up to ten inches-imagine, nearly a foot! Attacus atlas is a member of the Saturn Family of moths, as are the North American Luna and Cecropia Moths. For comparison sake, our gorgeous Cecropia Moth has a wingspan of up to six inches.

Attacus atlas1280px-Atlas_Seidenspinne_Park_Uslar_5Images courtesy of wikicommons

Butterflies! at the Berkshire Museum

Paul Villinski Arcus ©Kim Smith 2014Detail of Paul Villinski’s “Arcus,” made from recycled cans

Berkshire Museum ©Kim Smith 2014 Sam JaffeMy friend Sam Jaffe talking about caterpillars.

Friday night I had the joy to attend the fabulous new exhibit at the Berkshire Museum titled “Butterflies!” The galleries are filled with hands on art and science activities, contemporary butterfly sculpture, artifacts from the museum’s collections, live caterpillars, and mixed media of photography and film, including an audio track from Dr. Lincoln Brower discussing what happens within a chrysalis. And, as part of the exhibit, one of the galleries houses a large butterfly pavilion with over 200 live tropical butterflies from around the world!

Blue Morpho Butterfly ©Kim Smith 2014Underwings of the Blue Morpho Butterfly from the live butterfly pavillion. 

“Butterflies” was curated by Maria Mingalone, the museum’s director of interpretation, and she deftly and beautifully combines science, art, and nature in an exhibit that is sure to inspire and delight the very youngest to the most senior of citizens, and every age in between! Butterflies Berkshire Museum ©Kim Smith 2014  copy The opening was very joyful and buoyant—I most certainly felt that way and, judging from the expressions on visitor’s faces, wasn’t alone. I am convinced that butterflies bring out the happy in people! Kim Smith film Berkshire Museum Butterflies ©Kim Smith 2014JPG The audience for my short film “Flight of the Monarchs”—I watched as many people watched my film many times over, despite the case that because the galleries were so crowded you couldn’t hear the beautiful music. I think there were several thousand people at the event.

The music that I set my film to is “Fields of Blue,” written  and performed by Jesse Cook. I wrote the artist and sent him a copy of my film and the most amazing thing happened where, within only the few day whirlwind to create this little film, we were granted permission to use his song!!!!!!!!

My film opens with a clip of a Monarch flying in front of Eastern Point Lighthouse (you can see our Lighthouse in the above photo). Most of the footage that I used for the movie was of butterflies in flight, shot on Cape Ann, and the audience was stunned at how beautiful the migration is through Gloucester. That opening clip of the Lighthouse and the Monarch took several days to capture the exact shot that I wanted. Butterflies don’t take direction! Berkshire Museum ©Kim Smith 2014 -2Berkshire Museum Kim Smith 2014 1JPGSome of my photos were used to illustrate Dr. Brower’s audio recording explaining what happens inside a chyrsalis

 Sam Jaffe Kathy©Kim Smith 2014 copySam and his fiance Kathy, also a graduate student in environmental studies.

Berkshire Museum © Kim Smith 2014JPG

If you have never been to the Berkshire Museum, their website description reads as follows: “The Berkshire Museum offers a unique array of exhibitions, activities, and attractions for visitors of all ages. From fine art and ancient objects to fossils; from an aquarium of native and exotic creatures to the Feigenbaum Hall of Innovation, we are your community museum: a place where everyone, from toddlers to elders, can learn, play, explore, innovate, be engaged and inspired.”

I arrived early, before “Butterflies” opened its door, and explored the galleries. It’s really a very engaging museum and especially while the exhibit is running, would be a wonderfully fun and interesting day trip with children.

Sam Jaffe ©Kim Smith 2014Sam Jaffe making final adjustments to the chrysalis and cocoon display. To see some of Sam’s stunning photography, click on his website here: Sam Jaffee

Olive Ridley skeleton ©Kim Smith 2014Olive Ridley Skeleton at the Berkshire Museum

See more photos from the Berkshire Museum galleries Read more

Exciting New Film Assignment for the Berkshire Museum and Milkweed Seed Mailing Update

Dear Friends,

Happy Memorial Day Weekend! I hope today finds you with friends and family and enjoying beautiful weather!

I have wonderful news to share about an upcoming exhibit at the Berkshire Museum in which I have been hired to create a film about butterflies in flight. The title of the exhibit is, what else—Butterflies! They have also purchased 26 of my butterfly photographs. Additionally, during the exhibit, my interview film with Tom Emmel will be running on a continuous loop, as will the new short film about butterflies in flight. And best of all, screenings of my full-length Black Swallowtail film and Monarch film will be shown during meet the filmmaker events. This is a fantastic educational project, with a 5,000 square foot exhibit space, which will also house live butterflies. It’s a truly hands-on exhibit, designed with children and adults in mind!

“Butterflies” is scheduled to run through August and will most probably be extended though September. I am attending the opening this coming Friday, May 30th and will take photos and bring you more information about the Berkshire Museum and the exhibit.

Our Cape Ann Milkweed Project went without a hitch and was lots of fun. Most picked up their seeds and if you sent a self-addressed stamped envelope, your package is ready to mail Tuesday morning. So many thanks to Joey for sponsoring the Cape Ann Milkweed Project at Captain Joe and Sons. Thank you so much to everyone that participated, and most importantly, the Monarchs (and myriad other species of pollinators) thank you!!!

Happy Spring Planting!

DSCF3768Monarch Butterfly and Hellenium