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Monarchs and Milkweed
A Story of Survival

Monarchs and Milkweed: A Story of Survival takes you on a journey into the world of butterflies and plants, and introduces the complex relationship between monarchs and milkweed. Explore how their very survival has been shaped over time by one another, as we travel through the seasons of a calendar year. Discover how both insect and plant grow and interact, culminating in a massive butterfly migration.

This exhibit explores the complex relationship between these two entities, as they each fight for survival in their own unique way, impacting one another’s development or success at every turn. The popularity of monarch butterflies is far reaching. Through this familiarity, complex topics can be made accessible and easily discoverable for visitors of all ages.


A series of freestanding furniture units create an exploratory space within the gallery, with opportunities for discovery at every turn. Built-in design flexibility means that the individual pieces work together or as separate, individual exhibit pieces that can be stationed throughout many galleries.

Rounding out the freestanding furniture components are two six-sided hexagons. The first is designed to give the visitor context on the larger view of the role of pollinators and their relationship to the environment. The second focuses on the diversity, utility, and beauty of the many species of milkweed native to North America.


The exhibit centerpiece is a recreation of the overwintering site in northern Mexico, where Eastern monarchs travel each year. Visitors are transported to an oyamel fir forest, where millions of monarch butterflies cluster in the branches, keeping warm as they await the spring.

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