Travel back to the Ice Age, forward to a future in outer space, north to the Arctic or south to Cape Fear during a weekend of fun for all ages as the University of Iowa Pentacrest Museums host Family Weekend Saturday and Sunday, April 19 and 20.
During this annual event, the Old Capitol Museum and the Museum of Natural History will feature a variety of free public programs geared towards children and families.
Saturday events include:
• Doug Litwiller, aka Professor KW Therm, will present “All Things Energy” at 11 a.m. in Macbride Auditorium. Litwiller, the associate director of energy conservation for UI Facilities Management, will give audience members a light-hearted look at ways to reduce home energy consumption.
• Don Johnson, “The Fossil Guy,” will present “Chewing Up the Ice Age” at 2 p.m. in Macbride Auditorium. Johnson, an amateur paleontologist, will focus on the teeth of ice age creatures like mammoths, mastodons, and sabertooth cats, paying special attention to the ground sloths and mammoths excavated by crews from the Museum of Natural History. A hands-on Q&A session will follow.
• Old Capitol Museum will screen the documentary A 28,000-Mile Journey Around the Americas at 1:30 p.m. The film tells the story of the Ocean Watch, a vessel that sailed the Northwest Passage and circumnavigated North and South America, recording the environmental change the crew saw along the way.
• Another film, The Greely Expedition, will follow at 3 p.m. Shown in conjunction with the "People of the North Star” exhibit, the movie chronicles Adolphus Greely’s ill-fated scientific expedition to the Far North, which ended in shipwreck, mutiny and cannibalism.
Sunday events include:
• The Museum of Natural History will screen the Pixar favorite Wall-E as part of its Earth Month Movie Series, at 3 p.m. in Macbride Auditorium. Left alone for centuries on a polluted Earth abandoned by humans, trash-collecting robot Wall-E meets and falls in love with sleek search robot Eve, then follows her aboard the humans’ space cruise-ship, eventually launching a mutiny against the ship’s computer.
• The Old Capitol Museum will feature the film Minik at 1:30 p.m., also in conjunction with the “People of the North Star” exhibit. In 1897, Robert Peary returned to New York from his latest Arctic expedition with five Eskimos for study at the American Museum of Natural History. Anthropology regarded the Eskimos as a rare species. Within months, four of the Eskimos died, leaving a young boy, Minik, alone in a foreign land. This program offers a thought-provoking look at the intersection of race, culture and the budding science of anthropology at the turn of the 20th century.
Throughout the weekend both museums will feature activity tables and demonstrations on themes like water usage, conservation, recycling, and protecting the environment.
The Museum of Natural History is also collaborating with Sesame Street Live (coming to Cedar Rapids April 29 and 30) for a ticket giveaway to participants who stop by the Extinct and Endangered Animal table in Mammal Hall and put their name in the drawing after making their own animal puppet to take home.
Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all UI-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this program, contact the Pentacrest Museums in advance at 319-335-2010.