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Stetson to celebrate Smithsonian Museum Day

Gillespie Museum Director Karen Cole describes the museum's largest display of amethyst, the 700-pound vug.

Stetson University and six other cultural museums throughout West Volusia will celebrate the Smithsonian Magazine’s National Museum Day on Saturday, Sept. 29. All participating local museums will be open to the public on Sept. 29, free of charge, with a ticket, reflecting the spirit of the Smithsonian Magazine, which emulates the free admission policy of the Smithsonian Institution’s Washington, D.C.-based properties. To receive your free Museum Day Live! Ticket for two people only, visit www.smithsonian.com/museumday, complete the online form, and your ticket will be emailed to you, or register for free passes on the event day at any of the participating museums.

Never before in the eight-year history of the annual Smithsonian Museum Day event, has West Volusia had as many participating venues. Stetson University, alone, has three sites on the DeLand campus, joining in the celebration, including the Gillespie Museum of Minerals, the Hand Art Center and the Natural History Museum inside Sage Science Center. All the exhibits will open at 10 a.m. and offer something for everyone.

The Gillespie Museum of Minerals, located at 234 E. Michigan Ave., will feature “Smithson, Smithsonite, and Smithsonian.” The exhibit offers an opportunity to learn more about James Smithson, first benefactor of the country’s national museum system, as well as a mineralogist.

Also at the Gillespie Museum, the opening of an exhibit titled “Wild Life: Protecting the Florida Black Bear,” inspired by Stetson graduate Krystal Sellers’ “Sorrowful.” The mixed media sculpture of a Florida Black Bear, winner of the 2012 Elizabeth Knight Sumner Purchase Award, is made from tire tread that Sellers collected from the side of State Road 40, the western corridor of the Florida Black Bear Scenic Byway. For more information, call (386) 822-7330, or visit www.stetson.edu/gillespie.

Stetson’s Homer and Dolly Hand Art Center, located on the university’s Palm Court/Quad, 139 E. Michigan Ave., houses the university’s extensive collection of art by Modernist painter Oscar Bluemner (1867-1938). Stetson’s Bluemner collection, which contains more than 1,000 pieces, was bequeathed to Stetson in 1997 by the artist’s daughter, Vera Bluemner Kouba. The current exhibition, Oscar Bluemner’s America: Walking Along a New Jersey Canal, and Drawings from the Collection of Arthur Goldberg will be on display. In addition, special children activities are planned, as well as an art book sale. For more information, call the Hand Art Center at (386) 822-7270, the Stetson University Art Department at (386) 822-7266 or visit http://www2.stetson.edu/handartcenter/.

Stetson’s Natural History Museum is displaying a new collection of bugs, birds, beasts and plants inside the Sage Science Center, 136 E. Minnesota Ave. Biology Professor and faculty Curator Missy Gibbs invites everyone to “play the bone game, go on a museum scavenger hunt and earn a museum badge!”

In addition to Stetson’s three museums, the other sites participating in West Volusia’s Smithsonian Museum Day are:

  • The DeLand House Museum and the Robert M. Conrad Educational & Research Center, home of the West Volusia Historical Society, located at 137 W. Michigan Ave. The DeLand Memorial Hospital Museum, which has eight galleries, is located at 230 N. Stone St. More information: (386) 740-6813, or visit www.delandhouse.com.
  • The Museum of Florida Art, located at 600 N. Woodland Blvd. More information: (386) 734-4371, or visit www.MuseumofFloridaArt.com.
  • DeBary Hall Historic Site, located on 198 Sunrise Blvd. DeBary. More information: (386) 668-3840, or visit www.debaryhall.com.

For additional cultural events scheduled in downtown DeLand during the weekend, visit Main Street Art and Culture, DeLand, at www.macdeland.com , and the Athens Theatre at www.athensdeland.org.