Art & Nature Center

Boy and Arctic Wolf

Art & Nature Center

Completely redesigned, the expanded Art & Nature Center showcases original exhibitions that investigate our interconnections with nature through contemporary art, memorable objects and interactive experiences. Designed for visitors of all ages, the new family-friendly center features changing exhibitions, hands-on displays and art-making spaces.

Changing Art & Nature Exhibitions

These revolving shows explore timely topics at the interface of human experience and the natural world.

Our exhibition, Branching Out: Trees as Art, opened September 27th. Come explore art inspired by and made with trees!

Check out all of our Past Art & Nature Center Exhibitions below.

Art & Nature Displays

Discover art and natural specimens from the museum's collection that reveal stories about our evolving relationship with nature. Interactive sculptures and exploratory stations also invite you to play and invent as you investigate your own connections with the environment. The Investigate! Zone, with its fun things to do and create on low tables, shows toddlers and preschoolers there's a place here for them, too!

Art-making Spaces

Exercise your creativity at PEM! Visit the Art Nook and Create Space for a wide range of drop-in programs and art-making workshops. (See the Events Calendar for details.)


Check out the latest blog posts about the center by Meg Winikates, Art & Nature Center Programs Coordinator at Connected.

Past Art & Nature Center Exhibitions

Beyond Human: Artist–Animal Collaborations
Beyond Human: Artist–Animal Collaborations
October 19, 2013 to September 7, 2014
Ripple Effect, The Art of H2O
Ripple Effect, The Art of H2O
June 18, 2011 to July 8, 2012
Eye Spy, Playing with Perception
Eye Spy, Playing with Perception
June 19, 2010 to May 22, 2011
Trash Menagerie
Trash Menagerie
June 20, 2009 to May 23, 2010
Polar Attractions
Polar Attractions
June 28, 2008 to June 7, 2009
Origami Now!
Origami Now!
June 16, 2007 to June 8, 2008
A Sense of Place, An Artist's Tribute to the Seven Continents
A Sense of Place, An Artist's Tribute to the Seven Continents
December 16, 2006 to June 3, 2007
Owls in Art and Nature
Owls in Art and Nature
October 1, 2005 to December 3, 2006
In Nature's Company
In Nature's Company
October 9, 2004 to September 18, 2005

Related events For families

Lunar New Year
Saturday, February 28, 2015 from 10am - 4pm Weekend Festival

Join us for performances and activities as we celebrate the Year of the Goat.

 

Drop-in Art Activity

Lucky Lanterns
10 am-4 pm | Studio 1 | Create Space

Lanterns are an important part of Lunar New Year celebrations. Design your own with local artist, author and illustrator Jennifer DeCristoforo.

 

Performance

Gund Kwok: Lion Dance
11-11:45 am | Atrium

Help us kick off the celebrations with a lion dance performance by Gund Kwok, the only all-women lion dance group in the country.

 

Interactive Performances

Ribbon Dance
Noon-12:30 pm and 2-2:30 pm
East India Marine Hall

Professional dancer Liwen Wang demonstrate the art of ribbon dancing.

 

Boston Synchrony Chinese Percussion Ensemble 
12:30-1 pm and 2:30-3 pm
East India Marine Hall

Led by Dr. Chi-Sun Chan, the ensemble performs traditional Chinese percussion music and provides demonstrations. Audience participation encouraged!

 

Performance

Chinese Dulcimer Guzheng Youth Band
Noon and 2 pm | Morse Auditorium

Join us for two 40-minute performances by young musicians who have mastered ancient Chinese string instruments. A nonprofit organization founded in 2007, the band promotes Chinese instrumental music and culture in the United States and seeks to improve children's appreciation of Chinese music.

 

Performance

Chinese Folk Art Workshop
1-1:45 pm | Atrium

Members of The Chinese Folk Art Workshop, all between the ages of 12 and 18, perform traditional Chinese dances.

 

Art Cart

Double Happiness: Celebration in Chinese Art
1-3 pm | Level 2 Gallery

Drop by and get hands on in the galleries! Explore more with our interactive Art Cart. Touch objects, experiment with art-making techniques and discover stories about the art around you.

 

Gallery Spot

Up Close with Silk
1-3 pm | Level 2 Gallery

Drop by the exhibition Fish, Silk, Tea, Bamboo: Cultivating an Image of China to meet a museum educator and explore this elegant material.

 

Film

Little Shaolin Monks
3 pm | Morse Auditorium
Recommended for ages 10 and up
Seats are first-come, first-served

Peek into the mysterious world of these 6- to 9-year-olds who live in the Shaolin Temple and practice the highest form of martial arts. 2007, 45 minutes, in Chinese with English subtitles.

 

Made possible by The Lowell Institute

 

Learning by Design
Saturday, March 21, 2015 from 1pm - 3pm Studio Discoveries

Design, construct and explore at the intersection of art and architecture.
Learning By Design works in partnership with the Boston Society of Architects to provide design education to kids and adults.

 

Made possible by American Dental Partners

Rainbow Symphony
Sunday, March 29, 2015 from 2pm - 3pm STORY TRAILS

What would it be like to hear the colors you see? How would you turn that music into art? Join us as we read The Noisy Paint Box by author Barb Rosenstock and then create wind chimes with colorful found materials.

Slow Art Day 2015
Saturday, April 11, 2015 from 10am - 2pm

slow art day

Join the grassroots event with a simple mission: help more people discover the joy of looking at art. Explore suggested works in the galleries at your own pace. Then, join fellow visitors for lunch in the Atrium at 1 pm to discuss what you saw and felt.

 

Register at slowartday.com
Woodshop
Saturday, April 18, 2015 from 1pm - 3pm Studio Discoveries

Teacher, woodworker and jack-of-all-trades “Handy Tam” shows you how to hammer, clamp, saw and paint your own wooden creations.

 

Made possible by American Dental Partners

Let it Grow – School Vacation Week
Tuesday, April 21, 2015 from 10:30am - 4pm

Spread your branches to celebrate the return of spring and join our Earth Day festivities!

STORY TIME

The Leaf Men
10:30-11 am | meet at information desk

Who are the mysterious Leaf Men and can they save the backyard from the evil Spider Queen?

 

COLLABORATIVE ART MAKING

Bark Building
10:30 am-1 pm | outside the museum

Join Branching Out artist Kyle Browne to create a forest mural along the front of the museum.

 

DROP-IN ART MAKING

Seedling Pots
11 am-2 pm | Create Space

Decorate a seedling pot and be ready to plant for spring! Early participants also get an evergreen tree seedling to take home.

 

ARTIST DEMONSTRATION

Tree Eavesdropping
1-3 pm, | outside the museum

Meet Branching Out artist and Maker Lounge Artist-in-Residence David Yann Robert and learn how to eavesdrop on the inner life of a tree, then create an original artwork.

 

DROP-IN ART MAKING

Leaf Carpet
1-4 pm | Atrium

Compose patterns and original designs with laminated leaves, inspired by the work of Branching Out artist Joan Backes.

 


Let it Grow – School Vacation Week (cont.)
Wednesday, April 22, 2015 from 10:30am - 4pm

Spread your branches to celebrate the return of spring and join our Earth Day festivities!

 

COLLABORATIVE ART MAKING

Bark Building
10:30 am-1 pm | outside the museum

Join Branching Out artist Kyle Browne to create a forest mural along the front of the museum.

 

DROP-IN ART MAKING

Leaf-Litter Paper
11 am-2 pm | Create Space

Get hands on with nature to create some beautiful paper made from natural materials.

 

ARTIST DEMONSTRATION

Tree Eavesdropping
1-3 pm, | outside the museum

Meet Branching Out artist and Maker Lounge Artist-in-Residence David Yann Robert and learn how to eavesdrop on the inner life of a tree, then create an original artwork.

 

DROP-IN ART MAKING

Leaf Carpet
1-4 pm | Atrium

Compose patterns and original designs with laminated leaves, inspired by the work of Branching Out artist Joan Backes.

 


Let it Grow – School Vacation Week (cont.)
Thursday, April 23, 2015 from 10:30am - 4pm

Spread your branches to celebrate the return of spring and join our Earth Day festivities!

 

STORY TIME

The Great Kapok Tree
10:30–11 am | meet at information desk

Will the animals of the rainforest be able to save the Great Kapok Tree?

DROP-IN ART MAKING

Seed Balls
11 am–2 pm | Create Space

Get ready for the growing season by shaping a ball of local wildflower seeds to plant by tossing!

ARTIST DEMONSTRATION

Birch-Bark Art
11 am–1 pm | Atrium

Find out how Branching Out artist David Moses Bridges works with the properties of birch bark to create baskets, canoes and more!

 

DROP-IN ART MAKING

Leaf Carpet
1-4 pm | Atrium

Compose patterns and original designs with laminated leaves, inspired by the work of Branching Out artist Joan Backes.

 

WORKSHOP

Birch-Bark Etching
2–3 pm | Create Space
For ages 9 and up with an adult
Reservations by April 20

Create an original etched birch-bark panel with Branching Out artist David Moses Bridges.


Tree Tales
Sunday, April 26, 2015 from 2pm - 3pm STORY TRAILS

What could a tree tell us if it could talk? Meet Susan Coolidge, author of The Stories Trees Tell, create some tree-inspired art and find out more about the amazing world of trees.