Art & Nature Center

Boy and Arctic Wolf

The Dotty Brown 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.

Please note: The museum is undergoing some exciting changes as it prepares for a major expansion with a new wing and reinstalled galleries (click here for more information). As part of this process, the Art & Nature Center Permanent Displays closed on September 18 and will reopen Saturday, December 3.

Changing Art & Nature Exhibitions

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

Get hands-on with the Moon in Lunar Attraction as you explore some of the many ways we are inspired by and drawn to our only natural satellite. On view in the Art & Nature Center.

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 at Connected.

Past Art & Nature Center Exhibitions

Sizing It Up: Scale in Nature and Art
Sizing It Up: Scale in Nature and Art
October 10, 2015 to September 18, 2016
Branching Out: Trees as Art
Branching Out: Trees as Art
September 27, 2014 to September 13, 2015
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

Related events For families

Draw with Words
Sunday, March 26, 2017 from 2pm - 3pm STORY TRAILS

Sail across a sea of words as we read A Child of Books by Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston. Then create your own typographical landscapes using newsprint, text cutouts and your imagination. 

PEM Pals
Wednesdays at 10:30am on Wednesday, March 29, 2017

This fun, interactive program with books, movement, music, art and hands-on activities is designed specifically for preschoolers and their caregivers.

PEM Pals
Wednesdays at 10:30am on Wednesday, April 5, 2017

This fun, interactive program with books, movement, music, art and hands-on activities is designed specifically for preschoolers and their caregivers.

PEM Pals
Wednesdays at 10:30am on Wednesday, April 12, 2017

This fun, interactive program with books, movement, music, art and hands-on activities is designed specifically for preschoolers and their caregivers.

Art-To-Wear
Tuesday, April 18, 2017 to Thursday, April 20, 2017 from 10am - 4pm SCHOOL VACATION WEEK

WOW® artists combine diverse fashion and sculpture techniques, technology and costume making to create works that spark the imagination. Join us this week to explore World of WearableArtTM exhibition through hands-on art making, demonstrations and storytelling. 

PEM Pals
Wednesdays at 10:30am on Wednesday, April 19, 2017

This fun, interactive program with books, movement, music, art and hands-on activities is designed specifically for preschoolers and their caregivers.

Naturally Musical
Sunday, April 23, 2017 from 2pm - 3pm STORY TRAILS

Follow a music lover's dream as we read David Litchfield's The Bear and the Piano. Then make your own instrument with natural materials and the help of Brazilian musician Ricardo Frota, founder of Ecology of Sound. 

PEM Pals
Wednesdays at 10:30am on Wednesday, April 26, 2017

This fun, interactive program with books, movement, music, art and hands-on activities is designed specifically for preschoolers and their caregivers.