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.

Changing Art & Nature Exhibitions

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

Discover how contemporary artists are using visual scale to expand our awareness of the world and to foster new ways of seeing in Sizing it Up: Scale in Nature and Art. On view now 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

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
In Nature's Company
In Nature's Company
October 9, 2004 to September 18, 2005

Related events For families

LUNAR NEW YEAR
Saturday, February 13, 2016 from 10am - 4pm WEEKEND FESTIVAL

The Chinese Lunar New Year is a 15-day celebration marking the start of the new year. Join us for this annual celebration as we mark the Year of the Monkey.

 

10 am-4 pm

DROP-IN ART ACTIVITY
Lucky Lanterns
Create Space

Design your own lantern with local artist, author and illustrator Jennifer DeCristoforo. She developed the Lucky Bamboo Book of Crafts to share a connection with her adopted Chinese daughter's native culture.

 

11-11:45 am

PERFORMANCES
Gund Kwok: Lion Dance
Atrium

Kick off PEM's Lunar New Year celebrations with a lion dance performance by Gund Kwok, the only all-women lion dance group in the country. The Gund Kwok Lion Cubs, a group of 6- to 9-year-olds who have mastered lion dance skills, get the festivities started.

 

Noon-12:40 pm and 2-2:40 pm

Chinese Dulcimer Guzheng Youth Band
Morse Auditorium

Join us for performances by young musicians who have mastered ancient Chinese string instruments.

 

Noon-12:30 pm and 2-2:30 pm

INTERACTIVE PERFORMANCES
Ribbon Dance
East India Marine Hall

Watch professional dancer Liwen Wang demonstrate the art of ribbon dancing. Then learn some moves as she invites audience members to take part in a short performance.

 

12:30-1 pm and 2:30-3 pm

Boston Synchrony Chinese Percussion Ensemble
Music and Drumming
East India Marine Hall

Learn more about Chinese percussion from Boston Synchrony Chinese Percussion Ensemble led by teacher and conductor Dr. Chi-Sun Chan. The ensemble performs traditional Chinese percussion music and provides demonstrations. Audience participation welcome!

 

1-1:45 pm

PERFORMANCE
Chinese Folk Art Workshop
Atrium

Members of the Chinese Folk Art Workshop, all between the ages of 12 and 18, perform Chinese dances. Also see another lion dance, drumming and the diabolo (a traditional Chinese yo-yo) in action.

 

3 pm

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

Peek into the world of a group of 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

 

Zoom in on Scale!
Monday, February 15, 2016 from 10:30am - 4pm SCHOOL VACATION WEEK

Explore the art and ideas in Sizing It Up: Scale in Nature and Art as we shrink things down to get new perspectives on the world around us - and beyond!

 

10:30 am-4 pm

COLLABORATIVE ART MAKING
Galactic Muraling
Atrium

Join Sizing It Up artist and painter Jill Pabich to create an installation of the cosmos.  Make your own galactic-inspired art using photos by astrophotographer Robert Gendler.

 

10:30-11 am

STORY TIME
Tiny Creatures: The World of Microbes
Bartlett Gallery

All around us are millions of microscopic creatures, but what are they, and what would they look like if we could see them?

 

10:30 am-12:30 pm and 1-3 pm

DROP-IN ART MAKING
Mini-Scenes with a Big Appetite
Create Space

Create your own mini-scene inspired by Sizing It Up artist Christopher Boffoli's Big Appetites series using tiny figures in a food landscape.

 

1-4 pm

Twisted Critters
Art Nook, Art & Nature Center

Design a small-scale animal menagerie using pipe cleaners and your imagination.

Zoom in on Scale!
Tuesday, February 16, 2016 from 10:30am - 4pm SCHOOL VACATION WEEK (continued)

Explore the art and ideas in Sizing It Up: Scale in Nature and Art as we shrink things down to get new perspectives on the world around us - and beyond!

 

10:30 am-4 pm

COLLABORATIVE ART MAKING
Galactic Muraling
Atrium

Join Sizing It Up artist and painter Jill Pabich to create an installation of the cosmos.  Make your own galactic-inspired art using photos by astrophotographer Robert Gendler.

 

10:30 am-12:30 pm and 1-3 pm

DROP-IN ART MAKING
Mini-Scenes with a Big Appetite
Create Space

Create your own mini-scene inspired by Sizing It Up artist Christopher Boffoli's Big Appetites series using tiny figures in a food landscape.

 

11-11:40 am and 1:30-2:10 pm

PERFORMANCE
The Amazing Nano Brothers Juggling Show
Morse Auditorium
Recommended for ages 4 to adult
Tickets available day of program

Join Dan Foley and Joel Harris, an accomplished comedian juggling performing duo, as they navigate their way through atoms and molecules in the tiny world of nanoscale science.

 

1-4 pm

DROP-IN ART MAKING
Twisted Critters
Art Nook, Art & Nature Center

Design a small-scale animal menagerie using pipe cleaners and your imagination.

 

 

PEM Pals
Wednesdays from 10:30am - 11:30am on Wednesday, February 17, 2016

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

Stay tuned for Winter/Spring PEM Pals listings!

Here is our list of PEM Pals favorite books of 2014.

Read The Inside Story: PEM Pals continues to grow from Connections magazine.

Zoom in on Scale!
Thursday, February 18, 2016 from 10:30am - 4pm SCHOOL VACATION WEEK (continued)

Explore the art and ideas in Sizing It Up: Scale in Nature and Art as we shrink things down to get new perspectives on the world around us - and beyond!

 

10:30 am-noon and 12:30-2 pm

DEMONSTRATION
Terrarium Plantscapes
Atrium

Connect to your roots as you explore plant terrariums. See a variety of terrariums, and watch new ones come to life as you learn everything you need to know about making your own.

 

10:30 am-noon

WORKSHOP
Snow Globe Worlds
Create Space
Tickets available day of program

Learn how to make a snow globe and create your own miniaturized spherical world to take home.

 

1-4 pm

DROP-IN ART MAKING
Mini Canvas Art
Create Space

Create a miniature masterpiece as you paint a scene of your choice on a tiny canvas.

 

Zoom in on Scale!
Friday, February 19, 2016 from 10:30am - 4pm SCHOOL VACATION WEEK (continued)

Explore the art and ideas in Sizing It Up: Scale in Nature and Art as we shrink things down to get new perspectives on the world around us - and beyond!

 

10:30 am-noon and 12:30-2 pm

Terrarium Plantscapes
Atrium

Connect to your roots as you explore plant terrariums. See a variety of terrariums, and watch new ones come to life as you learn everything you need to know about making your own.

 

10:30-11 am

STORY TIME
Tiny Creatures: The World of Microbes
Bartlett Gallery

All around us are millions of microscopic creatures, but what are they, and what would they look like if we could see them?

 

10:30 am-noon

WORKSHOP
Snow Globe Worlds
Create Space
Tickets available day of program

Learn how to make a snow globe and create your own miniaturized spherical world to take home.

 

11 am-2 pm

Drop-in Art Making
Twisted Critters
Create Space

Design a small-scale animal menagerie using pipe cleaners and your imagination.

 

1-4 pm

Drop-in Art Making
Shrinking Nature Art
Create Space

Create a Shrinky Dink design inspired by nature and watch it shrink in size before your eyes!

 

 

PEM Pals
Wednesdays from 10:30am - 11:30am on Wednesday, February 24, 2016

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

Stay tuned for Winter/Spring PEM Pals listings!

Here is our list of PEM Pals favorite books of 2014.

Read The Inside Story: PEM Pals continues to grow from Connections magazine.