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

PEM Pals
Wednesdays at 10:30am on Wednesday, January 25, 2017

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

LUNAR NEW YEAR FESTIVAL
Saturday, January 28, 2017 from 10am - 4pm WEEKEND FESTIVAL

Celebrate the Year of the Rooster with music, art making and other traditions, including colorful lion dances.

 

PERFORMANCES

Cubs Lion Dance
11am - 11:30am | Atrium

Help us kick off the festival with a lion dance performance by The Cubs of Gund Kwok. These young dancers (ages 6 to 9) have mastered the strength, skill, and coordination required to perform this tradition.


Lion Dance
11:30am - 12pm | Atrium

Gund Kwok Asian Women's Lion Dance Troupe, the only all-women lion dance group in the country, performs this traditional dance to ward off evil for the coming year. After the show, talk to some of their performers and get up close with their costumes.

 

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

Members of The Chinese Folk Art Workshop, all between the ages of 12 and 18, present traditional dances for the New Year. Listen to drumming, watch graceful performances, and see a diabolo (a traditional Chinese yo-yo) in action.

 

Guzheng Youth Band
12-12:40 pm and 2-2:40pm | Morse Auditorium
Seats are first-come, first-served

Join us for 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.

 

WORKSHOP

Jianzi / Chinese Hacky Sack 
Noon-1:00 pm and 2-3:00 pm| East India Marine Hall

Create your own Jianzi -- a chinese version of a shuttlecock or hacky sack -- then learn how to play this traditional Chinese folk sport with Martin Lee of FreestyleMotions. 

 

DROP-IN ART MAKING

Zodiac Rooster Puppets
10am - 4pm | Atrium 

Celebrate the Year of the Rooster by creating a puppet to take home.

 

COLLABORATIVE ART MAKING

Dragon Parade Costume
12pm - 3:30pm | Atrium 

Contribute to our colorful dragon, designed by artist Jennifer DeCristoforo! Decorate your own dragon scale and attach it to the costume. At 3:30pm, watch the costume dance through the Atrium.

 

PEM Pals
Wednesdays at 10:30am on Wednesday, February 1, 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, February 8, 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, February 15, 2017

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

Lunar Landing 2.0
Monday, February 20, 2017 from 10:30am - 4pm SCHOOL VACATION WEEK

Investigate the science, technology and innovation driving lunar exploration. Immerse yourself in a portable planetarium, design a spacecraft, plan a lunar colony and much more!

 

DROP-IN ART MAKING

Lunar Module Engineering
10:30 am-4 pm | Atrium

Design a lunar module model for transporting astronauts between the Moon's surface and their orbiting spacecraft.

 

COLLABORATIVE ART MAKING

Lunar Mission: Make a Moon Colony
10:30 am-4 pm | Create Space

Design a portion of a Moon colony with artist/educator Kimberly Aaronson as museum guests join together to create a 3-D lunar outpost fit for humans.

 

DROP-IN ART MAKING

Moon Collages
10:30 am-4 pm | Create Space

Create a Moon-themed collage inspired by Lunar Attraction artist Beth Hoeckel's compositions.

 

PERFORMANCE

Moon Crazy
11-11:45 am and 1:30-2:15 pm | Morse Auditorium
Recommended for all ages

Put on your imagination cap and blast off to the Moon with master storyteller Jackson Gillman! His songs and lively stories, including Frank Asch's Happy Birthday Moon, launch you into space and pilot you happily home.

Lunar Landing 2.0
Tuesday, February 21, 2017 from 10:30am - 4pm SCHOOL VACATION WEEK (Continued)

Investigate the science, technology and innovation driving lunar exploration. Immerse yourself in a portable planetarium, design a spacecraft, plan a lunar colony and much more!

 

DROP-IN ART MAKING

Lunar Module Engineering
10:30 am-4 pm | Atrium

Design a lunar module model for transporting astronauts between the Moon's surface and their orbiting spacecraft.

 

COLLABORATIVE ART MAKING

Lunar Mission: Make a Moon Colony
10:30 am-4 pm | Create Space

Design a portion of a Moon colony with artist/educator Kimberly Aaronson as museum guests join together to create a 3-D lunar outpost fit for humans.

 

DROP-IN ART MAKING

Moon Collages
10:30 am-4 pm | Create Space

Create a Moon-themed collage inspired by Lunar Attraction artist Beth Hoeckel's compositions.

 

IMMERSIVE PRESENTATION

Night Sky: Portable Planetarium
11 am-1:45 pm | East India Marine Hall
Tickets available day of program
Recommended for ages 5 to adult

Join a space expert from the Museum of Science, Boston, on an exploration of the Moon, stars, planets and other celestial objects in the cosmos. 30-minute presentations at 11 and 11:45 am, 1 and 1:45 pm.

 

SPECIAL GUEST

Meet Astronaut Cady Coleman!
2-2:45 pm | Morse Auditorium
Tickets available day of program
Recommended for ages 5 to adult

NASA astronaut Catherine Grace "Cady" Coleman shares images and personal stories from her two Space Shuttle Columbia missions, a six-month stint on the International Space Station and as an adviser to the sci-fi film Gravity.

 

Lunar Landing 2.0
Wednesday, February 22, 2017 from 10:30am - 4pm SCHOOL VACATION WEEK (Continued)

Investigate the science, technology and innovation driving lunar exploration. Immerse yourself in a portable planetarium, design a spacecraft, plan a lunar colony and much more!

 

DROP-IN ART MAKING

Lunar Module Engineering
10:30 am-4 pm | Atrium

Design a lunar module model for transporting astronauts between the Moon's surface and their orbiting spacecraft.

 

COLLABORATIVE ART MAKING

Lunar Mission: Make a Moon Colony
10:30 am-4 pm | Create Space

Design a portion of a Moon colony with artist/educator Kimberly Aaronson as museum guests join together to create a 3-D lunar outpost fit for humans.

 

DROP-IN ART MAKING

Moon Collages
10:30 am-4 pm | Create Space

Create a Moon-themed collage inspired by Lunar Attraction artist Beth Hoeckel's compositions.

 

WORKSHOP

Rockets: There and Back Again
11 am-2:30 pm
PEM Connect building, next to main entrance
Tickets available day of program
Recommended for ages 5 to adult

Join an educator from the Museum of Science, Boston, to create an air rocket that will launch across the room to reach the Moon and other space targets, and then design a craft to safely return back to Earth. Four 50-minute programs offered at 11 am, noon, 1:30 and 2:30 pm.

 

FILM

Despicable Me
1-2:36 pm | Morse Auditorium

Supervillain Gru hatches a plan to steal the Moon with the help of an army of Minions, a dash of super technology and three adorable orphans in this computer-animated comedy by Illuminated Entertainment. 2010, Rated PG.

PEM Pals
Wednesdays at 10:30am on Wednesday, February 22, 2017

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

Lunar Landing 2.0
Thursday, February 23, 2017 from 10:30am - 4pm SCHOOL VACATION WEEK (Continued)

Investigate the science, technology and innovation driving lunar exploration. Immerse yourself in a portable planetarium, design a spacecraft, plan a lunar colony and much more!

 

DROP-IN ART MAKING

Lunar Module Engineering
10:30 am-4 pm | Atrium

Design a lunar module model for transporting astronauts between the Moon's surface and their orbiting spacecraft.

 

DROP-IN ART MAKING

Moon Collages
10:30 am-4 pm | Create Space

Create a Moon-themed collage inspired by Lunar Attraction artist Beth Hoeckel's compositions.

 

IMMERSIVE PRESENTATION

Night Sky: Portable Planetarium
11 am-1:45 pm | East India Marine Hall
Tickets available day of program
Recommended for ages 5 to adult

Join a space expert from the Museum of Science, Boston, on an exploration of the Moon, stars, planets and other celestial objects in the cosmos. 30-minute presentations at 11 and 11:45 am, 1 and 1:45 pm.

 

DROP-IN ART MAKING

Lunar Orrery
10:30 am-4 pm | Maker Lounge

Create a paper model to better understand the orbits of the Sun, Earth and Moon.

Lunar Landing 2.0
Friday, February 24, 2017 from 10:30am - 4pm SCHOOL VACATION WEEK (Continued)

Investigate the science, technology and innovation driving lunar exploration. Immerse yourself in a portable planetarium, design a spacecraft, plan a lunar colony and much more!

 

DROP-IN ART MAKING

Lunar Module Engineering
10:30 am-4 pm | Atrium

Design a lunar module model for transporting astronauts between the Moon's surface and their orbiting spacecraft.

 

DROP-IN ART MAKING

Moon Collages
10:30 am-4 pm | Create Space

Create a Moon-themed collage inspired by Lunar Attraction artist Beth Hoeckel's compositions.

 

DROP-IN ART MAKING

Lunar Orrery
10:30 am-4 pm | Maker Lounge

Create a paper model to better understand the orbits of the Sun, Earth and Moon.

 

FILM

Despicable Me
1-2:36 pm | Morse Auditorium

Supervillain Gru hatches a plan to steal the Moon with the help of an army of Minions, a dash of super technology and three adorable orphans in this computer-animated comedy by Illuminated Entertainment.2010, Rated PG.

Put a Patch on it!
Sunday, February 26, 2017 from 2pm - 3pm STORY TRAILS

If you have ever had a hard time letting go of favorite items of clothing, learn how to repurpose them as we read I Had a Favorite Dress by Boni Ashburn. Then find inspiration in the WOW exhibition as you design one-of-a-kind iron-on patches under the guidance of fiber artist Ana Campos.

PEM Pals
Wednesdays at 10:30am on Wednesday, March 1, 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, March 8, 2017

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

A Day and Night of Music
Saturday, March 11, 2017 from 1pm - 5pm Moving to the Music Mini-Fest

Discover how movement and music can create and tell stories.

 

MOVEMENT WORKSHOP

Phases and Phrases
1-2 pm | East India Marine Hall

Engage with performers from New Repertory Theatre's Classic Repertory Company in this all-ages interactive session! Get active and explore sequences of movements to create and tell a story inspired by the moon.

 

DROP-IN ART MAKING

DIY Star Projectors
1-3 pm | Studio 1, Create Space

Create your own star projector to transform any wall into the night sky.

 

MUSIC WORKSHOP

Musical Gestures
3-4 pm | East India Marine Hall

Get to know the string instrument family in this workshop and informal concert. Using gesture, body language and musical inflection, performers from the New England Philharmonic Chamber Players communicate mood and narrative without using any words! Followed by a string instrument "petting zoo" for your budding virtuosos.

 

EXHIBITION VIEWING

Lunar Attraction
Dotty Brown Art & Nature Center | Ground level

Explore artworks and interactives that explore our longstanding fascination and connection with the moon.

 

TWO SPECIAL PERFORMANCES

Phases: A Lunar Fantasy
$10 members, $15 students, $20 nonmembers. Free for children 16 and under

Family friendly concert | 6:30 pm | Atrium

Wear your pajamas and get comfortable. Performance includes milk and cookies

Purchase Tickets

 

18 and older concert | 8:30 pm
Cash bar and complimentary cookies

The Asia/America New Music Institute and PEM Composer-in-Residence Matthew Aucoin invite you on an interstellar adventure about growing up, facing fear and making art. Using 360-degree lighting and projections to lift the Atrium into outer space, this music experience will delight the whole family. Approximate run time: 75 minutes, no intermission. Learn more at pem.org/aucoin and aanmi.org.

Featuring new music by Chad Cannon, Sun-Young Park, Sayo Kosugi, Paul Frucht, and Matthew Aucoin. Lighting and projection design by Mary Ellen Stebbins, Kevan Loney, and Bryce Cutler. Conceived and directed by Victoria Crutchfield.

Purchase Tickets 
PEM Pals
Wednesdays at 10:30am on Wednesday, March 15, 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, March 22, 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, March 29, 2017

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