Exhibitions, Lectures and Programs November, December & January

Unless otherwise noted, all exhibitions, lectures and programs are free with museum admission


At Home in Vanuatu: Tradition in the Western Pacific

Closing March 18, 2001

Venoms: Striking Beauties


The Elkus Collection: Changing Traditions in Native American Art


James Audubon’s Birds of America

Opening spring 2001

Anglers All: Humanity in Midstream

Opening summer 2001

At Home in Vanuatu: Tradition in the Western Pacific

A stunning collection of photographs by naturalist David Becker offers a remarkably intimate view of life within a few communities of Pacific Islanders. Complemented by a burial effigy and various artifacts, the photos unfold how these families and individuals, though surrounded by the modern trappings of the 21st century, choose to live as ancient Melanesians did: close to nature and the spirit world of their ancestors.

Venoms: Striking Beauties

A hair-raising exhibit featuring thirty live venomous animals. Visitors will come safely within striking distance of snakes, spiders, scorpions, jellyfish, corals, snails, fish and more. With interactive challenges, visitors can test the speed and swiftness of their reaction time to snake strikes or measure snakes’ toxicity using a "venometer." The exhibit also includes action-packed videos and reveals the delivery mechanisms that venomous animals use to inject their dangerous doses, how the venom affects the victim, and how venomous creatures advertise their lethal natures.

The Elkus Collection: Changing Traditions in Native American Art

This truly magnificent collection of Native American pottery, textiles, baskets, jewelry, kachina dolls, and paintings was donated to our Anthropology department in 1972 by the children of Ruth and Charles de Young Elkus. This extensive collection includes works by some of the leading names in 20th Century Native American art.

James Audubon’s Birds of America

This exhibition displays the extremely rare and valuable original engravings of James Audubon from his book Birds in America. After travelling down the Ohio and Missisippi River basins as far as the Florida Keys, Audubon studied birds and produced watercolors of them. In 1826, Audubon engaged a firm in London to produce engravings based upon his watercolors and these will be on display in the Academy.

Anglers All: Humanity in Midstream

The American Museum of Fly-Fishing has developed a multidisciplinary experience which explores a "simple" human/nature experience that is, in reality, very complex. Fly-fishing is the study of entomology, ecosystems, water dynamics, and ichthyology as much as it is the pursuit of trout or salmon. Anglers All presents a broad range of information: the engineering of intricate reel mechanisms, the physical laws of motion, velocity, and aerodynamics along with angling artifacts, photos, and video all in an engaging package.

Special Events

Run to the Far Side

The Academy’s 16th annual Run to the Far Side participants, creatively costumed and serious alike, will take a beautiful jaunt through Golden Gate Park in order to pay tribute to the zany cartoon creations of Gary Larson.

November 26, 8:30 a.m., $18 for Academy members/$23 non-members. Interested runners/walkers should call (415) 759-2690 for more information.

Special Lectures

Up To Our Necks in California Waters

John McCosker, Curator and Chair of the Department of Aquatic Biology at the Academy and Burr Heneman, Pew Marine Conservation Fellow will share their knowledge of the California coastline in a wide-ranging conversation concerning, among other topics, fish and fisheries and the protection of the Great White Shark.

Wednesday November 15, 7:30 p.m., $6 members/$10 non-members

Morrison Auditorium


Photographer Frans Lanting will be giving a lecture and slide show on his new book,

Jungles. The event is co-hosted by the Academy and the Discovery Channel Store.

November 16, 7:30 p.m., San Francisco’s Metreon, Free

Hyperspace, Time Machines, Wormholes, and the Theory of Everything

Ever since Einstein’s introduction of the theories of relativity, physicists have been trying to find an underlying, unifying thread that can explain all matter. Dr. Michio Kaku, professor of theoretical physics at the City College of the City University of New York examines whether we are getting close to this Theory of Everything.

Tuesday November 7, 7:30 p.m., Morrison Planetarium, $3

Life Work Of Clitso Dedman, Forgotten Navajo Woodcarver

Professor Rebecca M Valette and her husband Jean-Paul Valette will talk about Clitso Dedman fascinating biography and provide a brief background on Navajo curing ceremonies and the Yeibichai dance.

Wednesday November 8, 2:00 p.m. & 7:30 p.m., Morrison Auditorium

Members Free/Non-members $10

Millenium and Astronomy: Past and Future

Dr. Anthony Aveni of Colgate University will examine the idea of cyclic time by tracing spectacular cosmic happenings through past cultures and projecting them into the future.

Tuesday December 12, 7:30 p.m., Morrison Planetarium, $3

Programs and Lectures Offered in Conjunction with American Indian Heritage Month.

Programs marked with an ** encourage child attendance

**Pueblo Pottery

Using traditional methods and materials, artists from three different Pueblos will demonstrate the art of creating various forms and styles of pottery.

November 3, 4 & 5, 10 a.m. — 4 p.m. Elkus Exhibit

Meet the Artists

Dr. Nancy Olsen, of the University of New Mexico, will moderate a discussion between the three potters who have been demonstrating the art of American Indian pottery on the Academy floor for the past three days.

November 5, 1 p.m. Auditorium

Life Work Of Clitso Dedman, Forgotten Navajo Woodcarver

Professor Rebecca M. Valette and her husband Jean-Paul Valette will talk about Clitso Dedman’s fascinating biography and provide a brief background on Navajo curing ceremonies and the Yeibichai dance.

November 8, 2:00 p.m. & 7:30 p.m., Morrison Auditorium, Members Free/Non-members $10



**California Basketry

Join basket weaving mother and daughter Julia and Lucy Parker for an interactive demonstration of California Indian basketry. Julia is a renowned Pomo basket weaver and has practiced and taught basketry for over thirty years.

Friday November 24, 25 & 26, 11 a.m. — 4 p.m. Elkus Exhibit

**Fauna of America: A Heritage to its People

Explore the human relationship with wildlife in the Americas as we meet a live golden eagle, an American alligator and other live animals. Well also listen to the Bay Area Ohlone stories: When the World Ended and How Hummingbird Got Fire.as told by Ohlone Indian storyteller Linda Yamane who compiled, illustrated and published these stories. This program is presented in conjunction with Wildlife Associates (www.wildlifeassociates.org) a non-profit organization dedicated to conservation and environmental education

Friday November 24, 1 & 2:30 p.m., Morrison Auditorium

Tales from Native California

Clarence Hostler tells two tales from Yurok oral tradition.

Saturday December 2, 1:00 p.m.. Morrison Auditorium

Demonstrations and Programs Offered in Conjunction With Venoms: Striking Beauties

Join the Jellyfish Man

Submerge into the world of our state’s jellyfish as we talk about their venom, distribution and ecology. During this special presentation, we’ll see live jellyfish polyps, newborn jellies and tentacles up close. Presenter Dave "The Jellyfish Man" Wrobel has been photographing and studying jellyfish for over 15 years and manages the Jellyfish displays at Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Saturday January 13, 11:30 a.m., 1:00 p.m. & 2:30 p.m.


Stop by the Venoms Exhibit and see preserved toxic sea slugs from around the world as we check them up close through dissecting scopes. Also meet Academy scientist Angel Valdés who will be onsite explaining how some sea slugs use venom and poison as an ultimate weapon.

Monday December 10 & Sunday, January 27, 12:30 p.m.

Poisonous, Venomous: Can You Tell?

Poison and venom are terms often used interchangeably but do they mean the same thing? Join us for a special presentation and come in close contact with live toxic creatures as we search for the difference between poison and venom and the effects that they have on animals and humans.

Sunday, December 2, 12:30 & 2:30 p.m.

Studying Venomous Snakes

See a snake biologist in action and participate in an interactive presentation as we uncover the world of venomous snakes.

December 26, January 9 & 23, 12:30 & 2:30 p.m.

Snake Mimicry

Meet live snakes and discover how some of them play tricks on predators by changing their appearance and behavior.

Tuesdays in November, January 12 & 26, 12:30 & 2:30 p.m.

Ouch! Bites and Stings

California sure has its fair share of venomous insects and spiders. Join us in an interactive program that will explore what happens when humans and these venomous arthropods come into close contact.

Wednesday November 18, 12:30 p.m.

Dangerous Liaisons

Experience the extraordinary world of venomous insects and spiders through a hands-on presentation by the Insect Discovery Lab from San Francisco State University.

November 1 & 15, December 6 & 13, January 10, 17 & 31 2 p.m.

Wasps and Bees

Find out about the success story of wasps and bees in nature and why venom provides them with the ultimate weapon for survival.

Fridays in November, 12:30 & 2:30 p.m.

Tarantulas: Beauty or Beast?

Join us for a live tarantula presentation and discover the secrets behind the fangs of these fuzzy arachnids.

November 5, 12 & 26, December 7 & 28, January 7 & 25, 12:30 & 2:30 p.m.

Venoms ER

Discover what happens to people after a venomous bite or sting. See some of the tools used in an emergency room to treat envenomation in humans and learn what you can do locally to avoid a venomous bite or sting.

November 4, 11 & 25, December 3 & 17, January 3, 6, 20 & 28, 12:30 & 2:30 p.m.

Rattlesnakes Alive!

Get up close and personal with a live Northern Pacific Rattlesnake as naturalist Katie Colbert talks about their intriguing habits in the Bay Area. This program is presented in conjunction with the East Bay Regional Park District.

November 19, December 9 12:30 & 2:30 p.m.


Between the Worlds: A Post-Halloween Concert

Come hear priestess and folklorist Holly Tannen sing both traditional and satirical songs about our relationship with the spirit world in a celebration of Samhain, the Irish holiday commemorating the harvest.

Saturday, November 11, 1:00 p.m., Free

Folk Music from Northern China

The Mandarin String Trio present traditional music of Northern China, playing the pipa, ruan, and gehu (lute, mandolin and cello). Their performance will follow the Chinese vocal music of Wilma Pang.

Saturday, November 18, 1:00 p.m., Free