Falcon Cam – May 25, 2018

by LIZ TOTH

The falcons have been spending a lot of time wiggling on the eggs to press the bare skin on the chest, called the brood patch, down on the eggs to keep them warm.  In species where only the female incubates the eggs the male doesn’t develop a brood patch.  Male and female peregrines both have brood patches because they share incubation of the eggs.  If you watch the Falcon Cam you’ll see the adult peregrines rock side-to-side as they settle on thHatchdayisbusye nest.  This rocking opens the feathers that have curled over the brood patch and puts their skin in contact with the eggs.

The chicks should hatch very soon.  As the date for possible hatching draws closer we can expect to see the female arranging the stones around the scrape as she prepares for hatching.  Just prior to hatching she may hear the chicks inside the eggs and seem more alert.  The female has been very alert today indicating hatching should be soon.

Liz Toth is Associate Curator of Live Animals at the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery.

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Falcon Cam Update: April 25, 2018

By LIZ TOTH

The falcons have four eggs in the nest!  Peregrine falcons lay an average of four eggs in a clutch with each egg laid a few days apart.  The first egg was laid on April 16, the second on April 18, the third on April 20, and the fourth on April 24.  Incubation takes 29 to 32 days.  She started closely sitting on the eggs by April 24 so hatching could take place as early May 22.  For now, the female spends all of her time warming the eggs and turning them.  She is observant of any dangers outside the nest but the male is nearby protecting their territory.  Occasionally he will come to the nest to relieve her of her incubation duties and provide her with food.  Here we can see the first three eggs when she stands up to reposition herself:

 

Falcon Cam3

…And then there were four!

 

Liz Toth is the Associate Curator of Live Animals at the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery.

Better Late than Never…

April 17, 2018

By LIZ TOTH

Today we have our first peregrine falcon egg in the nest!  This is the latest date falcons have ever laid their first egg on the Liberty Savings Tower. It is possible our unseasonably cold weather this spring has contributed to a late start to egg laying.

Falcon Egg

New Peregrine Falcon Egg!

 

It was snowing yesterday and this morning with snowflakes floating in front of her the falcon sat tightly on the scrape. Once she moved, the first egg could be seen!

Peregrine falcons lay an average of four eggs in a clutch with each egg laid a few days apart. Incubation of the eggs starts toward the end of egg laying and the eggs will synchronize to hatch around the same time. Keep an eye on the cam for more eggs soon.

Liz Toth is the Associate Curator of Live Animals at the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery.

 

 

 

 

George and Romie Gunckel: Explorer’s Collection Documents a Thoughtful Passion for World History

by ELIZABETH FISHER

A native of Dayton, George I. Gunckel grew up at 527 West 2nd Street, an affluent and formative neighborhood in the city.  He was recognized as aGunckel Home member of a pioneering and influential family in the community. Gunckel’s father, Oliver I. Gunckel was considered a “man of affluence in Dayton” and “represented one of the old pioneer families” of the region. His grandfather and namesake, George W. Gunckel, at the age of 83, was depicted as the second oldest pioneer resident in the Village of Germantown in the Dayton Daily News on August 2, 1904. His death in 1909 was documented “as the last [member] of this famous family, which has done so much for Montgomery County.”

Gunckel's First Post

Gunckel’s First Post  – Guard Mount at Camp Marahui

It was a flourishing time in military dentistry and an unsettling period in the Southern Philippines. Gunckel and his wife, Romie, spent the first three years in Southern Philippines among the Moro people. The Muslim or Moro population were resistant to foreign occupation since the Spanish-American War. Regardless, the Gunckel’s had respect for the people and culture. Over 260 objects in the Gunckel collection at the Dayton Society of Natural History represent the Philippine culture and Moro people.

Food Basket

Food Basket

Enlistment dental standards, until WWII, “only required enough teeth to bite off the end of the cartridge so that the gunpowder and bullet (ball) could be loaded into a muzzleloader rifle.

Following his prosperous adolescence, George I. Gunckel earned the title of D.D.S. in 1899 from Ohio Medical University, after graduating from Ohio State University and Orchard Lake Military School. One year later, he married “Greenville girl” Romie Elizabeth Turner. After establishing a private dentistry practice, in 1904 he joined the U. S. Army Medical Corps as a Contract Dental Surgeon. Shortly afterward, George and Romie sailed for the Philippine Islands for the next three years. Lieutenant Colonel Gunckel served as a dental surgeon for the U. S. Army Medical Corps from 1904 to 1919.

Brass Gong

Brass Gong

Gunckel concluded his military service after WWI and traveled the world with his wife during retirement. They eventually returned to Gunckel’s childhood home in Dayton, where they resided until his death at 61 on April 17, 1937.

After his final retirement from dentistry, George and Romie Gunckel traveled worldwide visiting places like Alaska, the American Southwest, Western Indians, South America, and Mexico.

Bamboo Harp

Bamboo Harp

In 1946, Mrs. Romie Gunckel transferred the Gunckel collection to the Dayton Public Library Museum, or Dayton Society of Natural History (DSNH) as we know it today, in memory of her husband. These included Japanese samurai armor, Spanish armor, swords, spears, baskets, musical instruments, shields, woven garments such as sarongs and sashes, and much more.

 

Samurai Armor 2

Samurai Armor. Left Shin Protector

Romie sold their home to the American Red Cross during WWII and returned to Greenville where she passed away on September 6, 1948.

Elizabeth Fisher is Collections Manager and Registrar for the Dayton Society of Natural History.

 

 

 

Celebrating Life’s Milestones with the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery, SunWatch, and Fort Ancient

AMANDA EGLOFF

As the holiday season wraps up and winter moves in, it is fun to reflect upon the many ways our members and their guests have shared their lives and celebrations with us here at the Boonshoft, SunWatch, and Fort Ancient.  Aside from daily trips to just be at the museum, members can rent any of our three sites to celebrate these special moments in their lives.

Birthday Parties:

The Boonshoft Museum of Discovery hosts birthday parties on Saturdays and Sundays from 1pm-3pm.  The generous birthday package starts with sharing the day at the museum with 50 of your child’s friends and family members and a private room for celebrating in.  Enhance your day by adding on one of our add-on options, like a private planetarium show or lego bin.  Is your child interested in animals and their welfare?  They can host an Adopt an Animal Party and sponsor one of our Discovery Zoo Residents.   And for the older child, a gift of the Junior Zookeeper experience or Adoption at one of our higher levels of sponsorship just might spark that lifelong love of veterinary science!

Make sure to get a jump on that birthday planning, because parties book 6-8 weeks in advance!

Wedding photo

Weddings:

One of the special things about being an institution since 1958 is that generations of children and adults have made their way through our doors.  Many of these children grow into adults with fond memories of their time here and want to incorporate that into their next big milestone, weddings!  The Boonshoft and Sunwatch are both excellent wedding venues for ceremonies and receptions.  Each wedding couple brings its own unique story to share with us.  Sometimes it’s the memory of a treasured family member who used to bring them here.  Some of our couples met each other here or shared an important experience here while dating.  The staff at the Boonshoft tries to tie in those special memories during your time here with us.  Whether it’s meeting up close and personal with Patience the sloth right before heading into your reception or rocking out to your favorite metal band in the planetarium, each of our weddings are memorable, to say the least!

Special Events:

When it comes to holidays, parties abound!  But you don’t just have to be celebrating the holidays to enjoy a good time at the Boonshoft, Sunwatch, or Fort Ancient.  From small training sessions to corporate family days and nonprofit events, the Dayton Society of Natural History has your next work event or large celebration covered.  Why spend the afternoon in a meeting or conference room when you could be talking about expense reports while watching otters play?  Bring your work family here and celebrate with us!

Amanda Egloff is the Rentals Coordinator for the Dayton Society of Natural History.

Complete Your Holiday Shopping List at the Discoveries Gift Shop at the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery!

ANGELA M. SHAFFER

Rocks

Are you still searching for the perfect holiday gifts for your friends and family? The Discoveries Gift Shop at the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery offers thousands of educational, fun, and unique items for everyone on your list! Whether you’re searching for hands-on science and robot kits, striking rock and fossil specimens, colorful plush pieces, or even a Star Wars™ Death Star™ serving platter, we’ve got you covered!

Diecast and backpacksOur knowledgeable, friendly Guest Services staff is always happy to help you choose the perfect gift. Visit us anytime the Museum is open (9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday-Saturday and noon-5 p.m. on Sunday); you may shop anytime in the Discoveries Shop without paying general admission.

Just in time for the busy holiday shopping season, here are some of our most popular items and staff favorites, organized by price. Happy holidays!

Stocking stuffers under $5.00

We have a plethora of fun stocking stuffers at affordable prices. A perennial favorite is astronaut ice cream, in delicious flavors like mint chocolate chip and cinnamon apple wedgeIce Creams. Other bestsellers include bright Ty™ plush clips for accessorizing backpacks and jackets, sparkling crack-open geodes and amethyst and citrine specimens, earthy rock and mineral dig kits, slimy Mars mud and Pluto plasma,  and slippery water snakes—all priced at $4.99 or less!

Stocking stuffers under $10.00

You’ll find lots to of unique plush pieces in the Discoveries Shop, and we carry several smaller pieces, including super-soft otters, meerkats, and sloths. If you’ve got a little one who loves to play with diecast toys, we’ve got those, too, including trains, police cars, planes, and tractors. You can fill a branded drawstring bag with rocks or magnet stones to give to a young geologist, or you can gift a robot claw to a young explorer!

Gifts under $20.00

Ty plushWe carry a wide variety of DIY science kits for less than $20.00, so stock up for all of the budding astronomers, paleontologists, and scientists on your list! Just in time the holidays, new Ty Gear™ plush backpacks are available in a variety of styles. You’ll also find ant farms, large plastic dinosaurs, mermaid-and fairy-making kits, and backpacks full of themed diecast toys!

Gifts under $50.00

For less thanTy Gear backpacks purses $50.00, there are several truly unique options in the Discoveries Shop. The Inclocknito and Spy Science Money Safe kits allow kids to keep their treasures safe, while our brand-new Scientific Robot kit offers many experiments and learning opportunities in one convenient package. Dinosaur table lamps offer a cool way to light up the night, and impressive pizza and space station playsets will bring hours of imaginative play to the creative kids on your list. And don’t forget the large Ty™ Beanie Boos™ and Beanie Babies™, which promise hours of colorful cuddling fun!

Adults

AdultWhat do you buy for the guy or gal who has everything? A Bigfoot action figure or scarf, of course, or perhaps Star Wars™ salt-and-pepper shakers or that Death Star™ serving platter! Pass the time by completing a puzzle featuring the periodic table of the elements or beautiful gemstones; keep the time with a cool galaxy-print (or, yes, Star Wars™-themed) wall clock. Cozy socks in a variety of fun animal designs help keep cold winter feet warm; cold winter mornings are made a little more bearable when hot coffee or tea is sipped from a handwarmer animal mug. And office work always goes a little faster when you have a woodpecker stapler or otter tape dispenser by your side.

Visit the Discoveries Gift Shop today and let us help you choose the perfect holiday gifts!

Angela M. Shaffer is the Senior Manager, Guest Services and Database Management at the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery.

For Halloween the Boonshoft Museum Presents Frankenstein, Plasma, and Pickles…Oh My!

By MACKENZIE E. ENGLISH

Halloween is just around the corner and we here at the museum are also celebrating in our own way.  Just like Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, we use the sheer power of electricity in our demonstrations.  We are making a pickle glow, using plasma to make art, and watching electricity dance in the air above a Tesla coil.

Boonshoft_Regional_Science_Festival_2016-91

Tesla Coil in Action

Electricity is made up of charged particles, normally in the form of electrons being stored on atoms.  When we talk about electricity we look at three things; voltage, amperage, and wattage.

  • Voltage is how fast the electricity is being pushed through a cable.
  • Amperage is how much electricity is being pushed through a cable at one time.
  • Finally, wattage is the result of combining the voltage and amperage and is how much power the electricity will produce.

We store electricity in batteries and it comes out of the walls we plug our phones into.  But when harnessed we are able to do much, much more with it.

Our electrical demonstrations can be shocking to watch but are very illuminating to how they work.  Many of the demonstrations use transformers to increase voltage.  This allows us to make high voltage electricity to push through a pickle.  This causes the sodium (salt) in the pickle to become very “excited”.  The extra energy in the sodium is then released as yellowish-orange light and a lot of heat.  The pickle is cooked from the inside out as it puts on a light show for us all to enjoy.

Frankenstein's_monster_(Boris_Karloff) - Copy

Dr. Frankenstein’s Monster

When thinking of Frankenstein we often think about the lightning used to bring his monster to life as well as the display of electricity behind him in the movies moving up the metal rods.  The electricity seen in both cases is actually the air around us being set on fire by the high voltage electricity.  This is known as plasma and is the fourth state of matter.  In nature, we see this every time there is lightning, but in the museum, we arch electricity across the air from one metal rod to another.  When the electricity arches across it releases large amounts of energy into the air, setting it on fire and turning it into plasma.

Another time we can watch electricity move through the air is with a Tesla Coil. Nikola Tesla originally invented it as a way to light up the world without power lines and cables that we see today. It works by

1024px-Plasma-filaments - Copy

Plasma Emission From a Tesla Coil

using transformers to increase the voltage exponentially until the toroid (donut shape at the top) cannot hold any more electricity.  It then jumps through the air and dances as it turns the air into a battery and charges it up.  The charged air then can power light bulbs and other devices.

Even though electricity can be a lot of fun to watch, it is also very dangerous.  One must have the knowledge and respect for it.  Please do not attempt any demonstrations you have seen at home.  If you would like to see them, come to the museum where we are trained on the safety of use in these applications.

Mackenzie E. English is Laboratory Coordinator for the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery.