Events and programsAt the KU Natural History Museum, we offer dozens of science outreach programs annually in the museum and throughout the community.  From hands-on activities for families, such as Discovery Days, to talks for adults, such as Science on Tap, there is something for everyone. 




Events and programs celebrating 125 years of the KU Panorama

To celebrate the anniversary of the Panorama, the museum is offering a new exhibit and a series of Panorama-themed events. The new exhibit includes artifacts and photographs from the University of Kansas Archives and items provided by the descendants of one of Lewis Lindsay Dyche’s assistants, Charles “Pug” Saunders. 

The remaining event to mark the Panorama's anniversary is:

Panorama 125, 2pm August 17, welcoming KU students to campus and featuring Cracker Jack, the American snack that premiered at the 1893 World’s Fair where the museum’s historic Panorama exhibit was first displayed. Come explore the Panorama and enjoy a free Cracker Jack snack! Free event.


Other events to note:

The Meg: A Cinema and Science event 
Saturday, August 11
Cinetopia and Museum at Prariefire in Overland Park
4-7 pm
Join us on the afternoon of Saturday, August 11th for Cinema & Science with a screening of "The Meg" and a post-movie discussion with University of Kansas Curator of Ichthyology, Dr. Leo Smith. As the researcher who discovered a stonefish with a switchblade appendage attached to its skull, Dr. Smith will have a lot to say about the science of savage seas! This event is co-sponsored by the Museum at Prairiefire and the KU Natural History Museum and Biodiversity Institute.

Check-in: CINETOPIA LOBBY 30 minutes prior to movie start time. Movie is rated PG-13
Movie Start Time: Afternoon showtime TBD
Post Movie Reception and Panel Discussion: Immediately following at the Museum at Prairiefire's Great Hall.
FREE to MAP Members and $10 for Non-Members. Learn more and get updates at our Facebook event page.

Friday, August 17
Kansas Union Plaza
Join Student Union Activities and explore what KU has to offer, from student groups to museums to movie nights and more. Be sure to check out the KU Natural History Museum's "mobile museum" with amazing exhibits filled with fossils, insect collections, preserved snakes, and much more. And then challenge yourself to outrun a T. rex -- we'll use a radar gun to measure your speed!


Bird is the Word: Birds and Conservation
Wednesday, September 5
7 pm
Free event
The KU Natural History Museum joins Audubon in celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which has protected millions of birds from harm. Join us for a talk by Ornithology Curators Town Peterson and Rob Moyle about birds, conservation, and threats to these animals, from Kansas to Southeast Asia. Reception to follow.

Collections Up Close
Tuesday, September 11
11:30 am – 1 pm
Kansas Union
Explore Biodiversity Institute collections with graduate students studying ornithology, paleontology, ichthyology, mammals, botany, herpetology and more. We bring a few of the 9 million specimens from our collections to share with the KU community in the Kansas Union at this monthly event. 

SUA’s Campus Carnival
Saturday, September 8
5-9 pm
Lied Center parking lot
Join Student Union Activities for free rides, free games and free food in the Lied Center parking lot. Outrun or peddle faster than a T. rex at our museum booth while you’re there.

Migratory Mixer
Thursday, September 13
3-5 pm
Spencer Museum of Art and KU Natural History Museum
KU students are invited to the Spencer Museum of Art and the KU Natural History Museum for this event offered in conjunction with the 2018 KU Common Book, Create Dangerously, by Edwidge Danticat. How are artists connected (or not) to a particular place? What are native and non-native species? Consider how artworks migrate across geographical and cultural spaces and take on new meanings. Species migrate or even invade a place, perhaps changing its ecology. Explore these ideas across both museums and their global collections. Refreshments provided.

Fall BugBlitz 
Friday, September 14
7-9 pm
South Park in downtown Lawrence
It’s late summer and the insects are everywhere at night. Join KU entomology students and scientists in South Park where we will concentrate on finding and identifying insects active at dusk and early evening. Become a citizen scientist by contributing to the knowledge of insects in Kansas. Plus, this event kicks off our fall nature photography competition, with entries due November 11.

Family Day at KU
Saturday, September 15
Family Day is an opportunity for parents of KU students to spend time together with their children and learn about the opportunities available for students at KU. While you’re here, explore the museum using one of 14 discovery guides and scavenger hunts, and check out our new Silvisaurus exhibit on the 3rd floor. 

A Web of Success
A Science on Tap event with Matthew R. Downen
Wednesday, September 19
Free State Brewing Co., 636 Massachusetts St.
Spiders are one of the most successful groups of organisms on the planet. They play key roles in ecosystems and can be found almost anywhere. Join PhD candidate Matthew Downen for a discussion about what makes spiders so successful, and the diversity that is observed today and in the fossil record.

No Guts, No Glory: Exploring the Fascinating World of Animal Parasites in Sri Lanka
A Kansas City Science on Tap event with Professor Kirsten Jensen
Tuesday, September 25
7:30 pm
Bier Station, 120 E Gregory Blvd, Kansas City, MO
Invertebrate Zoology curator Kirsten Jensen has boated across Borneo, Vietnam and Sri Lanka in the past several years in pursuit of an understanding of the parasites of sharks and rays. Join us for this Science on Tap exploring what parasites can tell us about the health of an ecosystem, and the diversity of this little-known group of organisms. Please note this talk is upstairs and inaccessible by wheelchair; the talk will be livestreamed on the museum’s Facebook page.

Backyard Bash
Sunday, September 30
1-4 pm 
Marvin Grove, directly behind Spencer Museum, 1301 Mississippi St.
Kick back with your friends and neighbors in the biggest backyard on campus—historic Marvin Grove behind the Spencer Museum of Art. This artful celebration of our surroundings ushers in a new academic year full of promise. Enjoy music, art and nature activities, games, refreshments, prizes, and surprises. The KU Natural History Museum will be back with their art and science activity called Gyotaku, which is the traditional Japanese art form of fish printing.


Collections Up Close
Tuesday, October 9
11:30am - 1 pm
Kansas Union
Explore Biodiversity Institute collections with graduate students studying ornithology, paleontology, ichthyology, mammals, botany, herpetology and more. We bring a few of the 9 million specimens from our collections to share with the KU community in the Kansas Union at this monthly event.

Crimson & Blue Day
Friday, October 12
10 am - 3 pm
The KU Biodiversity Institute and the KU Natural History Museum are home to more than 9 million specimens, 1.2 million archaeological artifacts, and about 55 graduate students and 30 faculty scientists studying the life of the planet. Prospective KU students visiting campus are welcome to come to the museum to enjoy a scavenger hunt or a behind the scenes tour. Two behind-the-scenes tours of 40 minutes each are scheduled for 10:30am and 1:30pm. The tours will take place with Andy Bentley, manager of the fish collections. 

SMA Art Cart: Migration
Saturday, October 13
Spencer Museum of Art
The Art Cart is a drop-in activity station at the Spencer Museum of Art where children and grown-ups enjoy hands-on art projects together. Learn about Haitian history and migration and create a washi tape collage!  The KU Natural History Museum will also be present at this Art Cart with biological specimens from Haiti for visitors to examine and draw inspiration from.

Coyote Sense:  Tracing the Transformation of the Kansas Landscape
A Science on Tap event with Sara Gregg
Wednesday, October 17
Free State Brewing, 636 Massachusetts St.
Life on the Great Plains requires flexibility, a sense of humor, and adaptation to the sometimes-overwhelming forces of nature.  Humanists strive to convey the systems that underpin life in this region in a way that captures the complexity of these ecosystems.  In this way, the coyote offers a model of adaptation. Using a narrative approach to environmental studies,  Sara Gregg will use the coyote’s place in Kansas combined with geomorphology and biodiversity, to explore new strategies for conveying the deeply local context of mammalian interactions with the land.

Discovery Day: Deciduous Forest
Sunday, October 14
It’s fall! Come to the museum to explore all about deciduous forests – the animals and plants and how they interact to form a biome. We’ll have specimens on display, hands-on activities, and scavenger hunts for the entire family.

From Prometheus to the Naked Mole Rat: Toward a better understanding of hyaluronan biology in response to injury and aging 
A Kansas City Science on Tap Event with Michele Pritchard
Tuesday, October 23
7:30 pm
Bier Station, 120 East Gregory Blvd., Kansas City, MO
Our fascination with Prometheus and pop-culture icons such as Wolverine, indicates that our society has a persistent and unmistakable interest IN perfect wound repair, or regeneration. Much scientific effort is devoted to trying to crack the “regeneration code” to prevent imperfect wound repair, which leads to scar formation. Join Dr. Michele Pritchard at this Science on Tap to discuss her effort to leverage secrets from the naked mole rat to improve tissue repair after toxic liver injury and to delay aging in the human ovary.

Member Day
Sunday, October 28
We appreciate our museum members and invite members & friends to join us for snacks, behind the scene tours, plus fossil, rock, and artifact identification with experts!