Natural History Museum Makes a Great Gift – Wanderer

The Wanderer

When Marion was still a small town in 1860, many people living there were very well traveled and brought back exotic species of the natural world. Elizabeth Taber, at the age of 81 years, decided to put some culture into her native village. She bought a 10-acre tract of land to house a library on the first floor and the Natural History Museum on the second floor. There, they both still stand to this very day on Spring Street as a monumental credit to her formative vision into the future of Marion.
            Elizabeth Leidhold has been the cultural director there for 32 years and in my illustration has brought a wide variety of wildlife into public awareness of the museum’s activities. There is also a Board of Directors that is elected annually. The board has been the backbone of the museum’s reputation as a thoroughly complete variety of earthly creatures as well as those living under the sea like the White Sharks.
            At the start of each program year, the museum has a wide variety of daytime community programs, including children’s after-school activities at $8 for members and $10 for nonmembers. Advance registration is required to attend the week-long, half-day schedule for Grades 3-5 to explore our rocky intertidal shorelines, salt marshes, swamps, freshwater riverbanks, ponds and bogs. Children can take a good look at a variety of birds and amphibians that change daily. Both parents and children are required to be in compliance with health and safety regulations.
            Museum membership is offered on several tiers, including Explorer for $25, Family $60, Supporter $100, Sustainer $250, Individual/Corporate Sponsor $500 and Angel Supporter $1,000. The museum also accepts donations.
            Free community senior programs are held at the museum on Wednesdays from 10:00 am to 11:30 am and dedicated to nature illustration using natural items such as a leaf, a shell, or an insect. These activities can be done in the comfort of one’s own home. Community programs, including the January 18 event on fisheries and whales, along with the February 15 Winter Walk at Washburn are also free.
            Museum collections and images are made available at to get a clear, three-dimensional view of each item. To be helpful, the director will suggest using different objects throughout the course, and the artist can be sure to be satisfied with individual assistance.
            At this location on Buzzards Bay, many species of birds are constantly migrating through in search of a perfect nesting place that also has a supply of food. One of the most interesting is the Roseate Tern, a federally-endangered species that makes its home every year on the Bird Island Lighthouse property where the Marion town volunteers build and supply hundreds of wooden nesting boxes to protect hatching young from predators. Their presence on this island alone represents 40% of the world’s total population.
            The most recent new adult program is an experimental bird watching at the early start of the day and has been so popular it will be expanded in the near future. Come and join the group; at this time of the year you might be treated to seeing a Great Blue Heron, a Bald Eagle or a Snowy Owl.
            To become a member of the museum, call 508-748-2098 on Wednesday between 12:00 pm and 4:00 pm or on Friday between 12:00 pm and 2:00 pm. This might be the time to invite other friends or family as a Christmas present. It could give them entertaining insight into the wonderful world of natural history.
By George B. Emmons

Categories: Features