Take a walk on the wild side!

DSCN1104Lots of improvements have been happening along the trails in our Backwoods Forest Preserve. Of late several new kiosks have been installed at the trail heads that will soon be packed with information for our guests. The trails in the preserve have been resurfaced with a mix of native shells which allows rainwater to percolate through the trails and reduces the impact of the trails on this habitat. Also, a new boardwalk has been installed as a walkway over a wetland area so that visitors can get up close and personal with an otherwise difficult to investigate area.

About the Back Woods Forest Preserve:

Located in the Southeastern portion of the MOSI campus, the Back Woods is a diminutive forest oasis in a sea of urban development. DSCN1106 Packed into 25 acres is a notable array of many Central Florida habitats, complete with distinct sandhill, hardwood wetland, mesic pine flatwoods, and upland hardwood hammock communities.

Currently, MOSI staff and volunteers are working to restore these habitats, remove invasive species, refurbish trails and boardwalks, and create new interpretive signage and guides to make this area a better educational experience for all of our guests and the surrounding community. Look for changes to the Back Woods as we continue to improve this area.

For updates, volunteer opportunities, and to follow our progress on this project; check out our Blog The Longleaf: An Urban Forest Legend.

The Back Woods forest is open to the public 365 days a year during DSCN0551 the Museum’s operating hours (9-5 M-F, 9-6 Sat/Sun). There is no admission fee to the Back Woods and Museum admission is not required for use. Intoxicants, firearms, hunting, bicycling, skateboarding, rollerblading, motorized vehicle use, collecting of plants or animals, and smoking are not permitted within the preserve boundaries. Pets must be leashed and all pet waste picked up and disposed of properly.

In 2007 MOSI was awarded a Pollution Recovery Fund grant from the Environmental Protection Commission of Hillsborough County. Current restoration activities, including non-native invasive plant treatment, are funded under this grant.

Here are some pictures of early Spring in the Back Woods Forest Preserve at MOSI: new leaves, tiny flowers, colorful lichen, carpets of moss, seed pods and more!


Inspired by da Vinci: A Mona Lisa of another sort.

Terry Klaaren’s Monique Alyssa

ForDSCN0644 the Inspired by da Vinci art exhibit in the MOSI Founder’s Hall, Terry Klarren submitted a work that was inspired by DaVinci’s masterpiece, the Mona Lisa. Entitled “Monique Alyssa”, Terry blended the subject of da Vinci’s best known painting with the painting style of Vincent Van Gogh.

A selection of Mr. Klaaren’s paintings can also be seen in the MOSI 4th Floor Gallery space. As you exit the IMAX theater on the fourth floor, head around to the right side to see these lovely works.

You can see more of Terry Klarren’s artwork at his website klarrenart.com.

Inside the da Vinci: The Genius exhibit there is an entire room dedicated to the da Vinci masterpiece, the Mona Lisa, showing minute details of the composition and revealing secrets of one of the world’s best known paintings.


Treasures of the Modern Renaissance: Venetian Berretta 1512

DSCN0739Venetian Berretta 1512: Suede and linen in a design of heraldic diamonds.

"Berretta" was a term used to describe any hat worn at an angle on the head which was rounded or conical and brimless. Venetians were fond of bright and ornamented clothing and were exposed to a great deal more variety of goods as Venice was a centralized shipping port. This hat may have been worn by a young male noble who was a member of the "Grande Case", the elite upper class of Venice.

About the Artist: Vandy Pacetti-Tune Franca portrait

Vandy Pacetti-Tune is a teacher/librarian and researcher residing in Auburndale, Florida. As a hatter, Ms. Tune recreates hats from Italian Renaissance portraiture. Vandy Pacetti-Tune is also known as Lady Franca Donato, a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism.


March 2010 Volunteer of the Month: Lynne Volpe

Lynne Volpe Lynne has volunteered at MOSI since October of 2008 and so far has contributed over 500 hours of volunteer service. She has worked as a greeter, a docent in Shipwreck, Pirates and Treasures, and BODY WORLDS. She also works as an InterActor running the High-Wire Bike and the Gulf Coast Hurricane and at our special events! Lynne is a member of the volunteer Directorate Council (DC). As a DC member she works with her team to improve/enhance the guest experience at MOSI. Her experience and knowledge have been and continue to be a true asset to MOSI. We value Lynne’s involvement with all the activities she is a part of and appreciate her drive and love of the museum!


Treasures of the Modern Renaissance: 1450 Peasant Wedding Hat

Peasant Wedding Hat DSCN0743 1450: Felt, adorned with pheasant feathers and hand-woven scarf.

The young peasant women of Northern Italy would be responsible for making her own wedding attire. The sewing of personal attire indicated that she was ready to marry and had acquired some of the necessary skills to be a good wife. Wedding hats were tall with a wide brim and made from felt or woven straw and decorated with cloth and feathers.

About the Artist: Vandy Pacetti-Tune Franca portrait

Vandy Pacetti-Tune is a teacher/librarian and researcher residing in Auburndale, Florida. As a hatter, Ms. Tune recreates hats from Italian Renaissance portraiture. Vandy Pacetti-Tune is also known as Lady Franca Donato, a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism.


It’s all in the bag

Over the last few weeks the MOSI staff were tasked with a green themed contest entitled “It’s all in the bag”. The challenge was to create art from recycled plastic bags and other recycled materials. 13 MOSI staffers created items for the contest that included sculpture, jewelry, fashion, home decor and even science education!

In a vote by the MOSI staff at our March staff meeting, winners for the contest were selected. Kelly C. took the 1st place in the contest with her fashion belt woven from strips of plastic bags. A second place tie was had between James W. and Steve A. James W. created a reproduction of DaVinci’s parachute and Steve A. sculpted a rose from recycled aluminum foil. Third place went to Adriana D for her creation of a fashion handbag.

Items created for the contest are currently on display in the Dr. Gladys Kashdin Welcome Center in front of the Science To Go store.

Special thanks to Laurie P. for creating and overseeing the entire contest process. Great work, great fun and great creativity from the MOSI/SSA staff!

Since joining the MOSI team in Oct 2009, SSA (which runs MOSI’s gift shops) has brought their nationwide reputation for ecological sustainability to its MOSI operation. The “It’s all in the bag” contest is a small part of the SSA/MOSI partnership’s initiative to enhance awareness of sustainability among MOSI staff members & guests.


Treasures of the Modern Renaissance: A 1471 Girdle Book

A girdle book was a small and portable side1leather bound book that would have been carried in the middle ages and Renaissance by clergymen and nobles. These books are bound in leather and the cover extends below the edge of the book and tapers to a point where it is tied into a knot. This knot could be tucked into the belt or girdle of an individual and would leave the book hanging upside down and backwards. From this position the book could be lifted right side up and opened by the wearer for use. These books often contained liturgy or daily prayers and were popular from the 13th to the 16th century. Although hundreds of these books are represented in art of the time period, only 23 known girdle books survive to the present day.

This particular book is designed after a book dated to 1471 and owned by Hieronymus Kress. The artist, Jill Voss, started with paper and built the book from the inside out. First, pages were gathered and folded bookmaking3over into individual sections called quires. The quires were fastened with waxed linen thread and bound into a group with hemp cord. The cords were then pulled through holes in wooden cover boards and laced tightly together to form a book of pages between two wooden covers.

Once the excess cords were cut, the remaining holes were plugged with wood to create a smooth surface on the outside of the cover boards. The book was then fitted with a leather cover that was finished with a knot at its tapered end. Lastly, brass fittings were attached to hold down the leather at the corners, decorate the cover and create latches for the book to be properly closed. The artist used the technique of sand casting to cast the bronze fittings for the book.

About the Artist: Jill Voss

Jill Voss is a native Floridian. She openbookstudied at various Universities including Savannah College of Art and Design, University of Georgia, Cortona, Italy and graduated from Florida State University with a B.F.A specializing in papermaking and bookbinding. During her travels she has the opportunity to study at the Cartiera Magnani papermill and Istituto Centrale per la Patologia del Libro. This artist has participated in juried shows and museum displays such as Miami Beach Art Festival, Scholastic Art Awards and Diocesan Museum, Cortona. Jill currently teaches and displays medieval papermaking and bookbinding for the Society of Creative Anachronism (S.C.A.) where she has received the accolade of Laurel - Master of the Arts. She is known as Mistress Hyrrokin in the Society for Creative Anachronism.


Treasures of the Modern Renaissance: Titian’s white gown.

Based upon a 1553 painting by Titian entitled Portrait of a Lady in DSCN0618White, this gown was created by local artisan Maureen Cox. Also known as Girl with a Fan, the portrait by Titian shows a young woman dressed in a sumptuous white gown, wearing pearls and holding a dainty fan. Using silver threaded brocade, silks, ribbons, lace and hundreds of hand beaded pearls, Maureen has created a snowy masterpiece of a gown.

Titian was born Tiziano Vecellio (c. 1473/1490 – 27 August 1576) was one of the finest painters of the Venetian school of painting of the Italian Renaissance. In his later years Titian created many portraits of women, several of which used his beloved daughter Livinia as the subject. He died a victim of the plague in ravaged Venice and was interred at Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari in the same city.

The painting Portrait of a Lady in White has been connected with Titian’s daughter Lavinia who may be the model for the lady in white. The portrait is now housed at the Staatlichen Kunstsammlungen Dresden (Dresden State Art Collections).

About the Artist: Maureen Cox

Maureen Cox is currently pursuing a dual Masters Degree from the University of South Florida in Art History and Library Science and resides in Land O’Lakes. Interested in medieval and Renaissance costuming, illumination, calligraphy, portraiture, the history of makeup, and medieval cooking, Maureen is also a fan of modern arts and film of all sorts. Maureen is known as Mistress Muirenn ingen Ui Ceilleachair, OL in the Society for Creative Anachronism.


Inspired by da Vinci- Art exhibition at MOSI

454px-Leonardo_-_St__Anne_cartoon-alternative-downsampled In 1508 da Vinci started a large sized cartoon sketch in charcoals as a study for a painting commissioned by King Louis XII of France. Now known as The Virgin and Child with St. Anne and St. John the Baptist, the painting in charcoals was created on eight sheets of paper that have been glued together to form one large sheet.

Depictions of the Virgin and Child separately with either St. Anne or St. John the Baptist were popular themes during the Italian Renaissance. As with many of Leonardo da Vinci’s later works, the cartoon remains unfinished and now hangs in the National Gallery in London.

In honor of the da Vinci: The Genius exhibition at MOSI, we asked local artists of all ages to contribute pieces of art inspired by the works of DaVinci. This cartoon was the inspiration for two very different interpretations of DaVinci’s work.


The first of the pieces inspired by this work was painted by a local Tampa Artist named Greg Latch.

About the Artist: Greg Latch

Greg Latch liberated his aspirations of becoming a basketball player at a young age upon noticing the attention that artist’s received. His skill has evolved from triumph in a 6th grade art competition, to drawing for his church at an older age to his da Vinci inspired work displayed at MOSI today. You can view more of his work at latchart.com.

The second piece was created by a 12th grade high school artist named Cady Gonzalez from Wiregrass Ranch High School. This DSCN0638inspired piece of art was created using a selection of charcoals, just as Leonardo da Vinci would have done.

These two very different interpretations of the same piece of art help to show how the work of a Renaissance master still influences the art of our modern age. Leonardo da Vinci was considered one of the finest painters of Renaissance Italy and was known for his subtle shading and careful treatment of faces to bring forth all of the beauty of the human form into his art.

The two interpretations of da Vinci’s creation can be seen in the MOSI Founder’s Hall before you enter the da Vinci: The Genius exhibit.


da Vinci: The Genius- Breathing Under Water

Around 1500 Leonardo da Vinci moved to Venice which was at war with the Ottoman empire. There he devised an underwater breathing system to be used as a means of raiding the Ottoman fleet so that divers could drill holes in the bottoms of the enemy ships.

Housed now in the Codex Atlanico, da Vinci created a sketch of a system that employed a floating bell made of cork, tubes crafted from hollow cane reeds, and a bag-like hood to cover a divers face. The floating bell of cork kept the ends of the reed tubes above water so that the diver below could breathe air from the surface. The plans included weights to help keep a diver below water and a valve adjustable bag that could fill with air to assist in resurfacing. da Vinci even planned for divers to stay submerged for some time, as the leather suit plans also contained a pouch for the collection of urine.

Leonardo also worked on plans for diving bells, life saving flotation DSCN0463devices, dams, double hulled ships and a host of bridges designed for all sorts of water crossing needs.

About the Codice Atlantico: Pompeo Leoni, a 16th century sculptor collected Leonadro da Vinci’s notebooks and drawings and bound them into a collection. The Codice Atlantico is a twelve-volume set of 1,119 pages dating from 1478 to 1519 and consists of all sorts of drawings attributed to da Vinci. The Codice is currently housed at the Biblioteca Ambrosiana, Milan.


2009 National Medal for Museums

MOSI is excited to share with you that we have received the nation’s highest honor for community service - the 2009 National Medal for Museums, presented by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Out of 17,000 museums in the country, we are one of only 5 to receive this award!

DSCN0572We have now received our medal and plaque and the staff of MOSI would like to present them to you in this photograph.

We couldn’t have achieved this without the support of our members, visitors, donors and board members. Thank you for making MOSI one of the best Science Centers in the Country!