Festival of Chocolate Coming Soon to MOSI

Why Go "Bonkers" for Chocolate?

Did you know chocolate can actually be good for you? New studies show chocolate and its main ingredient, cocoa, help lower blood pressure, prevent cancer and help muscles recover from exercise and spruce up your skin. Surprisingly, chocolate also increases your brain activity and heart rate far more than a passionate-kiss. In short, you get a natural buzz from chocolate.

So, what in chocolate makes it so spectacular? The key is the increase of antioxidants caused by flavonoids. Scientists have identified two types of flavonoids that have powerful antioxidant effects: flavanols and procyanidins. Studies show flavanols and procyanidins are stable during gastric transit. After absorption, the flavanols are mainly methylated and glucuronidated or are bound to sulphate. Flavanols act as an antioxidant by donating hydrogen (from the hydroxyl group), thereby neutralizing free radicals and by chelating metal ions.

Although the level of flavonoids in cocoa is dependent on variety, time of harvest and climate, it’s still good for you. Turns out, cocoa may have stronger antioxidant properties than blueberries, garlic, tea or red wine.

So, if you feel the need to overindulge in chocolate, make sure to join MOSI this January for the Festival of Chocolate.

The Festival of Chocolate
Florida’s Largest All-Chocolate Shopping, Tasting, Educational and Interactive Event!
January 15-17, 2011

We will see you there!


Jeanne Wood- Volunteer of the Month for October 2010

imageJeanne Wood has been volunteering at MOSI since 2009 and so far has incurred over 600 hours of volunteer service. Jeanne works in a variety of areas in the museum, docent, interactive exhibit facilitator, Vol. floor staff manager and most recently a member of the Volunteer Directorate Council (VDC).

As a member of the VDC Jeanne works with her team to identify ways to enhance the guest experience at MOSI. She is also responsible for the incredible recycling exhibition currently in the KIC building at the Science to Go store. Thanks Jeanne for your excellent support! Your impact is felt and seen all over the campus!


International Observe the Moon Night

image On Saturday, September the 18th we invite you to join us at MOSI as we turn our eyes towards the heavens and a waxing gibbous moon on International Observe the Moon Night.

This is the second annual event of this name that celebrates exploration and observation of the moon. Started last year in celebration of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) and the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS), International Observe the Moon Night brings an international community together for a single night of moon observation.

The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) orbits just 50km above the surface of the moon. This robotic spacecraft is engaged in a 3D mapping mission that will help NASA identify potential moon landing sites for upcoming missions and locate formerly unknown resources on the lunar surface. The LRO has also brought us some of the first photographs of Apollo equipment that was left on the lunar surface.

Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) was intentionally crashed into the Cabeus crater on the lunar surface near the moon’s south pole on October 9, 2009. The Centaur module of the LCROSS impacted the lunar surface and the Shepherding Spacecraft fallowed four minutes behind to analyze the plume of debris shot upward by the impact. LCROSS achieved its objective and discovered proof of water ice on the moon

This year MOSI is hosting an official International Observe the Moon Night event that will begin at 7:30pm on September the 18th. We will have binoculars and telescopes available for lunar observation, talks by lunar experts, activities and a show in the Saunder’s Planetarium.

Program fee: $12 per person
MOSI member: $9 per person
Call (813) 987-6000 to register; advance reservations are recommended. Limited seating is available for the lunar shows in The Saunder’s Planetarium.


Volunteer of the Month: Jill Staake

Jill Jill Staake has been volunteering with MOSI Outside since August 2009 and has devoted 250 hours to the BioWorks Butterfly Garden and Richard T. Bowers Historic Tree Grove. A skilled gardener and budding butterfly expert, Jill is a fantastic volunteer who is always ready to answer guest questions about the gardens.

Jill is the author of a blog about gardening in Tampa Bay entitled My Florida Backyard and has worked hard to create her yard as a National Wildlife Federation Certified Wildlife Habitat. Jill is also a contributor to the BioWorks Butterfly Garden blog and recently created a post about a day in the life of a MOSI Outside volunteer entitled Perspiration and Inspiration. Look for Jill in the gardens on Tuesdays and Fridays.


Volunteer of the Month: William White

William_White_August2010_WEB William White has volunteered at MOSI since May and thus far has incurred a total of approximately 213 hours of volunteer service. William quickly absorbed responsibilities above and beyond those of the floor InterActor and was promoted to Floor Manger.

William was named volunteer of the month for July and we greatly appreciate his incredible initiative, ambition and drive! William has set a new standard for MOSI volunteers and volunteers in general!


Fractal Quilts by Rose Rushbrook

Currently on display in the Connecting Corridor Gallery are a selection of Fractal Art Quilts by Rose Rushbrook.

What is a fractal?: A fractal is "a rough or fragmented geometric shape that can be split into parts, each of which is (at least approximately) a reduced-size copy of the whole,".(1) image

Let’s take an example from nature, Romanesco Broccoli (Brassica oleracea) which can be described as a naturally occurring fractal. The main branches of this cauliflower relative are arranged in an ever increasing spiral curve also known as a logarithmic spiral. Each bud is composed of smaller buds that are similarly arranged in a logarithmic spiral making each branch a seemingly tiny copy of the whole.

The term fractal derives from the Latin word fractus which means “broken” or “fractured” and was coined in 1975 by French/American mathematician Benoît Mandelbrot. Mandelbrot is known as the father of fractal geometry.

DSCN0846 Fractals in Quilts: Artist Rose Rushbrooke takes the self-similarity designs of fractals and uses them as the basis for her art quilts. The artist begins with an image designed using fractal and graphic software. This image is translated to a black and white line drawing which is used to transfer the pattern to fabric.

As her media, Rose uses hand-dyed fabrics, velvets, quilting cotton, yarn, thread and ribbon. Using piecing and appliqué, the artist constructs a fractal in fabric. This fractal is then embroidered, beaded, embellished and finally sandwiched, quilted and bound to create a unique piece of mathematical art. DSCN0847

The first quilt pictured is entitled “Upon Reaching Middle Age: Grease”. The pattern is extracted from the Julia Set fractal and is executed in hand dyed and printed cotton, silk and polyester fabrics. The quilt is machine stitched and quilted in long cursive lines of the word ‘grease’ repeated again and again. Created in 2004 this quilt measures 62” x 82”.

About this quilt the artist writes: “Where did all the fat come from, the cellulite, the double chin, the dangle under the arms, the dissappearing waist? Whatever happened to the lithe and slim young body? Middle age came and the grease set in.”

DSCN0848 This next quilt is entitled “Royal Crustacean”. The pattern is an original fractal design. Executed in printed silk charmeuse, silk ribbon and embroidery floss, this quilt is hand embroidered and quilted. The finished piece measures a diminutive 18” by 14” and is mounted on a canvas frame.

About the title of this quilt the artist writes “The repetitive fractal image resembles a lobster tail and purple is the colour of royalty

You can read more about Rose Rushbrooke’s creation process for fractal quilts in this article.

About the Artist: Rose RushbrookeDSCN0850

Born in London, England. Lived abroad since 1986; moving to Antigua in the West Indies, then to Virginia and recently, Florida. Met her American husband in the Islands and relocated to the States in 1996.

Interest in modern fractal geometry led to using these fascinating images as a starting point for textile work. This artwork ranges from tiny pieces of embroidered silk; to large hand stitched fabric wallhangings.

Exhibits nationally and internationally. Five pieces were selected for 'The Marriage of Art, Science and Philosophy' exhibition at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland.

Recently spent two years earning an Advanced Diploma in Character Animation.

Filmed by HGTV for 'Simply Quilts', and by Adelphia for 'Artscape'; she is no longer owed her fifteen minutes of fame.

You can learn more about the artist, Rose Rushbrooke at her website Rushbrooke Strand. These fractal quilts will be on display at MOSI until September 6th, 2010.

(1)Mandelbrot, B.B. (1982). The Fractal Geometry of Nature. W.H. Freeman and Company.. ISBN 0-7167-1186-9.


MOSI’s Scientist Breeding Program

MOSI’s latest genetics experiment is in full swing. Here at MOSI, we are breeding the scientists of tomorrow! By carefully selecting MOSI scientific education staff as parents, we can guarantee that the future crop of scientists are destined for greatness!

image Calliope Lynn McIlrath was born on April 6th, 2010. Her mommy, Vivian McIlrath is our Youth Programs Coordinator. Vivian started at MOSI as a teenager in our YES! Team Program, attended USF, and continued teaching science and dissecting sharks all the while.

Calliope’s future goals will be to matriculate at a cool nursing school, begin eating solid foods, and to become potty trained. Her career goal is to become a marine biologist.


Rosabelle Marie Easterling was born on July 19th, 2010 to proud parents Luke and Lakin. Luke started in MOSI’s Education department in his young teenage years, left us to attend college and then was magnetically drawn back to MOSI.

We expect that Rosabelle will be working soon enough at MOSI with her dad, Uncle Jeff and Uncle Trevor. Clearly, MOSI just can’t get enough of this Easterling family. Future plans for Rosabelle include her development of new science shows for the museum, breakthrough work in string theory and the ability to crawl.

imageJocelyn Freya Hill, born May 8th 2010, is the newest of three itty bitty scientists produced by Tim Hill and his lovely wife Cara. No one really remembers how long Tim has been in the MOSI education department… he may have budded from the building itself.

As you can see by her attire, Jocelyn may well be headed into the time honored field of entomology. In the mean time she will work on bright smiles, ambulatory skills and safe handling of liquid nitrogen. Jocelyn will be helped along in her scientific endeavors by her two older siblings.pic

Alina Ponds was born August 8, 2009. Alina’s proud daddy AJ works in reservations and is one of the people you are most likely to have help you when you call the museum.

Alina’s future goals are to tackle sprinting, climbing, and using utensils. Her future career goal is to become a Marine Biologist.


Analyzing Dental Impressions at Home

By: Samantha Ribble

Now through September 6, the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) is hosting to the traveling exhibit CSI: The Experience. This interactive exhibit turns guests into crime solvers as they investigate the scene, collect and analyze evidence, and bring the criminal to justice. With three different crime scenes to choose from and a high-tech laboratory, visitors are sure to walk away with a greater knowledge of what it takes to be a CSI.

Kids can be investigators in their own homes by analyzing evidence of the mouth – dental impressions.

Eighty percent of the time, teeth impressions are used to identify unknown victims. When fingerprints cannot be recovered and DNA testing is not possible, the teeth can give investigators a place to start. Since the enamel on your teeth is one of the hardest substances in your body, teeth are often well preserved.

Humans get two sets of teeth in their lifetime. By age three, children have a complete set of 20 baby teeth. Permanent teeth begin developing around the age of six and, over a span of 15 years, continue to cultivate until all 32 adult teeth are in place.

Teeth can reveal age by looking closely at level of development and wear. Dental records help investigators match a person’s mouth to a name.

All you need to get your young ones started on their first investigation are a few household items: scissors, Styrofoam plate, marking pen, and a thick piece of cheese or chocolate. Have the investigator leave the room and one of the suspects take a bite out of the cheese/chocolate. See if you can identify the person who took the bite by comparing impressions.

  1. Divide the Styrofoam plate into six equal wedges. Cut the wedges.
  2. Take two of the wedges and stack them together. Cut off 1 inch from the pointed end of the wedges.
  3. Place the two wedges into your mouth as far as possible.
  4. Bite down on the wedges firmly and then remove them.
  5. Label the top and bottom wedges Top Teeth and Bottom Teeth.

Have your little investigator study the teeth impressions, make the comparisons, and figure out who bit it.

A Brief History of Dental Impressions:

The first published account where a suspect was convicted using bite mark evidence occurred in 1954 in the case of Doyle vs. State.

A grocery store in Aspermont, TX was broken into on the night of December 15, 1954. The burglar had stolen 13 silver dollars, small change, two bottles of whiskey, and decided to snack on some of the meats and cheeses behind the meat counter.

Once apprehended, the suspect was asked to bite into another piece of cheese. After a dentist compared the freshly bitten cheese slice and one recovered at the scene, the suspect was convicted of his crime.


Fingerprint Fun

A fingerprint is an impression of the pattern of ridges of a finger.DSCN0828 Because no two people have the exact same patterns of finger ridges, that unique pattern can be linked to a fingerprint left on an object. Fingerprints collected at a crime scene can be used in forensic science to identify a suspect, victim or any other person that may have touched a surface.

The science of fingerprint identification is also known as dactyloscopy. This term derives from the ancient Greek words daktylos which means “finger” and skopeō “I look at”. Fingerprints have been recorded as used since Ancient Babylon where business people would press their fingerprints into clay tablets to record business transactions.

The classification system used through most of the 20th century in the United States was developed in India in the late 1800’s by Sir Edward Henry. This is known as the Henry Classification System. This system breaks fingerprints down into three main categories: Loop, Whorl and Arch. The Loop, Whorl and Arch types of fingerprints represent 60-65, 30-35 and 5 percent of all fingerprints, respectively. This system is used more to exclude fingerprints based on their designs rather than to identify a single fingerprint.

Fingerprints at a Crime Scene: Fingerprints can be plastic, patent or latent. Plastic prints are left in a soft surface like wax or putty. Patent prints are visible to the eye and occur when your finger first touches a colored substance like ink and then presses against a surface and leaves a mark. Latent prints are invisible to the eye and are made up mostly of oils and sweat on your skin.

DSCN0822 Forensic scientists use many methods to make latent prints visible. On a solid surface like a mirror or countertop a fine dust can be applied that will stick to the oils left behind in a fingerprint. On a bumpy or uneven surface a fingerprint can be revealed by using heated superglue! On a surface like paper, specific chemicals can be used to develop the fingerprint so that it becomes visible.

The FBI maintains a fingerprint and criminal history database called the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System or IAFIS. Fingerprints are voluntarily submitted to IAFIS from local, state and federal agencies and come from criminal and non-criminal sources.

Put your investigative skills to the test in the exhibit CSI: The Experience, created in cooperation with the hit CBS franchise. You’ll use cutting edge forensic science and technology to investigate a crime scene, analyze evidence and build a case. Discover if your skills solve the crime … or leave the case cold!

CSI: The Experience was developed by the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History with support from CBS Consumer Products, the cast and crew of the television show, the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, and the National Science Foundation. ® CBS © 2000-2010 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. and Entertainment AB Funding LLC. All Rights Reserved.


Summer Solstice Science


The Summer Solstice is the day of the year in which we have the longest period of daylight. Today in Tampa the sun rose at 6:34am and will not set until 8:29pm.

The Summer Solstice occurs exactly when the Earth's axial tilt or obliquity is most inclined towards the sun at its maximum of 23° 26'. In the Northern Hemisphere this generally happens at a point between June 20th and June 21st when the Northern Hemisphere is tilted closest to the sun. In the Southern Hemisphere this is reversed. Today the Southern Hemisphere is tilted furthest away from the sun and is currently experiencing the Winter Solstice or longest period of night. In the Southern Hemisphere the Summer Solstice occurs in late December. The cumulative cooling and warming that result from the tilt of the planet become most pronounced after the solstices, leading to the custom of using these days to mark the traditional beginning of summer and winter.

Since Neolithic times, cultures have celebrated the longest days and nights of each year. In Roman times the Summer Solstice was celebrated each summer on June 24th. In fact, the word solstice derives from the Latin words sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still). In ancient Europe pagans lit great bonfires on the night of the Sunchoke Summer Solstice and the holiday was often connected with healing and the first fruits of the seasons. With the advent of Christianity the date of the solstice became connected with the birth of St. John the Baptist and is still celebrated as St. John’s Day in many countries.

Have a fantastic longest day of the year and a happy summer!


The Amazing You: Phase II

Opening this Saturday, April 10th 2010, you can now find The Amazing You: Phase II located on the third floor of MOSI.

Building upon the concepts presented in The Amazing You covering conception through teenage years, The Amazing You: Phase II covers topics of the body and health relating to young adults through to seniors. You can watch interviews with organ donors, check out a simulated patient and scanner technology, and listen to heart rhythms in the cardiology exhibit. Other exhibits detail joint replacements, the power of laughter and meditation, cancer detection and research and scores more health topics relating to the later years of life.

One of the highlights of the exhibit is Mindball: a two player game using brain waves to send a plastic ball over to your opponent’s side. The most relaxed player wins! For a sure advantage, make sure to visit the ‘zen room’ before game play.

Construction is being completed this week on the third floor at MOSI to be ready for the Saturday opening to the public. Hope to see you there!

This exhibition is sponsored by MetLife Foundation.


Florida’s Fabulous Visitors

Black Mangrove AS164W LGGMOSI’s second floor connecting corridor gallery is currently host to a beautiful art exhibition entitled Florida’s Fabulous Visitors by artist Debra Jane Carey. Gorgeous botanical drawings invite you to discover how plant-animal communities support Florida's wildlife by detailing the interactions of plants and wildlife.

Butterflies are show with their host plants, pollinators with the plants that rely upon them. These stunning drawings allow you the up-close look at nature that is a rarity in the wild.

“Botanical Illustration is a balance between the realistic rendering of a plant and the stylistic interpretation of the artist.”

Debra Jane Carey is an internationally recognized and award-winning artist who brings nature alive by spotlighting in breathtaking detail the magic of plants and animals.

About The Artist—Illustrator joined the University of Illinois Master Zebra Longwing AS150W LGGGardener Program in 1993 where she trained in botany and entomology.

Carey achieved her Certificate in Botanical Art & Illustration in 1998. Her art embodies her fine draftsmanship and a thorough understanding of the subject matter. In 2002, Carey taught research, history and techniques of botanical illustration at Ringling School of Art and Design. The compilation of this course is detailed in the book, “Ten Steps: A Course in Botanical Art & Illustration, Vol. III O.M. Briada 2005.

Carey exhibits nationally and locally in 2006 with Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota, Florida. She collaborated with Selby to create artwork in turn posters that won the “education award” for a booth at the American Orchid Society Florida tour.

clip_image002[5]Bishop Kay Ward, 2009 published her third inspirational book Hoping for Spring. Debra contributed illustrations to the book cover.

Dr. Emrys Miles Chew Khean Aun, Editor of the prestigious Malayan Orchid Review published Debra’s Darwin’s Prediction Illustration in the December 2009 editorial titled The Orchid in Representational Culture.

Debra’s greeting cards are available for purchase at the MOSI museum store.


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!


da Vinci: The Genius- Carro Armato

From 1482 to 1499 da Vinci lived in Milan under the patronage ofDSCN0475 Duke Ludovico Sforza, known also as il Moro. During this period Leonardo da Vinci created masterpieces of both art and science which help to demonstrate the breadth of his accomplishments. Many of his machines we designed for defense of Milan or to increase her military strength against enemies.

In an introductory letter to Duke Ludovico preserved in the Codex Atlantico, Leonardo wrote “I can make armoured cars, safe and unassailable, which will enter the serried ranks of the enemy with their artillery, and there is no company of men at arms so great that they will break it. And behind these the infantry will be able to follow quite unharmed and without any opposition."

One of da Vinci’s incredible military designs is the armored vehicle. This turtle-like device allows for eight men inside to move through enemy lines without injury. Inside, four wheels can be powered by cranks to move the tank without the need of horses. Small cannon are spaced around the edge of the tank allowing the soldiers inside to fire upon enemies while remaining protected.

The original plans for this design have front and back wheels geared in opposition which renders the tank unable to properly move. It has been suggested that da Vinci designed the flaw purposely so that if his plans were stolen the machine would be unusable.

The first modern tank was not realized until WWI with the premier of ‘Little Willie’, a 14 ton armored vehicle that could carry three men in cramped conditions at a top speed of two to three miles per hour. You can learn more about the development of the modern tank at this link.

A beautifully constructed model of da Vinci’s armored tank design can be seen inside the da Vinci: The Genius exhibit. Through an open door you can see the crank driven wheels and other innards of the design.


Treasures of the Modern Renaissance: Reichsadler-humpen

The Reichsadler-humpen: A test and a masterwork

The Reichsadler-humpen is a style of enameled German glass, which20090623004 displayed the Heraldic representation of the parts of the Holy Roman Empire. It was an important piece to the patron, the recipient, and the artist. The double headed eagle was used as the centerpiece to represent the Holy Roman Empire and signified with its’ outstretched wings the embracing of all of its parts. “The breast bears either a crucifix, indication of the God-willed protectorate of the Emperor or, more frequently, the orb of state, the Emperor’s secular symbol.”

“The wings are usually covered by fifty-six shields; flaming coronal motifs, symbols of the Order of the Golden Fleece, are put along their edges. With the exception of the top row which includes the seven Electors and, for the sake of symmetry, the Apostolic See, they have shields are arranged in vertically oriented groups of four. They represent the Quaterniones Inperii, the ‘reichsständige Quatuorvirate.’ The idea was to have four representatives of each category 20090623005and profession within the structure of the Holy Roman Empire, thus forming on great ‘democratic’ body”

The Quaterniones Inperii, the ‘reichsständige Quatuorvirate is a collection of engravings and woodcuts. The first known copy dates to 1460 in Peter von Andlau’s De Imperio Romano.

The ribbons above each shield are the names of those arms listed and the ribbons at the bottom of each row identify the particular group. The symbols of the Order of the Golden Fleece most often found are the flaming and crowned flint stone. Many Reichsadler pieces bear the names, coats of arms, initials and other designations of the owners. Ninety-five percent of the known pieces where enameled on the humpen style glass. The theme of these pieces was enameled with different stylistic motifs. Glass Curators can categorize the known 20090623006period pieces by these features and can identify the location and/or school of origin.

To the artist, this was an important piece. As this piece was very difficult to complete, their Masters used it as a test for apprentices as a final piece. Glass enamellers were given the task of enameling the piece in one and a half days. If the piece was completed in time and to the expected level of expertise, the student was then elevated to the rank of Master Glazier (glass enameller).

Saldern, Axel von. German Enameled Glass. The Edwin J. Beinecke Collection and Related Pieces. New York: The Corning Museum of Glass, publ. 1965

About the Artist: Cyndi Maners

displayAL Cyndi Maners has been studying 16th century German art since 1999. Her love for German enameled glass began after viewing a private art collection in Worms, Germany. Mrs. Maners enjoys other art forms as calligraphy, illumination, enameling, beading, fiber arts and sewing. Cyndi is known as Frieherrin Adelheid Leinwater in the Society for Creative Anachronism.


da Vinci’s Biciletta?

Another item spotlight from da Vinci: The Genius : The da Vinci bicycle.

A drawing astonishingly close to the modern bicycle

was attributed by some to Leonardo da Vinci but now it is refuted as a later addition by a student of da Vinci’s or more likely as a modern hoax.

Discovery of the Sketch: During restoration work on the Codice Atlantico in the 1960’s, a curious drawing came to light. Hidden behind a mat frame was a small sketch of a two wheeled vehicle, so similar to that of a modern bicycle that it was truly a shock. Although thought of initially as a wonderful new find, the drawing quickly came into question. Many have suggested that the work is a modern forgery and that the drawing style employed is very different from that of Leonardo da Vinci. A great number of convincing articles have been presented showing reasons to suggest that the sketch is a hoax, however the sketch continues to capture the imagination of da Vinci enthusiasts. To learn more, check out this article on the da Vinci Bicycle Hoax.

This gorgeous reproduction of the bicycle sketch in the Codice Atlantico presents a machine that da Vinci likely did not conceive, however so many of its workings could easily be adapted from inventions that Leonardo truly did devise.

About the Codice Atlantico: Pompeo Leoni, a 16th century sculptor collected Leonardo 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.

A Bicycle is born: Credit for the modern bicycle is often attributed to Pierre and Ernest Michaux, Parisian carriage makers who presented the two-wheeled pedal-operated velocipede in the 1860’s. Pierre Lallement, an employee of Michaux, claimed the design had been stolen from him and moved to America to established his own company in Connecticut. Lallement registered the first bicycle patent in 1866. The patent was bought by Albert A. Pope and the design was produced and marketed as the Columbia bicycle.