Past Events


Perspectives on the famous horse

From national pride to the art of taxidermy to the changes wrought upon
the land and people of the Great Plains, the horse known as Comanche has
been an enduring ­ and changing ­ symbol for almost 150 years. At 7 p.m.
Thursday, Feb. 2, the KU Natural History Museum Student Advisory Board
invites the public to explore the history of this famous horse exhibited
at the museum.

Speakers for the event include Leonard Krishtalka, director of the KU
Biodiversity Institute; William Sharp, co-author of "The Dashing Kansan,"
and Bruce Scherting, director of exhibits at the KU Natural History
Museum. Light refreshments will be served.

Event Details

Date/Time Thursday, February 2, 2012 - 7:00pm - 9:00pm

Film Festival and Filmmaker Talk at the Commons

The Commons in Spooner Hall is hosting a free film festival and filmmaker talk on Sunday, January 29:

3 p.m.
Germany Year Zero (1948)
Partially filmed among the rubble of post-World War II Berlin, Germany Year Zero follows the life of thirteen-year-old Edmund Kohler (Moeschke) and his destitute family as they struggle with life in the aftermath of the War.

4:30 p.m.
Dark City (1998)
A futuristic drama, Dark City is set in an urban environment that never emerges from the darkness of night. It tells the story of John Murdoch (Sewell), a man suffering from amnesia who finds himself accused of murder. Murdoch attempts to discover his true identity and clear his name while on the run.

6:15 p.m.
Carl Deal, filmmaker. Director of Trouble the Water (2008)
Deal is a 1988 graduate of the University of Kansas. Prior to the making of Trouble the Water, Deal worked as an international news producer and a writer, reporting from natural disasters and conflict zones throughout the U.S., Latin America, and in Iraq.

7:00 p.m.
Trouble the Water (2008)
An Academy Award nominee for Best Documentary, Trouble the Water follows the story of residents of the Lower Ninth Ward after Hurricane Katrina destroyed the district.


Event Details

Date/Time Sunday, January 29, 2012 - 3:00pm - 8:30pm

Disasters as Design Moment: Does Urban Design Make Sense after Disasters?

What can we learn about cities and urban design after a disaster? Professor Jake Wagner, Associate Professor of Urban Planning + Design,
 University of Missouri - Kansas City
, will address some of the challenges of rebuilding cities in the wake of major disasters through examples including New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and the recovery of Joplin, MO after the May 2011 tornado.

The Idea Café is intended to elicit energetic exchanges between attendees in response to the speaker's introduction. 

Lunch is provided, and RSVP is required by October 31. Limit 40 guests.
 RSVP to Emily Ryan at

Event Details

Date/Time Wednesday, November 9, 2011 - 12:30pm - 2:00pm

Argument Engagement

A Science on Tap event

Parents, teachers and children alike know searching online or reading for information can yield conflicting answers, especially if the results have competing claims or facts. But how can children learn the nuances between data, facts and opinion or find ways to evaluate evidence and reasoning? Janis Bulgren, KU assistant research professor at the KU Center for Research on Learning, will lead a conversation about current research on preparing students to engage in argumentation. The research aims to help students better acquire higher order reasoning in science, technology, engineering and math, and extend that thinking to other subjects or real-world issues.

Science on Tap is a science cafe. Doors open at Free State Brewing Company at 6 p.m., and the discussion begins at 7:30 p.m. Join us early for dinner, or come just for the conversation.

Event Details

Date/Time Tuesday, November 8, 2011 - 7:30pm - 9:00pm

Behind the Scenes: Fishes

For more than 140 years, KU scientists and students have collected and studied Earth's animals and plants. Only a few of these specimens are on display for the public in the exhibits of the KU Natural History Museum; milions more are in jars or on shelves throughout the Biodiversity Institute's research areas.

Now is your chance to see one of our collections up close. At 5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 6, fishes collections manager Andy Bentley will offer a behind-the-scenes tour of our fishes (ichthyology) collection. The collection includes more than 600,000 specimens of fishes from around the world and is the basis of ichthyology research at KU. In addition to an emphasis on freshwater fishes of the central United States, the collection has significant marine holdings that include sharks, rays and a coelacanth.

Advanced registration for this event is required. A $7 contribution for the tour is suggested for the public, and $5 for museum members. Please call 785.864.2344 to register.

Event Details

Date/Time Sunday, November 6, 2011 - 5:00pm - 7:00pm

What on Earth? Rocks, Fossils and Meteorites

Bring your rocks, fossils and meteorites to the KU Natural History Museum to be identified by our experts.

In celebration of National Fossil Day, our scientists with specialties in invertebrate and vertebrate fossils, plant fossils and geology will help you find out what your treasures really are. They will also have examples of fossils, rocks and geology on display. While you're here, check out our new exhibit on trilobites, too.


Event Details

Date/Time Sunday, October 23, 2011 - 1:00pm - 4:00pm

Thinking Through Overeating

A Science on Tap event

Obesity ultimately arises from chronic imbalances between energy intake and expenditure. New research has focused on the role of the brain in evaluating the rewarding properties of food, and making decisions about what and how much to eat. Using the technology of functional MRI, scientists hope to understand how brain function makes a diet successful. For this Science on Tap, Cary Savage of the KU Center for Health Behavior Neuroscience will lead a conversation about the brain, and what images of the brain reveal about the choices we make.

Science on Tap is a science cafe. Doors open at Free State Brewing Company at 6 p.m., and the discussion begins at 7:30 p.m. Join us early for dinner, or come just for the conversation.

Event Details

Date/Time Tuesday, October 18, 2011 - 7:30pm

The Darwin Project

Presented by The Friends of Chamber Music

The KU Natural History Museum invites the public to the premiere of The Darwin Project, presented by the Friends of Chamber Music at the new Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. This unique multi-media concert experience explores the life of Charles Darwin and the theory that changed the view of life. Featuring renowned actors and classical music presented by string quartet, solo piano, and chamber choir, the performance combines live theatre, historic images and captivating original photography from some of today’s finest field biologists.

As part of the this event, the KU Natural History Museum will be displaying a fossil of a giant armadillo at the Kauffman Center. Discovered by H.T. Martin, a former curator of palentology at KU, the fossil is from the same region of South America explored by Charles Darwin when he sailed on the H.M.S. Beagle. Tickets for the event are available through the Friends of Chamber Music.

Event Details

Date/Time Friday, October 14, 2011 - 8:00pm

Author! Author!

A Paleontology and Geology Book Signing event

Join us Sept. 30 from 4-5:30 at Jayhawk Ink in the Kansas Union for a paleontology faculty book reception. The event features the work of several paleontology and geology faculty members:

Richard J. Gentile: Rocks and Fossils of the Central United States, with Special Emphasis on the Greater Kansas City Area
Larry D. Martin: The Other Saber-Tooths: Scimitar-Tooth Cats of the Western Hemisphere (with Virginia L. Naples and John P. Babiarz)
Daniel F. Merriam: Observations, Recollections, and Impressions of The Kansas Geological Survey at The University of Kansas
Paul A. Selden: Fossil Ecosystems of North America (with John R. Nudds)

Light refreshments will be served.

Event Details

Date/Time Friday, September 30, 2011 - 4:00pm - 5:30pm

Keeping It Real: Online Interpersonal Relationships

A Science on Tap event

Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, and other online sites brought about major changes in our interpersonal communication. These technologies can make us question which relationships and identities are real, and who and what we can trust. Join us for a conversation with KU Communication Studies Professor Nancy Baym about the connections we form online through social media.

Science on Tap is a science cafe. Doors open at Free State Brewing Company at 6 p.m., and the discussion begins at 7:30 p.m. Join us early for dinner, or come just for the conversation.

Event Details

Date/Time Tuesday, September 20, 2011 - 7:30pm