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Hours of Operation

.

All Attractions open
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See Planetarium show
schedule, here.

 

We look forward to seeing you!


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at the Manitoba Museum.

This policy will be in place
until June 30.


Click for Holiday Hours
Hours of operation vary for different holidays.

 

Victoria Day (May 23)
All attractions open
11 am – 5 pm

 

Blog

Cultural Anthropology

Cultural Anthropology

05/20/22

The Plants that Ruled When Dinosaurs Did

When most people think of plants, they typically picture flowers: cherry trees in bloom, colourful tulips and exotic-looking orchids. This is because 90% of all living plant species are flowering plants (i.e., angiosperms). But when dinosaurs first evolved 225 million years ago (mya), flowers were nowhere to be found.

Tree ferns, like this one at the Montreal Botanical Garden, were common when dinosaurs still existed. © Manitoba Museum

First Plants
The first land plants did not produce seeds; instead, they reproduced using spores. Like amphibians, they needed water for reproduction, which restricted them to habitats that were moist. These spore-producing plants included mosses, liverworts, club mosses, horsetails, ferns and several, completely extinct plant groups called Rhyniophytes and Zosterophylls. When the first dinosaurs evolved in the Triassic Period (252-201 mya), spore-producing plants, like tree ferns and human-sized quillworts (e.g. Pleuromeia), were common (Palmer et al. 2009). Although these sorts of plants still exist today, their ancestors looked much different than the ones we are familiar with.

The tiny Prickly Tree Club-moss (Lycopodium dendroideum), which lives on Manitoba’s forest floors, is one of the few surviving club-moss species. © Manitoba Museum

Ancient Seeds
Seed plants evolved in the Late Devonian (416-359 mya), eventually becoming the dominant vegetation by the Early Cretaceous (145-100 mya). A seed consists of a plant embryo, a source of food, and a protective coat. This adaptation helped seed plants, like conifers, gingkos and cycads, out-compete the spore-producing plants, particularly in drier habitats.

Modern Maidenhair trees (Ginkgo biloba) are considered “living fossils” because they look almost exactly like Jurassic fossils of ginkgos. From Wikimedia Commons.

First Flowers
Flowering plants similar to modern magnolias, dogwoods, and oaks, appeared rather abruptly in the fossil record, about 90 mya (Late Cretaceous). Decades of searching by palaeobotanists for the first flowers has finally borne fruit (pardon the pun). The most recent evidence of an undisputed flowering plant is a fossil named Florigerminis jurassica (Cui et al., 2021). The discovery of this fossilized flower bud and fruit, indicates that flowering plants evolved nearly 75 million years earlier than originally thought, in the Jurassic Period 164 mya (Cui et al., 2021).

Dinosaurs would have eaten cycads, plants that produce cones in the very centre of their trunk. This specimen was at the Montreal Botanical Garden. © Manitoba Museum

Floral Rarity
Part of the reason why flower fossils are so rare is because these structures are very delicate. Flowers likely decompose long before they can fossilize. In fact, some species that palaeontologists think were cone-bearing, may have actually borne flowers, since we only have fossils of their leaves. Another reason flowers did not often fossilize, is that Late Jurassic and Early Cretaceous flowering plants may have grown in relatively dry habitats, where fossilization rarely occurs.

Most plant fossils consist of leaves or wood; flowers rarely fossilize. © Manitoba Museum B-254

Changing Ecosystems
It wasn’t just the animal world that changed when that giant asteroid hit the earth 66 mya; it was the plant world, too. In North America, about 50% of the plant species (mainly the slower-growing, cone-bearing plants) went extinct at the end of the Cretaceous period (Condamine et al. 2020). Afterwards, the evolution of flowering plants was rapid, thanks in part to coevolution with pollinating insects like bees (Benton et al. 2022). With their quick growth, drought tolerance, and long-lived seeds, flowering plants were better able to colonize the devastated earth than cone-and spore-bearing species (Benton et al. 2022, Condamine et al. 2022). Thus, the evolution of flowering plants parallels that of mammals.

Many modern flowering plants, such as Early Yellow Locoweed (Oxytropis campestris), coevolved with pollinating insects, such as bumblebees (Bombus). © Manitoba Museum

So, when you visit the “Ultimate Dinosaurs” exhibit at the Manitoba Museum this summer, remember to look closely at the murals behind the dinos. They accurately portray the kinds of plants that supported those ancient creatures so long ago.

Mural art from the Ultimate Dinosaurs exhibit showing ancient vegetation communities. © Ultimate Dinosaurs Presented by Science Museum of Minnesota. Created and Produced by the Royal Ontario Museum. Mural Artist: Julius Csotoyi

References
Benton, M.J., Wilf, P. and Sauquet, H., 2022. The Angiosperm Terrestrial Revolution and the origins of modern biodiversity. New Phytologist, 233(5), pp.2017-2035.

Condamine, F.L., Silvestro, D., Koppelhus, E.B. and Antonelli, A., 2020. The rise of angiosperms pushed conifers to decline during global cooling. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 117(46), pp. 28867-28875.

Cui, D.F., Hou, Y., Yin, P. and Wang, X., 2021. A Jurassic flower bud from the Jurassic of China. Geological Society, London, Special Publications, 521.

Palmer, D., Lamb, S., Gavira Guerrero, A. and Frances, P. 2009. Prehistoric life: the definitive visual history of life on earth. New York, N.Y., DK Pub.

05/17/22

Making the Old New Again, but Still Old! The Winnipeg 1920 Cityscape

One of our most popular exhibits at the Museum is the “Winnipeg 1920 Cityscape”. Built in 1974, it used to be called the “Urban Gallery.” It’s the immersive experience of this gallery that makes it so popular. People love to walk through the buildings, turn corners, step through doors, discovering bits of history as they explore.

But in my time at the museum I noticed a few issues with this family favourite. The biggest problem? Very few people knew what they were visiting! People called it the “old town,” “the prairie village,” and even “the mining town!” In fact, it was always meant to represent Winnipeg in the year 1920. Through the years, our Learning and Engagement team has done a great job of interpreting the space for school groups, but there was very little interpretation for the casual visitor. Many of the buildings were based on fictional places, so we need to update the gallery so they are based on real Winnipeg businesses and institutions (and people). Finally, the gallery kind of felt like a ghost town. But Winnipeg in 1920 was Canada’s third largest city, bustling with people of many backgrounds!

We had work to do, to educate visitors while enlivening the space.

New projections in Winnipeg 1920 highlight the busy streets of Canada’s third largest city.

Over the last few years, we’ve been planning how to do just that. We’re just finishing Phase I of a three year project to renew this gallery so it reflects real places and the diversity of people that lived in Winnipeg at the time. Winnipeg in 1920 had a busy Chinatown, a thriving Black community, large groups of Ukrainian, Jewish, and Metis people, among many settlers from Ontario and the United Kingdom. The Winnipeg 1920 Cityscape will reflect this diversity, because it was real and it laid the foundation of who we are today as a city.

A series of 1920 headlines from the Winnipeg Tribune stream across a stone wall.

This year, you’ll notice some changes. Eleven all new, realistic mannequins inhabit the space, and more are on the way. Audio dialogues can be heard in three of the rooms, with people discussing the Strike of 1919 and the upcoming provincial vote of June 1920, in which some women could vote for the first time. Panels will provide historical context for people and businesses. Video projections on various buildings bring the place to life with film and slides of Winnipeg from the period. Wait till you experience driving down Portage Avenue in 1920! You’ll be thankful for today’s traffic laws.

This fine fellow is ready to say hello to any visitor to the Tribune Building. And he’s got some friends…

 

When you visit the gallery, check out these spaces, which are all new or have important changes. Can you see what’s different?

Dominion Immigration Building

Sing Wo Laundry

Train station landing, Sleeping Car Porter

Colclough & Co. Drug Store

Boarding rooms, upstairs

James and Foote Photography, upstairs

Tribune Newspaper Building (look up!)

The Allen Theatre

Garvin Parlour and Dentist Office

The Dominion Immigration Building at the Canadian Pacific Railway station welcomed thousands of newcomers in the early 20th century.

And that’s just the start!

This project has been generously supported by The Manitoba Museum Foundation and the Province of Manitoba through the Heritage Grants Program.

05/16/22

ULTIMATE DINOSAURS blockbuster exhibition roars into the Manitoba Museum on Saturday, May 21

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MEDIA CONTACT: Jody Tresoor, Manager of Marketing & Communications, 204-228-2374, [email protected]

 

(Winnipeg, MB: May 16, 2022)  Prehistory takes on 21st-century technology beginning this Saturday, May 21, when Ultimate Dinosaurs, a blockbuster exhibition featuring fully-articulated dinosaur skeletons from unusual locations in the Southern Hemisphere, opens at the Manitoba Museum.
 

Members of the media are invited to preview
ULTIMATE DINOSAURS 
Wednesday, May 18 • 10 am – 2 pm.
 

Please contact Jody Tresoor at 204-228-2374 or [email protected] 
to arrange for interviews with
Dr. Graham Young, Curator of Geology & Paleontology.

 
Based on groundbreaking research from scientists around the world, Ultimate Dinosaurs reveals dinosaurs that evolved in isolation in South America, Africa and Madagascar – dinosaurs that are unfamiliar to most North Americans. The exhibition seeks to answer the question: why are southern dinosaurs so unique and bizarre, and why are they so different from their North American counterparts?

“This isn’t your typical dinosaur exhibition,” says Dr. Graham Young, Curator of Geology & Paleontology at the Manitoba Museum. “Ultimate Dinosaurs features incredible, rarely-seen specimens and colorful environments combined with new technology to create virtual experiences. It’s a powerful example of how augmented reality can bring the deep past to life.”
 
In addition to seeing the specimens, learning more about the adaptations that made these dinosaurs unique, and using augmented reality technology to make them come to life, visitors to Ultimate Dinosaurs can expect hands-on activities that will help them explore physical characteristics like crests and frills, stride patterns, and more.
 
The exhibition tells the story of the break-up of supercontinent Pangaea into the continents that we know today and the ways that continental drift affected the evolution of dinosaurs during the Mesozoic Era, 250 to 65 million years ago. As Pangaea divided first into Laurasia in the north and Gondwana in the south, and later into the many continents we know today, dinosaurs were passengers on these drifting land masses. Visitors to Ultimate Dinosaurs will discover that an amazing diversity of species evolved as a result of this phenomenon. Their imposed geographic location helped promote the evolution of these dinosaurs into an incredible array of unusual forms that dominated wherever they lived.
 
Some of the dinosaurs featured in the Ultimate Dinosaurs exhibition include:

  • Giganotosaurus, the largest carnivorous dinosaur from Gondwana and perhaps the largest land predator ever.  Giganotosaurus is similar in size to Laurasia’s more famous Tyrannosaurus rex.
  • Suchomimus, a spinosaur from the Sahara Desert in Niger. This animal was 33 feet long and would have weighed more than 6,600 pounds.
  • Eoraptor, a bipedal dinosaur that lived about 228 million years ago that had two different kinds of teeth – both serrated and flat – indicating that it was an omnivore.
  • Malawisaurus, one of the earliest titanosaurs, was a sauropod from Africa. Like most titanosaurs, Malawisaurus had bones in its skin, similar to those in modern crocodiles.
  • Majungasaurus, a theropod from Madagascar. Extensive research on this species of dinosaur determined that, at least some of the time, it demonstrated cannibalistic behavior.

Ultimate Dinosaurs is produced by the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) in Toronto and presented by the Science Museum of Minnesota.


DINOSAURS: A Story of Survival! Planetarium Show also Opens May 21

 

The adventure continues with Dinosaurs: A Story of Survival! a full-dome Planetarium show that also opens on May 21, 2022. This journey through time presents the incredible variety of dinosaurs that ruled our planet’s past. Celeste, a young girl fascinated by dinosaurs, travels with her wise and magical friend Moon on an amazing adventure and learns that not all dinosaurs went extinct. This show is appropriate for all ages.


Visitor Information

Ultimate Dinosaurs runs from Saturday, May 21 through to Monday, September, 5, 2022 in Alloway Hall at the Manitoba Museum. The Manitoba Museum, including the Planetarium and Science Gallery, is open Thursday to Sunday, 11 am to 5 pm, from May 21 to June 26. Starting June 27, the Museum will be open seven days a week, including holidays, until September 5. The Museum is also open for First Fridays from 5 pm to 9 pm.

Admission for the blockbuster exhibit Ultimate Dinosaurs and the Planetarium show Dinosaurs: A Story of Survival is $24 for adults, $22 for seniors, and $19 for youth (3-17 years old). Members pay $10 for Ultimate Dinosaurs and see the Planetarium show for FREE. Tickets and more information are available at ManitobaMuseum.ca.


For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact:
Jody Tresoor
Manager of Marketing & Communications
E: [email protected]
T: 204-988-0614 • C: 204-228-2374

 

04/12/22

A fruit in vegetable’s clothing

Like many of you, I am eagerly awaiting spring so that I can start planting my vegetable garden. There’s nothing better than eating bruschetta with freshly harvested vine-ripened tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum) and steamed green beans (Phaseolus sp.) with fried cream (see recipes at the end). My mouth drools just thinking about it! But the funny thing about tomatoes and green beans is that they are not actually vegetables: they are fruits masquerading as vegetables.

When you eat fresh green beans, you are eating the fruit (outer pod) and the immature seeds inside. From Wikimedia Commons.

In fact, there are many other things we think of as vegetables that are actually fruits: avocados (Persea americana), cucumber (Cucumis sativus), eggplant (Solanum melongena), okra (Abelmoschus esculentus), olives (Olea europaea), peppers (Capsicum spp.), snow peas (Pisum sativum), squashes including pumpkin (Cucurbita spp.), tomatillos (Physalis spp.) and zucchini (Cucurbita pepo). We tend to define fruits as plant parts that are sweet and vegetables as plant parts that are not sweet. However, botanically, a fruit is a ripened ovary that contains seeds inside it, so all of the aforementioned plants meet the definition of a “fruit”, even though we rarely eat them the way we eat fruit (in a pie with ice cream!). For this reason, some people call them “vegetable fruits”.

Although it is not sweet, avocado is still considered a fruit because of the seed inside. From Wikimedia Commons.

Complicating things further is the fact that the fleshy parts of some “fruits”, like apples (Malus domesticus), pears (Pyrus spp.) and strawberries (Fragaria spp.), are not actually ripened ovaries at all, but greatly enlarged fleshy petals, or upper flower stalks (see Why a Strawberry is not a Fruit for a more thorough explanation).

The apple “fruit” is actually just the core; the fleshy part we eat is formed from petal tissues. From Wikimedia Commons.

“Aha” you might be thinking, what about bananas (Musa spp.)?  They don’t have seeds. You may have noticed though, that there are little black specks inside bananas; those are tiny ovules (unfertilized seeds) that never ripened  because the plants are sterile. Since people don’t usually like spitting out seeds, plant breeders have found ways to produce sterile, seedless varieties (often with an odd number of chromosomes) of certain plants such as citrus fruits, watermelons (Citrullus lanatus) and bananas.

Seeds inside a wild, fertile banana. From Wikimedia Commons.

There are actually four different kinds of vegetables, which vary according to the part of the plant you are actually eating: roots, stems, leaves, or inflorescences. Root vegetables are either fairly slender taproots (e.g. carrots or Daucus carota), or swollen, tuberous roots (e.g. sweet potato or Ipomoea batatas).  Roots store starch that the plant can use the following year to grow new leaves.

Some of the vegetables we eat consist of stems (e.g. corms, tubers and rhizomes) or leaves (e.g. bulbs) that grow underground.  Like roots, these structures are fleshy and store starch.  However, corms grow upright and rhizomes grow horizontally. Tubers, on the other hand, can grow in any direction.  Tubers also possess tiny “eyes” all over it that represent leaf buds. For this reason, you can plant a single tuber (or just part of it as long as there is an “eye” on it), and it will grow into a whole new plant.

The non-green parts of bulbs, like onions (Allium cepa), are actually special, fleshy leaves that store starch. Some vegetables, like broccoli (Brassica oleracea), actually consist of upper stems and unopened flowers, known as inflorescences. See the table below to find out what your favorite vegetables actually are.

Table 1. Plant parts that vegetables represent.

Main plant part Category Examples
Root Beets, burdock, carrot, cassava, celeriac, daikon, horseradish, parsnip, radish, rutabaga, sugar beet, sweet potato (Ipomoea), turnip
Stem (above ground) Stalk Asparagus, bamboo shoots, celery, cinnamon, fiddleheads, heart of palm, kohlrabi, rhubarb
Stem (below ground) Corm Taro, water chestnut
Rhizome Galagal, ginger, lotus, turmeric, wasabi
Tuber Jicama, oca, potato, sunchokes, yam (Dioscorea)
Leaf (below ground) Bulbs Garlic, leeks, onion, shallots
Leaf (above ground) Greens Arugula, bok choi, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, Chinese mustard, dandelion, endive, goosefoot, herbs (e.g. basil, oregano, rosemary), kale, lettuce, mustard greens, nettle, rocket, spinach, sorrel, Swiss chard, watercress
Inflorescences Artichoke, broccoli, capers (flower buds), cauliflower, rapini

Seed potatoes are tubers that can be planted to grow new plants. From Wikimedia Commons

To finish off, here are two of my favorite “vegetable fruit” recipes. Unfortunately, you’ll just have to wait a few more months to try them.

Bruschetta
Coarsely chop however many fresh tomatoes you want to eat, and put in a bowl. Mix in coarsely chopped onions and some sliced fresh basil. Pour in enough olive oil and balsamic vinegar to generously coat. Season with salt and pepper and toss. Let sit for 15 minutes. Heap onto garlic toast and savour the flavour of summer!

Beans with Fried Cream
Steam fresh yellow or green wax beans until tender. Meanwhile, finely chop some onion and sauté with butter till golden over medium heat. Add cream to pan and cook, stirring until thickened. Add paprika, salt and pepper to taste. Pour over cooked beans and toss. Bon appétit!

03/18/22

A Bison Rubbing Stone in the Prairies Gallery: How Did That Boulder Get There?

The bison rubbing stone is beside the Pronghorn Diorama, at the entrance to the Prairies Gallery.

Bison rubbing stones are icons of the prairies. These large stones were originally transported south by Ice Age glaciers, then left behind on the prairies when the glaciers melted and receded roughly 12,000 years ago. They are therefore considered to be a form of fieldstone, and such large blocks of fieldstone are commonly called glacial erratics.

In the millennia since the glaciers left this region, rubbing stones have undergone a lengthy and intensive polishing process. These are boulders that were tall enough that they were made use of by itchy bison, who needed to shed their heavy winter coats or scratch after being bitten by flies and mosquitoes. The rubbing by bison over such a long time interval, along with the oils from the animals’ hides, gives rubbing stones a distinctive patina, and a rubbing stone is typically surrounded by a ring of flattened, eroded earth.

A rubbing stone at the Star Mound historic site

For our new Prairies Gallery, we knew that we wanted to include this sort of defining prairie element as a full-sized touchable piece, but we also knew that a cast or sculpted stone just wouldn’t do it. We had to acquire a real stone, and it had to be light enough that it could be moved into our gallery and placed safely on the gallery floor for an indefinite period of time. Since the gallery’s weight allowance is quite limited, how could this possibly be done?

Kevin Brownlee, Curator of Archaeology, examined the stone when we first saw it outside Todd Braun’s workshop in February, 2020.

As was the case for our fieldstone wall, we discussed this with stonemason Todd Braun quite early in the gallery development process. Although we thought that there should be a real boulder in the gallery, we also knew that it could not be a recognized rubbing stone, as those are heritage objects that should be left undisturbed in their original locations. Instead, Todd suggested that he could acquire a boulder of suitable size and rock type from gravel pits in the Morden area, and that he would prepare the boulder so that it could meet the floor loading limits and other requirements for placement in our gallery.

The stone is a boulder of migmatite, a rock type that exhibits coloured bands made up of different minerals.

Todd located the stone in late 2019, and we first saw it during a visit to his workshop in February, 2020. It is a very substantial boulder of migmatite, a high-grade metamorphic rock with aligned layers of minerals, which was formed under great heat and pressure deep in the Earth. Todd explained how he planned to cut off one end of the boulder so that it would be lighter and so that it would be stable standing on the floor. He would then use cutting and grinding power tools to hollow out the stone, starting from that flat end. It would therefore still look like a large solid boulder, but it would actually be more like a thick-shelled egg, with much of its internal mass replaced by air.

Todd Braun used power tools to hollow out the boulder (this is a still from a video by Todd).

Once we had a plan in place, the boulder had to wait until Todd had the time to prepare it. He was busy completing the fieldstone wall for our gallery, and was not able to turn his attention to the boulder until the fall of 2020. The cutting and hollowing of the stone turned out to be very labour intensive; the rock was very hard, and Todd was also afraid that fractures might develop if he tried to remove too much rock at once, or pushed too hard on it. It would have been a disaster to have the boulder go to pieces at this stage!

The boulder was hollowed out and ready to travel to Winnipeg (photo by Todd Braun).

Todd told us that we were getting our money’s worth, since the job was more work than he had anticipated, but the hollowing out was completed by late November. He was also able to put a bit of a polish on the outer surface of the stone, to mimic the effect of rubbing by thousands of bison.

The boulder was lifted into Todd’s truck . . . (photo by Todd Braun)

. . . and arrived at our loading dock very early in the morning (photo by Randy Mooi).

Todd used his tractor to lift the boulder into the back of his truck. Very early one morning, he drove to Winnipeg before there was significant traffic on the roads. The truck was backed into our loading dock, the hoist was attached to the heavy-duty straps that Todd had placed beneath the boulder, and the stone was lifted very smoothly onto a pallet jack. We were grateful at this stage that the boulder had lost so much of its original weight!

The loading dock hoist was used to lift the boulder from the back of the truck (photo by Randy Mooi) . . .

. . . and to position it on the platform, where the pallet jack could be lined up underneath (photo by Randy Mooi).

We had a crew of four on hand to assist Todd with moving the boulder into the gallery: an expert construction manager, and three curators to provide the grunt labour. Since we had measured all the doorways and halls in advance of this move, we knew that there would be a few tricky spots during the stone’s travel through the building, but that it should just fit through all of those.

The boulder began its journey down the corridor toward the workshops (photo by Randy Mooi).

First, we trundled it down a long corridor and through the Museum’s workshops, then out into the Welcome Gallery. Since there was new flooring in the galleries, we had to begin laying down sheets of board when we left the workshop space. There were several large plywood sheets, so it was a matter of laying down a row of boards along the planned path, then lifting each board after we passed over it, and moving it to the front of the other boards so that there would always be a safe surface for the pallet jack.

In the Welcome Gallery, the stone came as close to bison as it would ever be in its time at the Museum! Note the sheets of plywood protecting the gallery floor (photo by Randy Mooi).

The stone turned out to have a bit of a “mind of its own” when it came to the direction our route would take, and there was some manoeuvring required to get it lined up with the doorway that would take us into the Winnipeg Gallery area. This gallery was another tight spot, and after some discussion and changing of direction, the boulder slipped through. We then had a clear run to its final location by the Pronghorn Diorama.

In the Winnipeg Gallery, there was discussion of how we could get the boulder past some exhibits.

The pallet jack was rolled to the location that had been selected for the boulder’s final position, and the stone was gently (VERY gently!) shifted onto some large wedges that Todd had brought along for the task. By levering with heavy pry bars, the wedges could be gradually removed and the boulder settled into place.

The last wedges were removed as the boulder was lowered into place (photo by Randy Mooi).

The next time you are in our new Prairies Gallery, I hope you will take a good look at the rubbing stone and other exhibits. Many Museum exhibits may look like simple things, but the stories behind them are often quite complicated!