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Category Archives: Blogs

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Closed Gentian (Gentiana andrewsii) was always a puzzle to me. When I first saw a picture of it in a field guide, I assumed that the photographer had simply taken the picture before the petals fully opened up. It was many years before I finally figured out what this plant’s deal was. Back in 2004, while doing field work out at the Tall Grass Prairie Preserve, I had to walk…

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Little Gothic Cottage on the Prairies

In 1895 William and Isabel Brockinton had a charming Gothic cottage built on their homestead south of Melita, Manitoba. In our new Prairies Gallery we will be featuring a small touchable model and a full scale stone replica wall section of this now abandoned home. First, what’s a Gothic cottage? “Gothic” conjures all kinds of associations – darkness, brooding, mysticism, fashionable black clothing, and so on. But in architecture after…

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Comet NEOWISE Update

UPDATE 25 Jul 2020: The comet has faded below naked-eye visibility but it still visible in binoculars as a small fuzzy patch. The tail has shrunk but it still visible in photos. With the moon entering the evening sky and the comet fading, this object is well past its prime. We’ll have to turn our attention to the upcoming Perseid meteor shower, which peaks on August 11th and 12th, and the…

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Identifying a Ghost Plant

A week ago I posted a blog about a rare plant that I had been searching for in the West Hawk Lake area: climbing fumitory. Since then I’ve had several people ask me how to tell this plant (shown in in the picture above) apart from other similar species. In Manitoba there are only five species in the fumitory family and they are fairly easy to tell apart: two are…

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Comet in the Morning Sky

Dr. Jennifer West, Dunlap Institute for Astronomy, University of Toronto

There’s a pretty bright comet in the morning sky right now, with the poetic name of NEOWISE C/2020 F3. The NEOWISE satellite is the Near Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, a NASA satellite that looks for comets and asteroids that come close to Earth. NEOWISE finds so many new objects that they just get a serial number instead of a proper name. For the purposes of this article, we’ll…

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In Search of a Botanical Ghost

Eighty years ago, Manitoba botanist Charles W. Lowe collected a plant from the West Hawk Lake area, not realizing that it would be the last time anyone would collect it in this province again. This June, I embarked upon a journey to see if that elusive plant was still hiding somewhere in Whiteshell Provincial Park. My scholarly journey commenced when I began working on a revised Flora of Manitoba; a…

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Getting to Know Manitoba’s Wild Lilies

We share our world with billions of other organisms and they play a crucial role in our survival, providing the ecosystem services that keep us alive: making oxygen for us to breathe, filtering toxins from our water, and providing shade for us and our homes to name a few benefits. With so many cultural events being cancelled this year due to Covid-19, you may be planning on spending some time…

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Baychimo: The Adventures of the Ghost Ship of the Arctic

By Cortney Pachet, Collections Registration Associate, Human History and former Assistant Curator for the HBC Museum Collection when Amelia was on parental leave. The Hudson’s Bay Company has a long nautical history, from the Nonsuch to countless canoes and York Boats to steamers, paddlewheels and schooners. While the majority of HBC’s travel and transport took place on water, we also see a pattern of the Company’s vessels meeting untimely ends…

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Winnipeg’s Window: The City Hall Stained Glass

In October 2019 the Manitoba Museum opened the Winnipeg Gallery, a permanent new exhibition space about the history and people of Winnipeg. The gallery features a large stained glass window that displays the old city crest. This window was one of two that was salvaged from the old city hall building when it was demolished in 1962, and recent research has revealed more history of this piece and the artist…

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Beautiful Parasites (and a couple ugly ones too!)

It is pretty well known that plants differ from animals due to their ability to make their own food using just carbon dioxide, water and sunlight through a process called photosynthesis. But some plants are a bit lazy and figured “why should I make my own food like a sucker when I can just steal some from my neighbor?” Thus, the strategy of plant parasitism was born. The secret to…

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