Extreme exoskeletons, a university’s take on bugs

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Extreme exoskeletons, a university’s take on bugs

What do bugs and women have in common? At Ewha Womans University, the two share a campus building, the Natural History Museum.
Every year, the museum dedicates a room to a special exhibition. The newest exhibition, which opened Monday, is called “Planet of Bugs.” The exhibition runs until April 30.
“We wanted to convey to people, ‘Don’t just step on bugs,’” says Kim Ji-hyun, a researcher with the museum. Ms. Kim did, however, confess to swatting many bugs in her lifetime. But, as Ms. Kim readily tells it, there are more insects then humans, insects began populating earth long before humans and some insects have even inspired artwork by humans.
Take the butterfly and beetle, for example. One booth of the exhibition shows jewelry and woven mats that take their form from insects. A sign by the entrance also states that insects have existed 400 million years longer than humans and make up about 75 percent of all animals.
“Planet of Bugs” includes an animated short film, a 3-D exhibition and information booths, all with a Korea focus.
Yoo Hyeong-jeong worked on the animation for three short films. “Lady Bug Love” shows a ladybug meeting her mate and producing offspring. “Spotted Butterfly” takes the viewers through the metamorphosis from caterpillar to butterfly. “Ant” shows the different categories in the colony, from worker ant to queen ant.
Kim Yeon-jeong worked on the 3-D exhibition, which shows a lightning bug, May beetle and silkworm moth. The booths highlights feeding habits, survival techniques, insect history and facts.
When the museum first opened in 1969, it was the first natural history museum in Korea. The current location, founded in 1997, takes up two floors.
Since the museum is free to the public, visitors tend to include families with children, in addition to Ewha students.


by Joe Yong-hee

For more information about Planet of Bugs, call (02) 3277-3155, or visit the Web site at home.ewha.ac.kr/~nhm. The museum is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Saturday.
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