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Welcome back to our little corner of the internet! Today is one of those days that feels like winter, but you can just sense spring is in the air. The birds are chirping, the sun is shining, and it feels like change is stirring – and I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for a little change!

Last month, the Peterborough Museum was able to re-open its doors (yay) and welcome back in-person visitors by appointment. Our current featured exhibit is titled Flora of the Canadian Arctic on loan from the Canadian Museum of Nature.Scanned image included in the Flora of the Arctic exhibit

This exhibit showcases the amazing flora that survives in Canada’s arctic despite the brutal environment. Featuring large scans of remarkably resilient plants, this exhibit will have you appreciating how beauty can thrive even in the harshest of conditions. 

Each botanical specimen on display was collected by a team of scientists. The first expedition was over 100 years ago (1913-1916) at a time when arctic Canada was very much a mystery. This brave group of scientists faced the unknown, confronting challenges such as bad weather, illness, accidents, wildlife, and bugs. After three years, they returned with more then 1000 specimens including animals, plants, fossils, and rocks! This amazing discovery provided a window into northern Canada and all the wildlife and flora that survive there. The specimens collected are now safe guarded at the Canadian Museum of Nature and are part of The National Herbarium of Canada.

Are you brave enough for an expedition? In this activity, kids will embark on their own expedition to collect plant specimens, just like the scientists who ventured to the arctic, and create their very own herbarium.

You can really play up the idea of going on an expedition by packing a backpack for the adventure. Include essential tools such as a magnifying glass, little shovel, notebook to record where the specimen was collected and of course water and a snack (all explorers need snacks). Start the search by looking for fresh flowers, leaves or other plants. Pick them after any dew or rain has dried to avoid mold.

Next, arrange your findings on a thick sheet of paper such as cardstock or watercolour paper and place parchment or wax paper on top. Carefully place this in the middle of a heavy book and wait for the moisture to evaporate, usually a week or two. You will then have pressed flowers or plants to glue into a nature journal and create your own herbarium!

Check out our printable, step-by-step PDF guide to creating your own herbarium.

Flora of the Canadian Arctic, will be on exhibit at the Museum until March 28, 2021. Book your visit today and check out the beauty of arctic Canada.

Virtually yours,


Museum Educator