OTTAWA, May 17, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Wrap your brain around the most complex and fascinating biological structure known—our own human brain—in a new exhibition at the Canadian Museum of Nature. Brain: The Inside Story, a special exhibition from the American Museum of Natural History, is on view from May 18 to September 3, 2018 and is the Museum’s summer blockbuster show.

The human brain—the result of millions of years of evolutionary history—uses molecular, chemical, and electrical signals to interpret information, weigh decisions, and learn at every stage of life. Through information about 21st century advances, vivid brain-scan imaging, hands-on interactive exhibits and imaginative art, this engrossing exhibition essentially shows how the brain works and gives visitors a new perspective on how they can perceive themselves. It offers keen insights and highlights the remarkable nature of this organ, such as the brain’s surprising ability to rewire itself in response to experience, disability, or trauma. In addition, it showcases technologies that researchers use to study the brain and treat conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

“We’re delighted to present this acclaimed exhibition from the American Museum of Natural History and its international collaborators,” says Meg Beckel, President and CEO of the Canadian Museum of Nature. “The human brain is complex, and while we share many aspects with all conscious life, we are a unique species. Through this exhibition and the complementary components developed in collaboration with our knowledge sponsor, the Ontario Brain Institute, you will embark upon an amazing journey of discovery about the wonders of the brain.”

Visitors will learn about brain health and wellness in a special area co-created with the Ontario Brain Institute (OBI). In addition, there will be a speaker series, Talk Brain, in the summer, and a special activity weekend, Brain Bonanza, on June 9-10. The Museum is also pleased to welcome the Sport Information Resource Centre as a supporting partner.

“The Ontario Brain Institute is pleased to have partnered with the Canadian Museum of Nature on such an important project. Brain: The Inside Story aims to draw attention to the intricate workings of the human brain that we usually take for granted. We hope through this partnership people will become mindful of their brain health and wellness through evidence-based practices, applicable in everyday life”, Tom Mikkelsen, President & Scientific Director at the Ontario Brain Institute.

Brain: The Inside Story utilizes two creative and innovative ways to present scientific information: artistic interpretations and interactive exhibits.

Exhibition highlights

  • a walk-through installation representing firing neurons, created by Spanish artist Daniel Canogar who used lines of light projected onto hanging recycled wires to represent the brain’s connectivity and to highlight its electrical impulses
  • a second installation by Canogar (a funnel-shaped mass of fine copper and silver filaments) that illustrates the rapid development of the human brain in utero.
  • a neuron gesture table showing how brain cells connect and communicate with each other
  • a glowing 8-foot-tall model of the subcortical brain (the region that includes evolutionarily “older” parts like the brain stem and cerebellum) that illustrates how the brain processes language, memory, and decision-making
  • impressive models of neurons, with computer-controlled lighting that simulates the exchange of neurotransmitter messages
  • a six-foot-tall homunculus, an odd-looking character with large hands and mouth to represent the body’s form as interpreted by the sense of touch (the more sensitive the body part, the larger the brain area)
  • 21st century advancements, such as a deep-brain stimulation implant (deep brain stimulation has helped tens of thousands of people with Parkinson’s disease. When the disease causes their limbs to shake, people with DBS implants can turn their tremors off electronically).
  • a look at human brain parts compared with those of other animals helps explain the evolution of the human brain
  • games relating to memory, concentration and reasoning
  • a touchable Braille interactive allows visitors to try using their sense of touch to read

Programming

  • Take Care of Your Brain: Complementing the travelling exhibition will be a component from the Ontario Brain Institute that includes displays and an activity zone, entitled “Take Care of Your Brain”, geared towards families.
  • Talk Brain: The OBI and the Museum are also presenting a series of free public talks in the summer called “Talk Brain”. The topics and dates are:
    • June 21: Indigenous Culture and Connection to the Land
    • July 5: Pediatric Concussions
    • July 26: Old Drugs, New Use
    • August 16: Estrogen and the Brain: What is Known About its Role in Healthy Aging? 
  • Brain Bonanza, June 9-10: A weekend event with activities related to brain health and the latest on research and neurotech. It will showcase local and Ontario-wide neuroscience resources and feature Head Talks, a series of short speaker sessions delivered by neuroscience experts. 

A surcharge of $10 applies to Brain: The Inside Story, in addition to regular museum admission. The brain activity zone is included with museum admission. The Canadian Museum of Nature is located at 240 McLeod Street, Ottawa. Visit nature.ca/brain. Follow the museum on Twitter (@museumofnature), Instagram (museumofnature), and Facebook.com/canadianmuseumofnature.

About the Canadian Museum of Nature:
The Canadian Museum of Nature is Canada's national museum of natural history and natural sciences. The museum provides evidence-based insights, inspiring experiences and meaningful engagement with nature's past, present and future. It achieves this through scientific research, a 14.6 million specimen collection, education programs, signature and travelling exhibitions, and a dynamic web site, nature.ca.

About the Ontario Brain Institute:
The Ontario Brain Institute is a provincially-funded, not-for-profit research centre seeking to maximize the impact of neuroscience and establish Ontario as a world leader in brain research, commercialization and care. We create convergent partnerships between researchers, clinicians, industry, patients, and their advocates to foster discovery and deliver innovative products and services that improve the lives of those living with brain disorders. Learn more at braininstitute.ca.    

    
Media relations contacts:
    
Dan Smythe             Laura Sutin
Canadian Museum of Nature   Canadian Museum of Nature
613-566-4781 / cell: 613-698-9253   cell: 613-698-7142
dsmythe@nature.ca     lsutin@nature.ca