MNCH marks the 206th birthday of naturalist Charles Darwin

Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin

The Museum of Natural and Cultural History is throwing a birthday bash — cake included, of course — in honor of Charles Darwin this Sunday, Feb. 8, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The famous theorist and explorer would have been 206 years old this February.

The Darwin Family Day celebration at the museum is part of an international effort to acknowledge Darwin’s contributions to our understanding of the theory of evolution. The museum has held a celebration every year for over a decade.

“We do it as annual event to bring in the natural history focus of the museum,” said Robyn Anderson, the education coordinator at the museum. “We want to raise a little bit of awareness, while having a fun family event.”

This year, the celebration will include various hands-on activities throughout the rooms of the museum. Families can set sail on Darwin’s vessel, the HMS Beagle; make shadow animal puppets; contribute to a “family tree” of plastic lids; track impressions of animal prints in clay; see animal teeth and skulls and take pictures with a Darwin cutout.

Visitors can also attend a storytelling session with local performer Cullen Vance at 1 p.m. in the museum’s Galleria. His stories will cater to the younger audience, centered on the theme of adventure.

Darwin Family Day is $8 per family (two adults and up to four children) and free for museum members. Families who wish to sign up for a new membership will receive 50 percent off if they do so during the event.

This year’s celebration is held in conjunction with two other events that are part of the Darwin Conversation series at the museum. The first event, titled “Climate Change and Oregon Salmon,” is on Feb. 12 at 5:30 p.m. in Knight Law Room 175. The second event, “Oregon’s Wild Horses,” will be held Feb. 19 at 5:30 p.m., also in Knight Law Room 175.

— By Nathaniel Brown, Public Affairs Communications