The new exhibit will open on Feb. 11. (Photo by D. Finnin/© AMNH.)

By Hannah E. Jones

Colors are ingrained into the fabric of our world, serving as indicators of what’s happening around us — like when someone’s cheeks flush red or a stoplight turns green. An upcoming interactive exhibit called “The Nature of Color” at Fernbank Museum of Natural History will offer an up-close look at the intricacies of color and the often unnoticed impact it has on our daily lives. 

Through a blend of science and art, visitors will learn more about how humans and animals use the visible light spectrum to interact with and interpret the world. The exhibit will debut on Feb. 11 and run until May 7 — perfectly coinciding with spring, the season of color.

“We thought [spring] would be a great time to bring in this exhibition as it also ties in with our forest,” Program Manager Maria Moreno said. “While we see the [leaves] change, we can understand what’s happening on the inside — in our heads — as we also see it changing outside.”

The transparent red chiffon and organza gown was created specifically for this exhibit by fashion designer Brandon Maxwell. (Photo by D. Finnin/© AMNH.)

At “The Nature of Color,” visitors will journey through themed rooms that highlight the multidimensionality of color. The exhibit will examine how colors make us feel, the ways they’re perceived across different cultures and how the animal world uses them to survive.

For example, “Color in Nature” will offer a look at camouflage, courtship, hunting and more. The room will also include a few live animals that showcase the complexities of color in the animal kingdom like the leaf-tailed gecko and poison dart frogs. “Making Color” breaks down the science of making dyes and pigments, while “Meaning of Color” analyzes how we perceive color across different societies.

The exhibit will also include hands-on elements — engaging guests of all ages and abilities — like a light experiment lab and an interactive demonstration of dying indigo fabric. Moreno added that there’s “a little bit for everyone,” whether you’re a science aficionado, nature enthusiast or artistically inclined. 

An installation of portraits by Angélica Dass. (Photo by D. Finnin/© AMNH.)

To that end, the upcoming exhibition will spotlight artwork by Brazilian photographer Angélica Dass, whose pieces highlight the diversity of human skin tones and challenge socially constructed notions about race. “The Nature of Color” will also include a foray into the fashion world with a never-before-seen red gown — created specifically for this exhibit — by American fashion designer Brandon Maxwell.

Ultimately, the exhibit will spotlight and analyze color’s role at the junction of nature, science, art and emotion.

“When we really think about it, these all intersect,” Moreno said. “These are all part of our everyday lives and how we live as humans. If we were to think about a world without color, imagine how different our understanding of the world would be. These [elements] are all interconnected, and it’s amazing to see it shown in an exhibition like this.”

To learn more about the upcoming “The Nature of Color,” click here.

Hannah Jones is a Georgia State University graduate, with a major in journalism and minor in public policy. She began studying journalism in high school and has since served as a reporter and editor for...

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