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New Putnam Exhibit “Nature’s Blueprints” is First Stop on National Tour

In an age of complex environmental challenges, why not look to the ingenuity of nature for solutions? The forms, patterns, and processes found in the natural world—refined by 3.8 billion years of evolution—can inspire our design of everything from clothing to skyscrapers.

New Putnam Exhibit “Nature’s Blueprints” is First Stop on National Tour

The traveling exhibit, Nature’s Blueprints: Biomimicry in Art and Design, opens Wednesday, Sept. 1 at the Putnam.

This approach to innovation, called biomimicry, is becoming increasingly popular. Nature’s Blueprints: Biomimicry in Art and Design opens Wednesday, Sept. 1 at the Putnam Museum and Science Center (1717 W. 12th St., Davenport), a Smithsonian affiliate.

“The Putnam is the first stop on this exhibit’s national tour and we’re honored to be selected for its premiere,” Rachael Mullins, CEO/president of the Putnam, said in a museum release. “Our ability to host this exhibit—our first traveling show since before the pandemic—speaks to the Putnam’s resiliency and the many ways that the Quad-City community has supported cultural institutions during this difficult period in history. We are so grateful to our community and can’t wait to show a bit of our appreciation through this wonderful new exhibit.”

Nature’s Blueprints: Biomimicry in Art and Design brings together design and environmental science using artifacts and photography, and interactive learning stations. The traveling exhibit will be enhanced with special items from the Putnam’s own treasured collection.

Biomimicry is not a novel idea; Gaudi and Da Vinci both took inspiration from nature, according to the Putnam. Modern science and technology, however, are rapidly expanding the types of materials and systems we can create. Bird wings. Rainbow Trout. Spiderwebs. These have inspired design improvements that enable faster travel, more effective wind turbines, and safer bridges.


Nature’s Blueprints is an intriguing exhibit that will be of interest to all…especially in light of our very own I-74 bridge construction that our community has been fascinated by for so long,” Mullins said. “The way this exhibit and our own Putnam curators have been able to connect

New Putnam Exhibit “Nature’s Blueprints” is First Stop on National Tour

Rachael Mullins is president/CEO of the Putnam Museum & Science Center, Davenport.

nature and modern technology is fascinating.”

Design that is rooted in the laws and forms of nature can address pressing issues, such as conservation, sustainability, and environmental justice. This exhibit will also spark an interest in, and connection with, nature, according to the release.

This exhibition is aimed to encourage discourse among audiences of all backgrounds as our understanding of the natural world can lead to some extraordinary creations that improve lives and reduce our impact on the environment. Nature’s Blueprints: Biomimicry in Art and Design is an adaptation of the High Desert Museum’s Innovation Lab: Design Inspired by Nature, and is produced and toured by ExhibitsUSA, a program of Mid-America Arts Alliance. Exhibit transportation provided by Simplex Leasing.

The new exhibit is toured by ExhibitsUSA, a national program of Mid-America Arts Alliance. ExhibitsUSA sends more than 25 exhibitions on tour to over 100 small- and mid-sized communities every year. These

New Putnam Exhibit “Nature’s Blueprints” is First Stop on National Tour

A piece of the new traveling exhibit, which will be included in regular Putnam admission.

exhibitions create access to an array of arts and humanities experiences, nurture the understanding of diverse cultures and art forms, and encourage the expanding depth and breadth of cultural life in local communities. For more about ExhibitsUSA, email MoreArt@maaa.org or visit www.eusa.org.

Mid-America Arts Alliance strengthens and supports artists, cultural organizations, and communities throughout our region and beyond. Additional information about M-AAA is available at www.maaa.org.

The High Desert Museum in Bend, Oregon, brings together wildlife, cultures, art, history, and the natural world to convey the wonder of North America’s High Desert. The High Desert Museum opened in 1982, is a Smithsonian Affiliate, and was a finalist for the 2018 National Medal for Museum and Library Services. For more information, visit https://highdesertmuseum.org/.

The Putnam exhibit admission is included in the price of general admission—$9 for adults, $8 for youth (ages 3-18), seniors, college students and military. Through the Putnam’s Museums for All program, admission is $1 per person for households (up to 2 adults and 3 children) with the presentation of an EBT card. Admission is free for members.

For more information, visit putnam.org/Exhibits/Featured/Natures-Blueprint. For groups, or to plan your visit, call 563-324-1933.

New Putnam Exhibit “Nature’s Blueprints” is First Stop on National Tour

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Jonathan Turner has been covering the Quad-Cities arts scene for 25 years, first as a reporter with the Dispatch and Rock Island Argus, and then as a reporter with the Quad City Times. Jonathan is also an accomplished actor and musician who has been seen frequently on local theater stages, including the Bucktown Revue and Black Box Theatre.
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