What the Fishes Taught Us, Winter K-3 Workshops

NYU Scholar Explores ‘What the Fishes Taught Us’

On Thursday, January 19, at 7:00 pm the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum will host Dr. Becca Franks, a leading scholar in animal welfare studies, for an evening lecture about the concept of dignity and its role in thinking through our relationships with the non-human world.

Franks, an expert in aquatic animal welfare, will draw heavily from her years of research at the intersection of environmental and animal protection. In her scholarship, she specializes in understanding the complex dynamics of animal cognition and its bearing on the structure of human-animal relationships. Specifically, her work explores two core questions: How are animals affected by our current era, in which human activity has been the dominant influence on climate and the environment? And how can our scientific studies of animal life contribute strategies to our conservation efforts?

What the Fishes Taught Us is the latest event in the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum’s Climate Change and Ecology Lecture Series. As one of the first museums in the world devoted to ichthyology, the Vanderbilt Museum is committed to presenting educational opportunities that inspire us all to become more conscientious stewards of our planet.

The lecture will take place in the Vanderbilt Museum’s Charles and Helen Reichert Planetarium.


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Becca Franks is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies at New York University (NYU). She holds a Ph.D. in Psychology from Columbia University and a B.A. in Anthropology from New York University. Prior to joining NYU, Franks was a Killam Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of British Columbia where she was awarded the Killam Research Prize. She is an Associate Editor for the Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.

Workshops: Mixed Media Selfies, Winter Blooms

Children in grades K-3 can learn and have a lot of fun in two February school recess (week of February 20-25) workshops offered by educators at the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum.

Mixed Media Self-Portrait

Monday, February 20: See Vanderbilt family portraits in the historic house and create a mixed media “selfie” portrait.

Winter Blooms

Wednesday, February 22: Explore the ways living things get energy, examine plant bulbs, and make a bulb-forcing container with paperwhite narcissus.

Beth Laxer-Limmer, Associate Director of Education, said, “Our art and science workshops are a great way for kids to have fun learning in the collections and to create unique art.”

Workshops are offered from 10 am to 12 pm. Fee: $20 / $18 for members.




Lecture: Lost Story of the Revolutionary War

The noted historian Benjamin Carp will explore the Great New York Fire of 1776, a mystery of the American Revolution, in a lecture on Thursday, February 16, in the Vanderbilt’s Reichert Planetarium. Carp’s book on the devastating fire – one of the great mysteries of our early nation – is forthcoming from Yale University Press.

Carp’s presentation will draw heavily from his years of research and from his book The Great New York Fire of 1776: A Lost Story of the American Revolution (Yale University Press); publication date: January 31. In his book, Carp reconstructs the political climate of eighteenth-century North America and highlights the significance of New York City as a strategic center in the American War of Independence. He returns to the summer of 1776, when the rebel army under George Washington repeatedly threatened to burn New York City to the ground rather than see it fall under British control.

Under these circumstances and days into the British occupation of the city, a tremendous fire swept across Manhattan, destroying a fifth of its buildings and creating the conditions for riot and plunder. Was this devastating fire the result of an accident at a tavern? Or was it started under direct orders from the revolutionary commander? Carp’s important retelling of this seminal but largely forgotten event features some of the American Revolution’s most important figures, including Nathan Hale, an early patriot with special importance for Long Island, and another lesser-known spy who deserves equal adulation.

Advanced praise: “Benjamin Carp’s impressive new study represents a pathbreaking investigation of the role of fire in the American Revolution. Full of twists and turns, this beautifully crafted book will definitely fascinate and inform… Highly recommended!” – James Kirby Martin, author of Insurrection

The lecture will take place at 7:00 pm in the Museum’s Charles and Helen Reichert Planetarium.


Purchase Tickets


Benjamin L. Carp is the Daniel M. Lyons Chair of American History at Brooklyn College and affiliated faculty in the history program at the Graduate Center of the City University of the New York (CUNY). He specializes in the history of the American Revolution and the eighteenth century, particularly in the seaport cities of eastern North America. He has written about firefighting, gunpowder explosions, fear, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson’s Embargo of 1807-1809.

In addition to books and academic articles, Carp has written for BBC History, Colonial Williamsburg, The Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post. He received a B.A. in history from Yale University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in history from the University of Virginia.

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