Women of Fort Collins: Elfreda Stebbins

Women of Fort Collins: Elfreda Stebbins

Get inspired!

For the 4th year in a row, the Collections and Archives staff of Fort Collins Museum of Discovery are sharing stories and photographs of notable Fort Collins women. Discover the paths of many local luminaries with inspirational video presentations full of historic images, audio recordings, and fascinating information!

This Episode: Elfreda Stebbins

Elfreda Stebbins, graduate of the library school at the Drexel Institute in Philadelphia, became our city’s first librarian in 1903. Throughout her 28-year career, she served as a force for literacy and culture in Fort Collins.

Ready for more? You can learn about other amazing people of Fort Collins and Northern Colorado in the Archive at FCMoD! Visit fcmod.org/research for more information.

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Women of Fort Collins: Isabelle Knopf

Women of Fort Collins: Isabelle Knopf

Get inspired!

For the 4th year in a row, the Collections and Archives staff of Fort Collins Museum of Discovery are sharing stories and photographs of notable Fort Collins women. Discover the paths of many local luminaries with inspirational video presentations full of historic images, audio recordings, and fascinating information!

This Episode: Isabelle Knopf

Fort Collins native Isabelle Knopf worked at Heart Mountain Japanese Internment Camp during World War II. As a single mother, she had various jobs before having a long career with the U. S. Department of Agriculture.

Ready for more? You can learn about other amazing people of Fort Collins and Northern Colorado in the Archive at FCMoD! Visit fcmod.org/research for more information.

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Women of Fort Collins: Virginia Corbett

Women of Fort Collins: Virginia Corbett

Get inspired!

For the 4th year in a row, the Collections and Archives staff of Fort Collins Museum of Discovery are sharing stories and photographs of notable Fort Collins women. Discover the paths of many local luminaries with inspirational video presentations full of historic images, audio recordings, and fascinating information!

This Episode: Virginia Corbett

Virginia Corbett came to Colorado Agricultural College in 1900 to teach literature and history. She was a passionate advocate for college women for over 30 years and taught briefly at Ginling College, Nanjing, China in the 1920s.

Ready for more? You can learn about other amazing people of Fort Collins and Northern Colorado in the Archive at FCMoD! Visit fcmod.org/research for more information.

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Mind Matters Returns September 25th!

It’s time to continue the conversation. FCMoD is proud to announce the return of the groundbreaking exhibition Mental Health: Mind Matters this fall!

Mark your calendars to visit Mental Health: Mind Matters, slated to open September 25, 2021 and run through January 2, 2022. This thought-provoking special exhibition provides informative and hopeful experiences to help open the door to greater understanding, conversations and empathy toward the challenges of mental health.

Presented in English, Spanish and French, visitors of all ages will explore hands-on experiences that bring you closer to the facts, feelings and issues surrounding this topic that touches so many of our lives.

When you visit Mental Health: Mind Matters, you can peer into mini dioramas of important moments in mental health history. Play a quiz show to test your knowledge of common misperceptions about mental illnesses. Hear what it’s like to experience psychosis and feel what it’s like to be unable to ignore your surroundings. Watch heartfelt videos where individuals talk about their personal experiences living with mental illnesses. Write down your worries and destroy them in the Worry Shredder. Pick up a family and group conversation guide to continue the conversation with your closest networks. Visit the resource center to learn about local resources and services in Northern Colorado to share with someone you know or better your own mental health.

Stay tuned as the exhibit nears for more information about programs and workshops to help continue the conversation beyond Mental Health: Mind Matters.

Interested in supporting this exhibit and other special exhibitions? Contact FCMoD’s development team at mallison@fcmod.org for ways to support the museum.

Mental Health: Mind Matters was produced for North America by the Science Museum of Minnesota in collaboration Heureka, The Finnish Science Centre and advised by National Alliance on Mental Illness.

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FCMoD Squad Applications Now Open!

Do you love music? Do you love engaging with your community? Join us and go behind the scenes of the local front range music community. The Fort Collins Museum of Discovery is excited to announce the first year of the FCMoD Squad!  

What it means to be in the FCMoD Squad:  

The FCMoD Squad are individuals between the ages of 15 and 19 who are interested in becoming more involved within The Fort Collins Museum of Discovery, the Fort Collins music scene, and their community.  

Squad members will: 

  • Work behind the scenes in music events such as Sonic Spotlight https://www.sonicspotlight.org/, FoCoMX https://focomx.focoma.org/, and more. 
  • Actively provide insight into current and future museum exhibits, programs, and events.
  • Participate in outings to other community groups and organizations.  

Responsibilities of a FCMoD Squad Member:  

  • Attend meetings on the 2nd Thursday from 6:00pm- 8:00pm at FCMoD and at least one monthly activity/tour.
  • Actively engage and contribute in meetings and activities. 
  • Inform the Squad through email, text, or call if unable to attend a meeting with valid reason such as an illness, extracurricular activity, school event, or other circumstance.  
  • Embody the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery Mission and Vision. 
    • Mission: The museum creates meaningful opportunities to learn, reflect, and have fun through hands-on and collections-based explorations in science and culture. 
    • Vision: To inspire inquisitive thinkers and encourage responsible stewardship of the future. 

To Apply:

Applications are open to Fort Collins/Front Range residents ages 15-19. Submissions will open July 12th ending on August 1st, with interviews to follow. Members will serve a total of nine months from August to April, with a maximum of two terms. 

Visit www.fcmod.org/fcmod-squad to apply! Questions? Email Nick Duarte, Curator of the Music & Sound Lab, at nduarte@fcmod.org.

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The Music Production Process

Have you ever wondered how the music you listen to made it to a streaming platform, CD, or the radio? Sure you’re aware the song is recorded in a studio, but then what happens? How does it get to sounding how it does, ready for an album? And then how does it get released from there? This blog will inform you about the processes of music production, and how our favorite songs we hear start from an idea, to a tangible recording in our hands!

Writing the song
Each artist has a different process for writing songs. Many well-known bands and singers will often have a producer. Producers have a very important role in the process of getting songs ready to release. They often help the songwriting process by making suggestions of what the artist could add or take out of the song they’ve written so far, whether it be changing the chord progression, adding a bridge, suggesting words for lyrics that fit better, or anything to improve the song! It’s also important to note that not all artists write their own songs. Often in pop music, a songwriter writes songs for specific singers. Did you know that Rihanna’s “Umbrella” was originally written by a handful of producers for Britney Spears to sing? She turned it down as she just finished her album, so it was floated over a couple artists until Rihanna accepted it. Once a song is written, it’s ready for the studio. Sometimes artists even go into the studio without having finished writing. Sometimes it’s because the producer will be there to help write, or the creative atmosphere of the studio helps the artist to write!

Recording
The recording process also looks different from artist to artist, but accomplishes the same thing. Professional recording sessions take place in a studio, where the rooms are specifically arranged for high quality sound. Rooms can be built specifically to absorb and reflect certain frequencies, and/or have sound proofing gear installed. Sometimes artists take a DIY approach and record their entire album using gear in their bedroom! In a professional setting, recording engineers oversee the process- placing mics properly on the instruments, getting appropriate levels set, making sure everything is set up to sound the best it can. Producers also help artists find the sounds that will help get the song’s vision across, whether it’s a special technique for setting up a microphone to get vocals sounding a certain way, or setting guitar tone. Then, a song is usually recorded over and over, with enough takes to have every part of the song sounding good. In a multi-instrumental band, drums are often recorded first so that each other musician has a foundation to overdub their parts. Overdubbing means recording a track over an already-existed recording track, so in this case, the drums are already recorded, and everything else can now be overdubbed. Bass is typically recorded second, then guitar and remaining instruments. Vocals are almost always last. With the digital technology in recording nowadays, it’s very easy for musicians to fix a measure or note they may have messed up, in which they will punch in. Punching in means the engineer will start the recording at the part where the mistake is, and the musician can simply play correctly over the wrong part without having to redo the whole song. Artists that recorded before this technology was available had to redo the entire song if there was one big mistake! However, even with this technology now, recording is a lengthy process, and one album may take months or years.

Mixing
After the recording is complete, it’s time for an engineer to mix the song. This means setting levels of each of the instruments, making sure they’re all well-balanced and heard in the song, as well as adding EQ and other things to make the song come to life. This process can take a couple days or weeks for one song, and months for an album. The artist communicates the vision they want for the song so the engineer can get the sounds dialed in and make it happen. The artist may want a warm, bright mix with punchy high frequencies for a pop tune or a darker mix with depth. The mixing process is just as creative as the songwriting process, the mix having the ability to transform the recording and give it a completely different feel. Often the engineer will send their mix to the artist, the artist will give feedback of what they want to sound different, the engineer makes a new mix, sends it over, and it happens all over again until the artist is satisfied.

Mastering
Once the mix is complete, the song needs to be mastered. Mastering is the process of getting a track ready for distribution by balancing it to be at the level of volume and quality of songs that are already established. The mastering engineer starts by bringing the track up in volume to be as loud as songs already out there. They may download an existing song to use as a reference track to set the level of the song they’re working with. This way, after the song is released, its volume isn’t a lot quieter than all the other songs on your playlist. Then, the mastering engineer may widen the mix with stereo enhancement (balancing the left and right of the audio). After that, more EQ and compression may be done to polish off the song.

Distribution
Now the song is ready for consumption! Artists will then decide how they want to release their music- on CD’s? Spotify? Youtube? At this point, the completed song file is submitted to distributors to make CD’s, Vinyl, tapes, uploaded on streaming services, or sent to radio stations. Now it’s a tangible product for anyone to access and listen to! Can you imagine your favorite songs going through these processes? There’s so much time and work that goes into one song that takes 3 minutes to listen to. Does that change how you view what you listen to?

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Hiss and Tell: All About Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches

Ever wanted to know more about the animals we have here at the museum? Grab a snack, and take a deep dive into the world of Madagascar hissing cockroaches from the comfort of your own home!

Madagascar hissing cockroaches are, you guessed it, native to Madagascar! Like all cockroaches, Madagascar hissing cockroaches (or “hissers” as they are sometimes called) are scavengers, which means they eat just about anything they come across. In the wilds of Madagascar, they mostly eat dead plant matter, from fallen leaves to rotten wood and decaying fruit. Here at the museum, they’re fed a scrumptious mixture of fruits and vegetables, and for a protein-boosting treat, their favorite: dog kibble!

Madagascar hissing cockroaches (right) live peacefully alongside giant cave cockroach adults (lower left) and nymphs (upper left) at the museum.

Unlike many species of cockroach, Madagascar hissing cockroaches are wingless. Instead of being able to fly away from predators, they have to rely on running and hiding. But what happens when this isn’t enough to keep them away from danger? That’s where the hissing comes in!

When threatened, these cockroaches make a loud hissing noise, like that of an angry cat or snake, that makes them sound much bigger and scarier than they actually are. Their strategy hinges on their would-be-predator becoming scared or surprised by this sudden noise—while cats and snakes hiss as a warning of an incoming attack, hissing cockroaches are otherwise defenseless, and have to make a run for it as soon as they get an opening.

But hissing cockroaches don’t just hiss to defend themselves. Amazingly, they actually have a number of distinct hisses they use to communicate different things to each other. Both male, female, and juvenile cockroaches will hiss defensively and in alarm, but there are two other hisses that only males use: the male-to-female courtship hiss, and the male-to-male dominance hiss.

Male Madagascar hissing cockroach at the museum, with visible “horns” on the dark-colored pronotum above the head.

While these cockroach’s bark may be worse than their bite, they can still pack a punch, at least when it comes to fighting other cockroaches. Speaking of dominance battles, male hissing cockroaches will often fight amongst themselves to establish a social hierarchy, and figure out who gets the best spot on the log or the best food.

But dominance displays between male cockroaches go beyond simple hissing. Male hissers can be differentiated by females from their “horns”, distinctive twin bumps on their pronotum (that’s the shield-like segment on the back of their head). They use these horns much like rams do—by headbutting other males in a display of strength. The male hissing cockroach will attempt to “bulldoze” under his opponent, knocking him off of his perch. However, the funniest part of a Madagascar hissing cockroach dominance battle is definitely the pre-fight posturing. In an attempt to intimidate the other male and end the contest before it begins, the cockroaches will wiggle their butts aggressively at each other. So scary!

Female hissing cockroaches, on the other hand, keep to themselves much more than the males, and will only hiss when they feel threatened. Unlike most species of cockroaches, Madagascar hissing cockroaches are ovoviviparous, which means that their young develop inside of eggs that stay within the mother’s body for the duration of their development. This differs from mammalian pregnancy because there is no direct placental link between the young cockroaches and their mother, but the end result is quite similar: Madagascar hissing cockroaches give live birth to their young, never actually laying their eggs before they hatch. They can give birth to anywhere between 15-40 baby cockroaches at a time!

Madagascar hissing cockroaches are unique in the insect world in a lot of ways, and it’s hard to decide which of their crazy adaptations is the strangest. But there’s one question we still haven’t explored: how do they make those loud hissing sounds? While most insects that make noise do so by rubbing parts of their body together, Madagascar hissing cockroaches actually use their spiracles (the cockroach equivalent of lungs). By pushing air out of the spiracles lining the side of their abdomen, they create audible vibrations in the air, making noise in basically the same way that we humans do when we talk!

Next time you’re in the museum, be sure to check out the Madagascar hissing cockroaches and say hello. While they may look quite different from you and I, we have more in common with them than you might expect!

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Biology Everywhere

Biology Everywhere

“I’m not good at science.”

“It’s too complicated.”

“I’m not smart enough.”

When Dr. Melanie Peffer encountered these attitudes teaching biology, she wanted to understand what makes the subject so scary. “I think that science is traditionally presented as so dry and abstract, people think that it is,” says Dr. Peffer. “So many students’ experience with biology is just memorizing terms, and if they have trouble doing that, then they think they can’t do it.”

Dr. Peffer’s new book, Biology Everywhere—which she will be virtually signing during a Fort Collins Museum of Discovery Facebook Live on February 19—seeks to reverse that belief. “I was inspired by that attitude of ‘never had a teacher who could teach me’,” says Dr. Peffer. Changing her approach, Dr. Peffer focuses on application rather than tossing terms at her students. Protein Biochemistry, for example, may seem really intimidating, but it’s not when you think about it in terms of cooking bacon. How it changes color, shape and size are all observable biological facts.

Biology intersects with life in so many beautiful ways. One of the most important finds of neuroscience was influenced by art. Nobel Peace Prize winner Santiago Ramón y Cajal love of drawing led to him to sketch neurons, and from those works of art we learned that nerve cells were independent cells that communicate through a network of synapses.

“It was a lot of fun to write the book. I took a lot of my inspiration from my son. Kids can give us a perspective on things that we forget.” Whether that means explaining what an exoskeleton is while walking past the crabs at the supermarket or exploring the anatomy of a honey locust pod at the park, Dr. Peffer is always excited to find biology in everyday life.

“A lot of people feel like they can’t do science,” says Dr. Peffer, “but I believe everyone can. It’s simply a matter of making it accessible.”


To order a copy of Biology Everywhere, please visit The Museum Store. Make sure to ask a question in the comment box when ordering and Dr. Peffer will answer it live!

To attend to the book signing, please join us on Facebook Live Friday, February 19 at 5:30 p.m.

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Animal Love Languages

Animal Love Languages

Love is in the air, and humans aren’t the only romantics in the world. Today we’re looking at the courtship rituals of the animal kingdom!

Do you know what your love language is? Is it words of affirmation like a sweet letter, quality time like a romantic night in, receiving gifts of flowers and jewelry, acts of service, or physical touch like a hug or a cuddle? Humans have different ways of showing affection, and so do animals. But instead of things like poetry, romantic getaways, and chocolates, animals have their own unique love languages. Which animal love language do you relate the most with?

The Singer
Much like the romantic poet, some animals like to shout their love from the rooftops. Frogs, birds, crickets, and even whales use their songs to attract mates, constantly trying to out-do their competition with the loudest and most attractive voice. Frogs even have regional dialects – members of the same species may have different croaks if they have originated from different places where their local songs are slightly different. And in places where there are several different species of frogs all singing at once – like in Florida, where the invasive Cuban tree frog has been introduced into the territory of native American green tree frogs – the frogs will purposefully alter their croaks to differentiate between species and avoid confusion.

The Dancer
But maybe you’re more of a visual person. There are plenty of animals whose main courtship rituals involve elaborate dances and displays of beautiful fur and feathers. But some animals forget the flashy outfits and just focus on their moves. Hirtodrosophila mycetophaga is a species of australian fly which performs mating displays on shelf mushrooms. The males wave their wings around and perform a dance – but only on lighter-colored fungi, as these mushrooms act as a better backdrop for their performances. On darker fungi, they blend in too well, and females pass them by!

The Show-off
Not to be outdone, some animals go all in, with song, dance and color! Take the peacock spider: while you may be familiar with this small jumping spider’s namesake and its colorful plumage, this arachnid goes a step further and incorporates sound and movement into its mating display.

While displaying their brightly-colored abdomen, they wave their legs in an elaborate dance and create deep rumbling vibrations while they perform. The males who put the most effort into their displays, including both the dancing and vibrating, are more likely to get the girl.

The Collector
Some animals speak the love language of gift-giving. Native to New Guinea and Australia, bowerbirds build elaborate ‘bowers’ from nature to attract mates. First, the male Bowerbird gathers sticks and arranges them into an upright structure, often in the shape of an arch or an avenue. Then, he populates his bower with brightly-colored objects. These can be shells, flowers, even pieces of plastic and metal that he finds. Some bowerbirds even have favorite colors, and will collect only pieces that fit into their preferred color scheme! When she’s ready to find a mate, the female bowerbird tours the bowers of all the local males, and chooses the bird with the best crib to be her mate.

The True Romantic
But maybe you’re a real classical romantic. You want long walks on the beach, hand-holding, and slow-dancing. Don’t worry. Not everything is about flashy displays. Some animals like to take it slow, and build up deep bonds with their mates. Seahorses have an elaborate courtship process, with each step of the ritual being repeated again and again, often over the course of days. First, they meet and change colors, brightening in turns at each other. Then they grab hold of the same anchor-point and spin around each other in an elaborate dance with many distinct moves and steps, including leaning away, pointing, quivering and spinning. Finally, they end their dance by floating up through the water column together. While they might only be fish, seahorses are quite the romantics – they mate for life, and their specialized tails, used to anchor themselves to coral and seaweed, also allow them to “hold hands” with their significant other.

Happy Valentine’s Day from all of us at FCMoD!

Post written by Willow Sedam, Live Animal Husbandry Team Member

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“Music Therapy! What’s that?!”

Tune In For Music Therapy

Clap along if you feel like you know what MT’s do. Someday, people will know what a music therapist actually does. Scratch that! TODAY is the day!

According to the American Music Therapy Association, music therapy is defined as the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program. Music therapy, an established health profession, uses music to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs in an individual and group setting. Music therapy can be used across the lifespan of those with varying diagnoses. In short, music therapists use music to help individuals work on non-musical goals. (Image: Northwestern University, 2018)

Oh, Oh It’s Magic…

There is a difference between music AS therapy and music IN therapy. Music AS therapy is a broad use of music to appeal to a wide range of behaviors, emotions, and well-being. Music used AS therapy is not directed at a specific outcome, and it is frequently used by those who consider themselves music therapists but have not been formally trained. Music IN therapy is music used to achieve a specific goal or set of goals. Music IN therapy consists of different techniques based on the best evidence available. Those that use music IN therapy are highly trained both in music and in therapeutic techniques. Until the middle of the 20th century most music therapy practice followed the music AS therapy model. It has only been in the past 60 or 70 years ago that we see more attention paid to music IN therapy.

(Ali Blackwood Illustration)

Follow the yellow brick road….for a degree in music therapy

         (Image: AMTA website)

Music therapists that receive a bachelor’s degree or higher, have to complete an approved program at a university or college, including a clinical internship of 1200 hours. Then they are allowed to become credentialed (Music Therapist-Board Certified) through the Certification Board of Music Therapists. Music therapists not only study music, but they also study psychology and medicine. The music therapy field is an evidence-based profession with a foundation in research. Music therapists don’t simply play songs for people or play music in the background. Music therapists complete a full assessment to determine individuals’ strengths and weaknesses, develop non-musical goals and objectives, create a treatment plan that can help with the transfer of skills to their daily lives, and continue to evaluate the needs and progress of each client through the entirety of the therapeutic process.

Where, oh where can you find an MT? At 35+ settings!

  • Medical facilities
    • General hospital settings
    • Hospice
    • Oncology
    • Physical Rehabilitation
    • Home health agencies
    • Out-patient clinics
    • Veterans Affairs (VA) facilities
    • Partial hospitalization
    • Children’s hospitals or units
  • Geriatric facilities
    • Adult day care
    • Assisted living
    • Geriatric facilities (not nursing)
    • Geriatric psychiatric units
    • Nursing homes
  • Developmental centers
    • Group homes
    • Intermediate care facilities
    • Community day treatment programs
    • State institutions
  • Educational facilities
    • Children’s day care/preschool settings
    • Early intervention programs
    • Schools (K-12)
  • Mental health settings
    • Child and adolescent treatment centers
    • Psychiatric hospitals
    • Community mental health centers
    • Substance abuse programs
    • Forensic facilities
    • Inpatient psychiatric units
  • Private practice settings
    • Music therapy clinics
    • Clients’ homes
    • Providing contract services in any facilities previously listed
  • Other settings
    • Diagnosis-specific support groups
    • Wellness and prevention programs
    • Work in music retailer setting

Benefits of music therapy…let me count the ways…

Music therapists can work with individuals who have a variety of needs that could include medical, learning and academic, mental health, rehabilitation, developmental, communication, or wellness. The populations in which music therapists work with range from premature infants to older adults. There are numerous ways music therapy has been found to address the needs of those in an individual or group setting. The areas include, but are not limited to:

  1. Labor and Delivery – relaxation; support of birthing process
  2. Premature Infants – improved feeding behavior and weight gain
  3. Neurological Disorders & Brain Injury – protocols that activate neurological responses in support of cognitive, motor, communication, and social objectives
  4. Chronic Illness & Oncology – music + coping techniques to assist with pain management and stress reduction
  5. Mental Health – provided opportunities to explore and process therapeutic issues
  6. Medical and Surgical Tests/Procedures – reduce anxiety and improve treatment response
  7. Healthy aging & Optimum Performance – provide music programs based on theories of personal growth, awareness, and learning
  8. Developmental Disabilities & Autism Spectrum – teach cognitive, motor, social, communication, and daily living skills
  9. Substance Abuse and Addictive Disorders – use introspective techniques such as songwriting and lyric analysis to aid clients’ transition from denial to determination in recovery process
  10. Physical Disabilities and Sensory Impairments – music incorporated into rehabilitative treatment to allow frustration to yield to fulfillment
  11. Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia – access individuals’ past to trigger short- and long-term memory, decrease agitation, and enhance reality orientation
  12. Hospice and Bereavement – help guide individual and/or loved ones in life’s processes

                                                               

              (Image: Kora Leith Blog)

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