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Winged Tapestries: Moths at Large

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New York Debut for Canadian Museum of Nature's Moths at Large Exhibition

Ottawa, October 2, 2012—A Canadian travelling exhibition that reveals the hidden beauty and diversity of moths has opened in New York at the American Museum of Natural History.

Winged Tapestries: Moths at Large, produced by the Canadian Museum of Nature, will be on display for one year until September 29, 2013. The show presents 45 impressive, large-format prints of moths by Ottawa photographer Jim des Rivières.

Jim des Rivières © Jim des Rivières

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A great tiger moth (Arctia caja americana).

It debuted in autumn 2010 at the Canadian Museum of Nature, and then toured to the Royal Alberta Museum in Edmonton. Its presence in New York marks the show's first appearance south of the border, at an institution that welcomes approximately five million visitors annually.

"We're delighted that this beautiful display is engaging visitors at other international first-rank museums such as the American Museum of Natural History," says Meg Beckel, the Canadian Museum of Nature's President and CEO. "For four decades, our travelling exhibitions programme has been educating Canadians about the natural world, and this foray into New York continues to break new ground as we find venues outside our country. "

Winged Tapestries: Moths at Large is one of eight nature-themed exhibitions that tour regularly as part of the museum's travelling exhibitions programme. It is the second of the museum's productions to appear in the United States this year, following a seven-month run for Ice Age Mammals at the Burpee Museum of Natural History in Rockford, Illinois.

Des Rivières, a software developer by profession, is a photographer and moth collector by passion. He creates his fascinating, larger-than-life images by placing each moth specimen on a flatbed scanner. The results are spectacular: huge images where unexpected colours and intricate patterns reveal themselves.

A seemingly dull brown moth seen from a distance can prove to be a complex, colourful treasure when viewed up close, enlarged to a width of a metre or more. Most of the 43 moth species depicted in the exhibition were collected in the Ottawa region between 2002 and 2008, with some from Manitoba, Alberta, and British Columbia added in 2011.

Jim des Rivières © Jim des Rivières

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Says des Rivières: "Because of their relatively small sizes and accidents of bad lighting, we almost never get to see these creatures up close under decent light. My aim is to remedy this, and to bring moths out into good light and magnify them so that we can all see them. Visitors will be astonished at how exquisite moths truly are. "

Read more about the work of Jim des Rivières or the Canadian Museum of Nature's travelling exhibitions programme.

The Canadian Museum of Nature is located at 240 McLeod Street (corner of Metcalfe) in Ottawa. Follow the museum on Twitter (@MuseumofNature) or become a friend on Facebook.

About the Canadian Museum of Nature

The Canadian Museum of Nature is Canada's national museum of natural history and natural sciences. It promotes awareness of Canada's natural heritage through signature and travelling exhibitions, public education programmes, scientific research, a dynamic web site and the maintenance of a 10.5 million-specimen collection.

About Our Travelling Exhibitions

The museum's travelling exhibitions programme began in 1973. The current roster of full-sized exhibitions includes Winged Tapestries: Moths at Large, Ice Age Mammals, Canada's Waterscapes, Canadian Wildlife Photography of the Year (2nd and 3rd editions), From Crystals to Gems, Sila: Clue into Climate Change and Our Feathered Friends.

Information for Media

Dan Smythe
Senior Media Relations Officer
Canadian Museum of Nature
613.566.4781
dsmythe@mus-nature.ca