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The Montshire Museum of Science is an interactive science center in Norwich, Vermont, with more than 150 hands-on exhibits relating to the natural and physical sciences, ecology, and technology. Outdoors, visitors can explore nature trails and exhibits on wind, water, and sound in David Goudy Science Park. Visiting exhibitions, educational programs, and special events are offered throughout the year.


Montshire Museum’s Caterpillar Lab peeks into life on a leaf’s edge

While butterflies and moths get most of the attention, caterpillars have fascinating lives of their own. Some are masters of disguise, cloaked in drab browns to look nearly identical to twigs. Others dress in brilliant greens and oranges, ready to scare off predators with a sharp hiss.

The Caterpillar Lab, on display at the Montshire August 13–18, invites visitors to learn about dozens of native species. Grab a magnifying glass or peer into a digital microscope for a face-to-face look at our roly-poly neighbors. A team of trained educators will showcase the amazing diversity of northeastern caterpillars. Learn about the funny noises they make while munching, how they grow up to become winged creatures, and why their many hind legs aren’t really legs at all.

Along with live caterpillars, the exhibit will feature a gallery of stunning photographs by naturalist Sam Jaffe. For close to a decade, Jaffe has served as New England’s chief caterpillar ambassador, capturing the marvelous lives of these wriggling, nibbling critters in images and interactive displays.

“Caterpillars are uniquely suited for use in natural history education and communicating science,” says Jaffe. “These often bizarre creatures grab and hold attention through wonder, surprise, or disgust, and thus give educators a chance to create a myriad of important learning moments and provide opportunities for discovery.”

The Caterpillar Lab is free with Museum admission.

The Caterpillar Lab at the Montshire is made possible by the Mascoma Savings Bank Foundation.