During the 1990 campaign to make the Monarch butterfly our national insect, elementary students from Horne Street School in Dover, NH sent a gigantic poster to an elementary school in Nacogdoches, TX. The poster was constructed in sections of about 25 feet each and then taped together. The Nacogdoches students responded with a giant package full of Monarch related stories, poems and paraphernalia.
In addition to the poster, a petition was mailed to the NH Congressional delegation encouraging their support. Although Congress never acted on the bill, the giant poster grew over several years with many elementary students throughout the nation adding their sections until it approached 3/4 miles of Monarch and insect related drawings, poems and miscellaneous information.
On January 25, 1995 the original Horne Street School poster, along with some of the additions produced by elementary students from Texas, were displayed at the Smithsonian Institute's National Museum of Natural History on the Mall in Washington, DC. It was so well received that it was held over for a second day. This was believed to be the first display of this kind in the history of the Smithsonian (i.e. a display created by school children).
The Museum of Natural History is on the left about half way up the Mall from the Washington Monument toward the Capitol Building. The Museum of Natural History, one of several run by the Smithsonian Institute, is recognized as one of the best in the world.
The African elephant in the rotunda is one of the more memorable sights in the Museum. Our poster was displayed in Hall 25 (The Park in the Museum), off the rotunda's balcony just above the elephant's ear in this shot.
The Park in the Museum provided an excellent place to sit and contemplate the magnificent poster the stretched down both walls of the hall four tiers deep!
A group of Washington area school children paused in their tour of the Museum to add their own section to the ever-growing poster. During its two day stay, the poster was enjoyed and discussed by a large number of people visiting the Museum. It was an unusual display, even for the Smithsonian, but was universally deemed a success by the Museum's specialists and program directors.
Support for the project came from the Entomological Society of America, Stephen F. Austin State University and the University of New Hampshire. The display was sponsored by the Museum's Otto Orkin Insect Zoo.
A similar project, Insects Across America is currently preparing a similar poster representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia. States are still available if your organization is interested. Check out the Insects Across America Map to see if your state is already represented.