University Circle museums observe Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with events, free admission

This coming Monday, Jan. 16 is Martin Luther King Jr. Day—a day to celebrate the life and achievements of the Civil Rights leader. The cultural institutions in University Circle are recognizing the holiday will free admission, events, and programs, including free ice skating and low-cost skate rentals at the Rink at Wade Oval, and free admission to the Western Reserve Historical Society’s Cleveland History Center and Holden Forests and Gardens Cleveland Botanical Garden. Other University Circle organizations are hosting events all weekend long.

In addition to offering free admission on Monday, the Cleveland Museum of Natural History (CMNH) and the Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA) are hosting celebrations, panel discussions and other activities focused on University Circle Inc’s MLK Day theme, “It Starts with Me: Cultivating a Beloved Community Mindset to Transform Unjust Systems.”

<span class="content-image-text">Cleveland Museum of Natural History MLK Discovery Day</span>Cleveland Museum of Natural History MLK Discovery DayDiscovery Day
 For the past 10 years, the CMNH has honored the memory of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with its Discovery Day. On Monday, museum guests are welcome to come to the museum, free of charge between 10am and 5 p.m., to enjoy their spaces, exhibits, and attractions as well as attend Discovery Day. 
This Discovery Day, museum guests are invited to connect with museum scientists, watch wildlife presentations, take part in hands-on activities, and more, including:

  • Study a fascinating display of objects—donated by Clevelander Dr. Williard Harper, who as a United Nations Representative held important posts across Africa—that speak to the celebration of nature in various African cultures.
  • Learn how the museum works to protect, restore, and maintain 12,000 acres of habitats across Northeast Ohio. 
  • Visit with researchers, get a close-up view of several fossil casts from the museum’s collection, and find out about current research regarding the connection between humans and our closest primate relatives.
  • Travel through time to learn from museum researchers about fieldwork exploring Ohio's prehistoric artifacts, and to uncover the mysteries of the Early Stone Age.
  • Learn about the fieldwork museum researchers are conducting in Ohio and Australia.
  • Learn how scientists at CMNH use 3D scanning to capture details of fossils with such accuracy that they can be recreated and interact with a sample of objects created using 3D printing.
At 12 p.m. in Murch Auditorium, join the museum’s curator of human health & evolutionary medicine, Dr. Nicole Burt, as she hosts a panel discussion, “It Starts with Me: Taking Action on Health in Our Community.”

 As industry and community experts actively working as agents of change, the panelists will participate in an interactive conversation inspired by the It Starts With Me theme, These Clevelanders will talk about their work to create a better future by addressing some of the health and environmental issues facing Northeast Ohio—and will share how audience members can get involved. 

The panel includes Edward Barksdale Jr., pediatric surgeon with University Hospitals who recently launched a hospital-based violence-intervention program for teens called Antifragility Initiative, aimed at reducing recidivism, preventing adverse outcomes, and improving the patient’s overall well-being; Tracie Washington, community action program manager with Environmental Health Watch (EHW), a collaborative of concerned neighbors and health professionals working to respond to pervasive health hazards in Northeast Ohio homes and communities; and Kim Smith Woodford, lifetime member pf Black Environmental Leaders Association (BEL) and founder/principal consultant of Journey on Yonder, LLC.
Additionally, many of the new and popular CMNH spaces and exhibits will be open throughout the day.  

A day of celebration
CMA will honor the life of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by exploring the It Starts with Me theme through storytelling, art making, and reflective writing prompts. The museum will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with activities and tours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Activities include:

  • Hands-on object exploration with artworks from the CMA’s education art collection
  • Ingalls Library and Museum Archives pop-up
  • Self-portrait art-making activity
  • Interactive writing activity with Lake Erie Ink (12 p.m. to 4 p.m.)
  • Gallery art stories for families (11 a.m. and 1 p.m.) featuring "Fulton and Nostrand" and the storybook: "I Am Every Good Thing."
  • Gallery spotlight talks (11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.), featuring "Four Seasons tapestries" at 11:30 a.m. and "Go Down Death" at 2:30 p.m.

Visitors can also explore the CMA’s galleries and current exhibitions, including “Photographs in Ink,” “Cycles of Life: The Four Seasons Tapestries,” and “China through the Magnifying Glass: Masterpieces in Miniature and Detail.”

Provenance Café and the museum store will be open throughout the day.