OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 23, 2011) - An exciting line-up of nine new exhibitions, including two international blockbusters, highlight the upcoming 2012-13 season of attractions at the Canadian Museum of Nature.

The marquee offering for spring and summer 2012 is Whales Tohora, a specimen-rich exhibition from the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. From March 2 to September 3, visitors will be immersed in the mysterious world of these large marine mammals, as seen through the culture of the Maori people that venerate them. It will be a rare opportunity for Canadians to experience this unique 8,000 sq. ft. exhibition, as it completes an international tour.

A second blockbuster from September 22, 2012 to May 5, 2013 is Nature Unleashed. This immersive and interactive experience from The Field Museum in Chicago tackles wild weather and the science behind the geological forces that lead to natural disasters. It addresses how events such as earthquakes, hurricanes and tornadoes impact our lives.

"These two engaging blockbusters will have a broad appeal, and they provide the backdrop for programming that reflects our commitment to provide Canadians with the opportunities to be inspired by, connect to and explore the natural world," says Meg Beckel, CEO and President of the Canadian Museum of Nature. "Our 2012 offerings will reinforce the role of the museum as not only a national visitor destination but also as a community and social hub where visitors can explore relevant environmental issues facing us today."

In December 2012, the final phase of the museum's Vale Earth Gallery will be completed. Displays of more than 1,000 rocks and minerals, many from Canadian locales, will relate the remarkable story of the earth's evolution and the geological forces that have shaped it. The refurbished gallery will feature new hands-on experiences for visitors that focus on geological events such as volcanoes and earthquakes, as well as a mineral lab and a zone where visitors will learn about the research of museum mineralogists.

Interspersed throughout 2012, visitors will experience a series of nature-inspired art shows. These include:

November 29, 2011 to fall 2012

Awesome Arctic, a photography exhibition of Canadian Museum of Nature researchers at work documenting the marine life, plants, fossils and mineral diversity of Canada's most northern regions;

November 23, 2011 - February 2012

On the Labrador, a display of spectacular large format images from the remote corners of Labrador by photographer Arnold Zagaris;

December 9, 2011 to February 12, 2012

Preternatural, a contemporary art show, curated by Dr. Celina Jeffery at the University of Ottawa, with works by five artists exploring themes of wonder and the extraordinary in nature through various media, including photography, video and sculpture; and

March 22 to September 3, 2012

Unrequited Death, featuring paintings and prints by artist Helen Gregory that examine how biological specimens can be represented in relation to the natural world and our understanding of cultural meaning.

The museum will also bring back three popular exhibitions developed with community partners:

April 18 to 22, 2012

Ikebana, a delightful floral exhibition, now in its 22nd year, that features the botanical creations of the Ottawa Chapter of Ikebana International;

May 5 to 13, 2012

Nature into Sculpture, a showcase for dozens of creations by members of the National Capital Network of Sculptors;

June 7 to August 26, 2012

Canadian Wildlife Photography of the Year, a collaborative exhibition with Canadian Geographic of award-winning images from Canadian Geographic's national photo contest.

Throughout the 2012 season, visitors to the Canadian Museum of Nature can expect to enjoy a variety of public lectures, engaging Café scientifiques evenings, thought-provoking film festivals, and 3D film features. There will also be special packages such as dinner and a movie, birthday parties and other seasonal-related activities and events. For more details, visit

To reflect the new offerings and options, the museum is launching a new price structure, new membership package and a Patron Circle that will support the development of national educational projects, and research and collections activities.

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, on-going scientific research, a dynamic Web site, and the maintenance of a 10.5-million-specimen collection. A founding member of the Alliance of Natural History Museums of Canada, the Museum is working with partners to expand its national service and to develop national programmes about the natural environment.

Images available at the museum's Web site,

Contact Information:

Canadian Museum of Nature
Elizabeth McCrea
Director, Marketing and Communications
613-566-4249; 613-868-8277 (cell)

Canadian Museum of Nature
Dan Smythe
Senior Media Relations Officer