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Programs for Adults

Learning can be a life-long adventure. Join Virginia Living Museum staff biologists, naturalists and scientists to explore the natural world in special adult-oriented programs. Each activity-oriented program is presented in a relaxed, hands-on format and includes classroom instruction combined with opportunities to examine specimens from the Museum’s extensive collections and up close encounters with live animals. Come and share a journey of discovery with others who have an enthusiastic desire to continue to learn about the natural world of Virginia and beyond.

Advance registration is required for many programs. For more information or to make a reservation, call the Reservations Coordinator, at 757-595-9135, Monday-Friday, 9 am-4:30 pm.

Naturally Speaking Series

Sponsored by:

Virginia Health Services logo

The Virginia Living Museum’s Naturally Speaking Lecture Series returns for 2019. Join us for light hors-d’oeuvre with a cash beer/wine bar starting at 6 pm followed by our speaker at 6:30 pm. The talk will run for 20 minutes allowing time for questions and a 7 pm wrap-up.

Adult only event for donors, members, and non-members. Program is free but we ask you to RSVP so we know to expect you and can prepare appropriately. Thank you!

February 21, 2019 – Extending the Legacy of the Immortal Henrietta Lacks

Speaker: Dr. Adele Newson-Horst

Speaker: Servant Courtney Leigh Speed

Henrietta Lacks is the person behind the HeLa cells.  These cells have been used to create everything from the polio vaccine to in-vitro fertilization.  The cells were taken without permission from Henrietta Lacks in 1951 but it revolutionized medical research as it was impossible to culture cells before then.  While most of the Henrietta Lacks story is in Baltimore, she was originally from Roanoke.  Last year, Governor Northam created the Henrietta Lacks Commission (Dr. Horst sits on this commission) and declared Sept 23-29, 2018 Henrietta Lacks Legacy Week.  This is due to a cancer facility built in Henrico County in her honor. A 2017 HBO movie chronicles her story and Oprah starred portraying Henrietta Lacks’ daughter.

Dr. Adele Newson-Horst will share her story and information on HLLG and the regional and national activities that extend her legacy.  Servant Courtney Leigh Speed will then Recount how historian Louis Diggs contacted her in 1995 to write the Henrietta Lacks story, how she formed a relationship with Deborah Lacks in her quest to “tell the world who her mother was”.

Dr Adele Newson-Horst is a professor of English at Morgan State University.  Her areas of expertise include women writers of color and theories of gender equity.  Her most recent works are edited volumes of the works of Egyptian physician, writer and activist Nawal el Saadawi. She is the vice president of the Henrietta Lacks Legacy Group whose mission is to extend the legacy of Mrs. Lacks.

Servant Courtney Leigh Speed is a biblical business woman and long time resident of Turner Station, Maryland where she has been a community advocate for almost 56 years. She works to ensure that the legacy of Henrietta Lacks is known world-wide, and she was first recognized by the BBC who came to her to research the story of Mrs. Lacks in the later 1970s.  She is the founder and president of the Henrietta Lacks Legacy Group.

RSVP - Story of Henrietta Lacks

April 18, 2019 – Corals in hot water: climate change impacts on corals and coral reefs

Speaker: Dan BarshisDan Barshis

Mr. Barshis will present a summary of his work over the last 15 years investigating what makes some corals more resistant vs. sensitive to climate change impacts. He will present his research from American Samoa, Micronesia, Saudi Arabia, the Red Sea, and a project working with the Northern Star Coral. Learn how short-term exposures to high temperatures can actually condition corals to be stronger and more resistant to climate impacts.

Mr. Barshis is currently an Assistant Professor of Marine Biology at Old Dominion University. His work primarily examines the evolutionary basis behind stress tolerance in reef-building corals. He employs a combination of field transplantation, controlled acclimation experiments, and advanced genomic techniques to uncover the relative roles of adaptation and acclimatization in determining coral tolerance limits and sensitivity to climate change impacts.

RSVP - Corals in hot water

May 16, 2019 – Glow in the Dark Sharks: Perspectives from Marine Creatures

Speaker: David GruberDavid Gruber

There are a surprising new range of sea creatures that transform the blue ocean light into amazing greens and reds. Hear from David Gruber a marine biologist on his journey in search of biofluorescent sharks, seahorses, sea turtle sand more. Learn about his covert world of biofluorescence and how these light-up creatures could illuminate a new understanding of our own brains.

David Gruber is a National Geographic Emerging Explorer, professor of Biology at City University of New York, and a Invertebrate Zoology research associate with the American Museum of Natural History.

RSVP - Glow-In-the-Dark-Sharks