Payson Panama Field Work Experience Students Explore the BioMuseo

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Biomuseo Panama
Calz de Amador
Panama City

The Payson students engaged this semester in the Panama Field Work ExperienceStephanie ManciagliSheriff Kora and Rummanul Ferdous, recently took the opportunity to discover Panama’s new BioMuseo in a pre-inaugural soft-opening tour and were among the first visitors to set foot in the finished exhibits of the museum. Designed by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry, the BioMuseo is the only Gehry structure in Latin America and the tropics.

The museum was intended to tell the story of how the isthmus of Panama rose from the sea, uniting two continents and dividing a vast ocean in two—thereby changing forever the biodiversity of the planet. The permanent BioMuseo exhibition is titled Panama: Bridge of Life and includes a combination of experiential art and science. Its eight galleries describe the origins of the Panamanian isthmus and its enormous impact on the development of the earth’s biodiversity. The galleries were created by Canadian designer Bruce Mau, founder of the Institute Without Boundaries, and bring together physical, biological and social sciences with an elegant artistic flair. In addition to the permanent galleries, the museum includes an open-air public atrium, a temporary exhibit space, gift shop, café and botanical park.

The significance of the museum, especially for Payson, goes beyond the hard science of the isthmus formation. As shown in some of the final museum exhibitions, the evolution of Panama from a string of underwater islands to the land bridge it is today is what has enabled Panama City to become the “crossroads of the world.” For this reason, many operations, including the United Nations Regional Center where Payson students are currently carrying out internships, have chosen to hub their facilities on the isthmus.

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