Shakespeare wrote of Hamlet’s father being poisoned by a substance poured into his ear while he slept. And, of course, Juliet used a drug to fake her own death as part of a misbegotten plan to return to Romeo.
But the Bard wasn’t the first to essay the power of poison, as anyone who reads the Bible knows.
On Feb. 7, the Fernbank Museum of Natural History will dive into this rich, historic topic when it opens the exhibition “The Power of Poison.”
Organized by New York’s American Museum of Natural History, the exhibit explores poison’s paradoxical roles in nature, human health, history, literature and myth.
Among other information, exhibit-goers will glean which tales of illness, enchantment or death by poison contain kernels of truth; explore poisoning cases, some still unsolved, throughout history; and discover toxic species that live in a remote Colombian forest where poisons are a tool for survival.
Beyond “Poison,” which continues through May 3, Fernbank has announced its 2015 special exhibits lineup:
- June 6-Aug. 23: “Brain: The Inside Story,” exploring the way the powerful organ works — as it relates to senses, emotions and thinking; and how it ages as well as how technological advances may change its functioning in the future.
- Sept. 26,-Jan. 3, 2016: “Queen of Sheba,” bringing together ancient artifacts from Yemen, contemporary Ethiopian artwork, archaeological reconstructions and modern media to explore this legendary yet mysterious figure. Running concurrently will be “Women of Vision,” gathering the work of 11 female National Geographic photojournalists.
- Nov. 20-Jan. 10, 2016: “Winter Wonderland,” the annual holiday tree display celebrating the world’s cultures.
$18, $17 students and ages 62 and up; $16 ages 3-12. 767 Clifton Road N.E., Atlanta. 404-929-6400, www.fernbankmuseum.org.
‘Orchid Daze’ ready to pop
Cattleya orchids, including labiata, will be among the stars of the Atlanta Botanical Garden s annual Orchid Daze exhibit, a tribute to Pop art, running Feb. 7 through April 12. CONTRIBUTED BY ATLANTA BOTANICAL GARDEN
Having mounted orchid exhibitions inspired by impressionism and surrealism, the Atlanta Botanical Garden opens the final in its series of plants-as-art shows, “Orchid Daze: Pop!” on Feb. 7.
Continuing through April 12, the Fuqua Orchid Center exhibit will arrange colorful Cattleya orchids to reference iconic pop art images by Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Keith Haring.
For those who’d like to trade brown thumbs for green ones, the Garden will offer orchid classes, care clinics and markets.
$18.95, $12.95 ages 3-12. 1345 Piedmont Ave. N.E., Atlanta. 404-876-5859, www.atlantabotanicalgarden.org.