2 oversized beetles and specimen cards: Text

Bugs: Outside the Box

A long-arm beetle more than ten feet tall, a giant butterfly with a five foot wingspan, and heavily-armored stag beetles with jaws as big as your leg await you in this fascinating look at the insect world.

Bugs: Outside the Box presents a selection of greatly enlarged insect sculptures, each showcasing the beauty hidden within the (mini)beasts of the natural world. 

Intricate details not visible to the naked eye are showcased alongside educational topics, including an exciting look at museum collections and taxonomy, and an exploration of the power of magnification.

Additional Activities and Programs

Get inspired and get outside! Use your observation skills and learn about the insects you can find on our Learning Landscape and in your own neighborhood. Activities developed in collaboration with researchers and students at the University of Minnesota, and with community partners, help with insect observation, focusing on Minnesota species! 

Visit the Dr. Roger E. Anderson Education Wing display to see specimens from the University of Minnesota’s Insect Museum, learn about collecting tools, and watch the Bell’s representative collection of specimens from our Learning Landscape grow over the summer.

Don’t miss out on our family-friendly virtual program with the Bug Chicks, our adult-friendly virtual Bell Bug Trivia night, and workshops exploring topics such as planting for pollinators, eco-friendly management of garden pests, and more!

About the Artist

The methods used to create the sculptures are almost as fascinating as the sculptures themselves. Lorenzo Possenti is the scientific artist who creates these exacting works of art. Using powerful magnification and actual specimens, Lorenzo painstakingly creates each sculpture with remarkable accuracy.  Based in Pisa, Italy, Lorenzo collaborated with Twin Cities-based company Outhouse Exhibit Services to bring his works to the United States.

Exhibition and Related programs sponsored by Farm & Food MN and MGK

Related Programs

  • Bug Trivia Night!
    Thursday, July 22

    Gather a group of friends, or register solo, and tune in virtually for an evening of bugtastic questions and a buzzy competition. Bell staff members will lead participants through several rounds of trivia with an intermission to create a special cocktail/mocktail. Nymph-tastic prizes will emerge (get it?) for the winning team and individual!

  • Bell Member Master Class: Rusty Patched Bumble Bee
    Tuesday, July 20

    John Elaine Evans from the UMN Bee Lab. Participants will learn more about pollinators, how to support their habitat at home or out in nature, and get ready to participate in this year’s Bumble Bee Count event! Registration is free for members, but requested in advance.

  • Virtual Camp: All My Friends Are Insects
    Grades K-2

    With hands-on exploration and crafts, we’ll learn more about insect anatomy, diversity, and special adaptations in this weeklong session. Virtual Camps include a box filled with activities to do at home as well as interactive zoom sessions with Bell staff and researchers.

Free On-Line Workshops

  • Attracting Bees and Insects with Native Plants
    Wednesday, June 16

    Heather Holm is a biologist, pollinator conservationist, and award-winning author. Did you know that most insects have a positive impact in our landscapes? Join us virtually to learn how to select native plants that will attract specific bees and insects, including predatory and parasitic wasps, beetles, flies, true bugs, and lacewings. 

  • Bug-tastic! Arthropod Bodies with the Bug Chicks
    Saturday, June 26

    Join us for this 60-minute, live, virtual, family-friendly adventure with the Bug Chicks!  We’ll investigate the “super powers” of insects and other arthropods by observing live and preserved specimens. We’ll even use microscopes to zoom in close! Learn about Brood X cicadas emerging this year, explore how insects communicate over long distances, and take away DIY activities you can do in your own backyard!

  • Be a Pest Detective
    Thursday, July 29

    Calling all gardeners! Join Ramsey County Master Gardeners virtually to learn how you can use your sleuthing skills to determine what is causing trouble in your garden. Then take action with applied Integrated Pest Management, a series of garden care options aimed at keeping plants healthy and safe by starting with the smallest amount of environmental impact (like changing how you water) and leading to more serious—but very targeted—interventions.

  • Helping Insects Build Their Homes
    Thursday, September 9

    Join Jessica Miller, an entomologist from Dragons Wynd, as she shares ways to give insects—especially pollinators—a helping hand as they prepare for winter! We’ll learn how to welcome insects and boost their populations by providing them with good nesting materials, including one type of home which we’ll build during this hands-on workshop.

Activities on the Learning Landscape

BUGS outside the bell graphic, with bug shapes making the letters