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Chin Up for Butterflies

At a sneak-peek press preview of the Live Butterfly Pavilion at the Natural History Museum earlier this week

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At a sneak-peek press preview of the Live Butterfly Pavilion at the Natural History Museum earlier this week, a distinctly handsome specimen sporting bold, gold spots on its black wings alighted on my chin.

Of the dozen or more reporters crowding into the new 1,200 square-foot steel and glass pod that houses hundreds of tropical butterflies, the Grecian Shoemaker butterfly chose me, and I was honored. I put my head back to make my face a more level surface for my new companion and rather directly, the exhibition manager Nate Erwin explained, "It’s because you’re sweating." And then he added, "It’s attracted to the salt in your, ah, lady’s glow. That’s why many of the butterflies like the Gatorade. It’s the electrolytes."

Indeed, I was way overdressed for the 95 degrees F and the 80 percent humidity maintained inside the new Live Butterfly Pavilion, which opens to the public today. Winter attire is way out of place here.
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About Beth Py-Lieberman
Beth Py-Lieberman

Beth Py-Lieberman is the museums editor, covering exhibitions, events and happenings at the Smithsonian Institution. She has been a member of the Smithsonian team for more than two decades.

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