What Is The Buzz

Image of a bee approaching a dandelion
Bee Exhibits and Programs at Kalamazoo Valley Community College and Museum




  • Graphic logo for The Secrets of Bees special exhibit. Bee landing on a dandelion.
    The Secret of Bees
    June 1-September 30, 2019
    The Secrets of Bees is an informative and interactive exhibit that allows families to learn about the bee population at a time when bees are under serious threat. Through educational videos and hands-on activities, children and adults will discover the many different species of bees and how we can help them continue to coexist in our world.

    In the exhibit, visitors can study a plexiglass-covered "observation hive" with a video of bees in action and learn about the production of honey by working in a giant bee hive. Children can dress up as actual honeybees and gather pollen, pack pollen into honey comb, clean the hive, and help care for the Queen bee! They can also wear real beekeeper protective gear and work real wooden hives. Beekeepers can then extract the "honey" and "sell" it at a roadside stand.

    This exhibit is created by Imaginarium

  • Imabe of an etching of a bee with a layer of beeswax built up around the image. The beeswax was created by bees.
    The Honeybee Scriptures: Etchings by Ladislav Hanka, Completed by Honeybees

    In coordination with The Secrets of Bees exhibit, the Museum will feature several added displays on the topic of bees. Artwork by Kalamazoo’s Ladislav Hanka, naturalist displays by entomologist William Westrate, and exhibits on Kalamazoo's beekeeping industries will all grace the first floor gallery spaces. Ladislav Hanka's installation, entitled Honeycomb Veils, is a collaboration with active hives, as the bees have created unique beeswax and honeycomb formations over the top of his hand-drawn etchings of birds, trees, fish, and insects. William Westrate will use his impressive collection of entomology to explore Hymenopterans, the insect order that includes bees. Collectively, the Hymenoptera are most important to humans as pollinators of wild and cultivated flowering plants, as parasites of destructive insects, and as makers of honey. Making honey is the topic of a third display which will explore some of Kalamazoo's beekeeping industries as well as programs at KVCC's Food Innovation Center.


  • Image of a bee on a lavender plant
    Bee Garden Tours
    June 26, 2019 and July 24, 2019
    10 a.m.
    Enjoy a tour of KVCC’s gardens featuring a variety of nectar and pollen-producing plants that attract pollinating insects like bees during different times of the year. Ask questions about starting your own pollinator garden and receive a flower seed packet to take home and plant. Begin tour at KVCC’s Food Innovation Center, 224 E. Crosstown Pkwy. The gardens at the Food Innovation Center are an example of a polyculture, where a variety of plants thrive together to support each other and the wildlife around them. The five-acre site includes an indoor grow room, a heated greenhouse, outdoor raised beds, and a passive solar hoop house. Register for these free tours through www.kvcc.edu/community/.

  • Image of a woman's head in a bee suit looking at the bee inside with her.
    Bee-yond the Bees' Knees with Charlotte Hubbard
    June 30, 2019
    1:30 p.m.
    Discover the joy of beekeeping, fun facts, insights about honeybees, and the life of a beekeeper. Geared for adults, this presentation includes an overview of the honeybee, what’s happening with its survival, how we can help, and a time for questions and answers. Charlotte Hubbard, Michigan’s 2018 Beekeeper of the Year, is lead instructor for the KVCC Beekeeping Series, the author of two books, including a children’s book about bees and a humorous collection of essays about beekeeping, as well as a national speaker on all things bees.

  • Kalamazoo Valley Museum is the Place to Bee!
    The Kalamazoo Valley Museum Is the Place to BEE for this summer’s hands-on art programs. Every Wednesday in July from 1 to 4 p.m., visitors will be able to make ten different crafts related to bees. Children of all ages will enjoy free activities and the chance to explore a variety of artistic approaches to art.
    Wednesdays, 1-4 pm
    July 3: Bee Keepers will explore the different types of hives, the various roles of bees in the hive, and the process of pollination and beekeeping.
    July 10: Bee Creative will let visitors use their imaginations to create art related to honey, wax, and bees through sculpture, collage, painting, and more.
    July 17: Bee Jammin will let visitors discover how bees buzz, flight patterns, and how to do the wiggle dance. Staff from the Museum and the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra will also be demonstrating how brass instruments work in our Innovation Lab.
    July 24: Bee Aware explores the effects of pollution, pesticides, and invasive species on honeybees and our food supply.
    July 31: Bee Well lets visitors investigate the health benefits of bee-related products, how to be safe around bees, and cooking with honey.

  • 4-H Native Bee Challenge
    July 9, 2019 and July 11, 2019
    1 - 3 p.m.
    Michigan State University Extension and Kalamazoo County 4-H will present two free Native Bee Challenge workshops at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum this summer, July 9 and 11, 1 – 3 p.m. Trained youth beekeepers will teach students in grades 3 – 5 about honeybees, pollination, and bee habitats in this 90-minute workshop. Students will also create a bee house to take home.

    One in every three bites of food we eat is pollinated by bees. Supporting bee habitat is important. The world population is growing, and 4-H members are stepping up to meet the challenge by encouraging other youth to explore career opportunities in agriculture and STEM that will address this need. Participants will learn that honeybees and other pollinators are essential contributors to growing food and feeding the world. Honeybees utilize a combination of natural and agricultural habitats to maintain healthy hives. Preserving and maintaining the natural foraging habitats of honeybees is important. Commercial beekeepers transport honeybees all across the country to boost crop yield, since there are not enough managed honeybees or native pollinators to maximize agricultural production. By using problem solving and critical thinking skills, exploring career options in science and agriculture, and learning teamwork and communication skills, we can activate the youth to potentially solve our future food crisis by protecting the bees.

    To register, please email the 4-H office at bolhuisv@msu.edu. Space is limited.

  • Healing from the Hive
    July 16, 2019
    1 - 3 p.m.
    Explore bee-related products, learn about their healing properties, and make a salve and sandwich wrap using beeswax with special guest Brenna Pixley. Brenna’s passion for herbalism stems from a deep appreciation for naturalism, anthropology, and history. She also finds great pleasure in empowering others to tap back into age-old medicinal practices and is a proponent of sustainable foraging for generations to come. For adults with children ages 9 and up. Adult required to participate with child. Register at kvcc.edu/community/. Space is limited.

  • Buzzing Like a Bee
    July 17, 2019
    12 - 4 p.m.
    Explore horn instruments with Museum staff and members of the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra in support of our hands-on program Bee Jammin.

  • Naturally Safe Bee Products
    July 25, 2019
    1-3 p.m.
    Learn about beeswax and how it is produced, collected, and rendered, then make your own lotion bars and lip balm from beeswax made by local bees that have been kept chemical free. Caroline Abbott of Abbott Farms - Sustainable Agriculture will provide a free class for families at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum focused on safe bee products. The label “natural” can often mislead buyers into believing all natural and safe ingredients were used. Learn more about how chemicals are threatening the bees and our food supply. Abbott Farms in Otsego is experimenting in several areas, attempting to develop a sustainable system which anyone with a little bit of property can put into practice. They offer products, services, and classes designed to promote sustainable agriculture. For adults with children ages 9 and up. Adult required to participate with child. Space is limited.

  • Image of Susan Rice
    Plants for Pollinators with Susan Rice
    July 28, 2019
    1:30 pm
    Identify the most common of the 400 species of pollinating insects in this area and understand what they need for food and shelter. Learn which plants are bee friendly, how bees pollinate our plants, and the benefits of pollinators to our food supply. Find out what we can do to take action on behalf of the bees. Susan Rice is a certified Pollinator Champion through MSU, an established beekeeper, an avid gardener, and a board member of the Kalamazoo Bee Club.