California State Parks in collaboration with the Central Coast State Parks Association is excited to announce a new exhibition entitled The Curious World of Seaweed. This exhibit is now on display at the Morro Bay Museum of Natural History at Morro Bay State Park and will run through Dec. 15, 2023. Sponsored by the Central Coast State Parks Association (CCSPA), The Curious World of Seaweed provides a new look at marine flora through stunning color “portraits” of specimens, scientifically accurate text panels, and surprising stories highlighting Indigenous peoples’ and women’s connections to seaweed.
Seaweeds have been used by the Indigenous peoples of California and the Pacific Northwest for thousands of years. European explorers plucked specimens from our rocky shores during exploratory expeditions. In the late 1800s, women living in Pacific Grove, CA, sent fresh specimens collected around the Monterey Peninsula to colleagues at UC Berkeley. And, today, seaweed is receiving major attention as kelp forests rapidly disappear from our coastline. From nori to giant kelp, from bull kelp to surfgrass and eelgrass, seaweed holds many such stories for visitors to discover through traveling exhibition The Curious World of Seaweed.
The Curious World of Seaweed features the works and research of Josie Iselin, a photographer, author, and designer of many books. Her newest book, The Curious World of Seaweed, features visually rich narratives of our iconic West Coast seaweeds and kelps. It was released by Heyday Books in August 2019 and has been shortlisted for the Northern California Book Award and the Alice Award, recognizing illustrated books.
Iselin’s writing and art focusing on seaweed, kelp and sea otters puts her on the forefront of ocean activism, presenting and working with scientists and environmental groups working to preserve the kelp forests of our Pacific Coast.