“Light Up EdVenture” Reveals Children’s Museum’s New Brand and a Larger-than-Life Insect on the Fingertip of the Iconic 40-foot-tall “Eddie”

Summer kick-off event will celebrate the Midlands, the local firefly,
and celebrate the museum’s renewed commitment to the community

COLUMBIA, S.C., May 23, 2023 – After nearly 20 years of resting on the fingertip of Eddie—the 40-foot-tall-child exhibit at EdVenture Children’s Museum—the iconic EdVenture dragonfly is being removed. Insect lovers fear not! Eddie will have another six-legged arthropod landing on his finger soon, and it will be one with indigenous roots to the Midlands area—the firefly! Eddie’s new flying (endangered) friend is just one aspect of the museum’s new rebrand that is being launched in celebration of the summer on Tuesday, May 30 at 10:00 a.m. at its Gervais Street location.

With special guests from Congaree National Park, the Fireflies Baseball Team, and the South Carolina Teacher of the Year, Deion Jamison, EdVenture will gather with the community to “light up” the new firefly that is being placed on Eddie’s finger. The museum will be open to the public on Tuesdays for the summer season and is inviting all to join in the celebration. This event will be free to guests with the purchase of general admission to the museum.

“The purpose of the rebrand is to make EdVenture more place-based,” explains Andy Marquart, CEO of EdVenture. “We want kids to appreciate the world around them—especially the one that is in their backyard. When we began discussing the new brand, we knew that anchoring the theme and concept to the local community was a must.”

EdVenture’s new logo includes a magnifying glass with a firefly underneath. The magnifying glass was meant to symbolize EdVenture’s new tagline: Where curiosity is larger than life. As the rebrand has been created over the last few months, EdVenture has built a stronger connection to the community, including partnerships with the Congaree National Park and the Columbia Fireflies Baseball Team. EdVenture is partnering with both organizations to help raise awareness about conserving the endangered firefly.

“What better place to begin educating the public about the endangerment of the local firefly than with children,” says Greg Hauburger, Superintendent of Congaree National Park. “According to the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, the Phorturis forresti—also referred to by the moniker ‘Loopy Five Firefly’—is endangered. This particular firefly that is indigenous to South Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee, is at risk of being extinct due to habitat loss and light pollution.”

According to the National Park Service, the Loopy Five Firefly is one of only three species of synchronous fireflies in North America. Each year between the weeks of mid-May to mid-June these fireflies, located in the Midlands, demonstrate a unique phenomenon when they light up at the same time as they search for a mate.

“Just as lights along the beaches deterred turtles from nesting, lights from a home also deter fireflies from lighting up at night in the Midlands,” explains Hauburger. “Believe it or not, fireflies are all over the area—not just at Congaree. The Congaree National Park urges folks to turn off their outdoor lights at their own home during this time to further improve the long-term sustainability of the annual firefly synchronization.”

EdVenture will host programming initiatives that educate guests about what puts the firefly in endangerment. Educational components will also include firefly conservation and ways to self-report about fireflies in your own backyard through the citizen science app.

“This rebrand is truly represents collective efforts of our community,” says Brad Shank, president of the Columbia Fireflies Baseball Team. “We are of the mindset that when one of us thrives, we all thrive. We are thrilled to learn about EdVenture’s part in raising awareness of the endangered local firefly. Just like the fireflies that provided us with our team name, we want to synchronize with EdVenture and other great community assets. When we do that, we can both engage with the local community, educate, and promote the uniqueness of the Midlands.”

EdVenture’s previous logo included a colorful book icon. When asked what prompted the change, Marquart said, “While we are huge advocates of literacy, the old logo did not represent all that EdVenture has to offer its guests. We have a complete STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) initiative. Plus—we have the fantastic Richland County Public Library right down the road! They’ve got the book covered.”

EdVenture chose the South Carolina Teacher of the Year to be the one to light the firefly on Eddie’s finger for the first time to further enhance the message that EdVenture strives to support teachers year-round as a complement to formal classroom learning.