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Eating out on Valentine’s is nice, but so is doing this

We don’t enjoy crowds, let alone crowded restaurants. And with Valentine’s falling on a Friday, one may safely assume the eateries are going to be packed. Good for them. We’ll grab a bag of chocolates and take in some of these interesting exhibits around Boston instead.

In Brockton, there’s a gem on the edge of D.W. Field Park in the form of the Fuller Craft Museum, and starting Saturday it’s showcasing a wild exhibit called “The Great Monkey Project.” Imagine a mob of 80 life-size monkeys hanging above your head, not to frighten but to delight and stir the imagination. They are created by Connecticut artist James Grashow using only cardboard, the material overused by online merchants.


“Grashow transforms the gallery into a whimsical theatre of simian forms as he elevates a throw-away material into the best kind of monkey business,” the museum says in its publicity release. “Tough but temporary, the simian intervention reminds us of our physical impermanence and the beauty of everyday materials.”

Curator Beth McLaughlin told a Globe correspondent she had seen Grashow’s monkeys in the stairway at the DeCordova Museum in Lincoln and thought they would fit nicely in the Fuller’s two-story Atrium Gallery. She said she also thought the work would provide a good balance to some of the other shows at the museum, which include an exhibit on the human impact of the opioid epidemic.

“When people turn the corner and are presented with this raucous crowd of cardboard primates swimming above their heads, it will really be fun for kids, for everyone,” she said.

The monkeys are up through Sept. 13. The museum, at 455 Oak St., will hold a reception for Grashow on April 5 from 1 to 3 p.m. For more information, visit www.fullercraft.org.

What the heck is a fermentophone? Our friends at the Harvard Museum of Natural History tell us they’ve set one up in the museum’s Microbial Life gallery; it’s created by Somerville multimedia artist Joshua Pablo Rosenstock. What is it? It’s a “musical instrument played by live bacteria and yeast,” the museum’s publicity material says. “As the bacteria and yeast in the jars eat the sugars in the ingredients, they produce carbon dioxide gas. Underwater microphones translate the bubbles into rhythmic data that become computerized, and produce an immersive, multichannel, musical soundtrack to the active fermentation.” The installation, at 26 Oxford St., Cambridge, comes down on Feb. 23. Visit www.hmnh.harvard.edu.


Hair, there, everywhere: Historic Newton, the partnership between the Newton Historical Society and the City of Newton, has an alluring exhibit opening on Thursday titled “HAIRdentity,” an exploration of hair through artifacts and photos from 1840 to 1980 that show how hairstyles reflect fashion trends as well as personal choices and beliefs. See the progression of hair curlers, and marvel at accessories including jeweled hairpins, mustache curlers, Afro picks, and even a mustache cup, a teacup designed to shield men’s handlebars from getting wet (and melting the mustache wax) while drinking. “HAIRdentity” is at the Jackson Homestead and Museum, 527 Washington St.Visit www.historicnewton.org.

Toys were us: In Acton, the Discovery Museum, 177 Main St., has an exhibit through May 10 that should appeal to the child in us. “Toys: The Inside Story” offers closeup views of the innards of childhood playthings such as Jack-In-The-Box and Etch-a-Sketch. Visit www.discoveryacton.org.


Eyeing eagles: On Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Mass Audubon’s Joppa Flats Education Center and the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge present “Merrimack River Eagle Festival 2020,” featuring live raptor demonstrations, guided sightings of bald eagles, snowy owls, and other wintering birds, crafts, games, and family nature activities in Amesbury, Newbury, and Newburyport. Visit www.massaudubon.org.

Briefly: Salem State University’s 41st annual Darwin Festival, a celebration of the work of Charles Darwin with talks and videos on subjects relating to evolution and biology, takes place Monday-Friday. Visit www.salemstate.edu. In Norwell, the South Shore Natural Science Center, 48 Jacobs Lane, has a winter juried art show focusing on the theme of living and playing along the New England coast. An opening reception and awards ceremony takes place on Thursday from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Visit www.ssnsc.org.

L. Kim Tan can be reached at tan@globe.com.