Sunday, October 20, 2013

A Day at the museum--not!

I led my geology students on a field trip yesterday, which was supposed to be very similar to the trip I wrote about in Field trip highlights.  Unfortunately, the MSU Museum, which was supposed to be the first stop, was closed because of the home football game.  I'll know not to schedule a trip on a football Saturday in the future.  I was able to salvage the trip just the same.

To vent my frustration, I'm posting two stories about university museums that did the opposite of MSU--open their museums to the public, the first expressly on a football Saturday.

Auburn University: Auburn University Museum of Natural History to open doors to public
October 3, 2013
AUBURN UNIVERSITY – For the first time, the Auburn University Museum of Natural History is opening its doors to the public. On homecoming Saturday, Oct. 12, from 9 a.m. to noon, the museum will host an open house, offering the community a unique opportunity to meet the curators and explore the more than 1 million specimens found in the museum’s eight collections. Giveaways and live-animal demonstrations will be included in the event, which will take place on campus at the new Biodiversity Learning Center, located between Rouse Life Sciences Building and M. White Smith Hall.

The Biodiversity Learning Center is the new home for the Auburn University Museum of Natural History, which features collections of specimens representing the rich history of Alabama, the Southeast and beyond. Sponsored by the College of Sciences and Mathematics, the museum is used primarily by Auburn University professors and students and well as researchers from around the world conducting biodiversity research. Periodically, museum curators will extend the collections beyond campus and provide specimens to outside researchers and K-12 outreach programs. However, the museum is not ordinarily open to the public.

“The new Biodiversity Learning Center is a state-of-the-art collections facility that allows, for the first time, all of Auburn’s natural history collections to be housed under a single roof. The new building provides much needed space for the growth of collections and will greatly enhance our ability to share the collections with the public and further serve the needs of Auburn’s land-grant mission of education and outreach,” said Jason Bond, director of the Museum of Natural History. “We are incredibly proud of our museum collections and the Biodiversity Learning Center, and we hope everyone will be able to take advantage of this great opportunity to see more of what Auburn University has to offer.”
Not to be outdone, Auburn's in-state rival also held an open house.

University of Alabama: UA Museum Event Features Fossils, 3D Printing
Oct 7, 2013
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The community is invited to explore a world of fossils during National Fossil Day at the Alabama Museum of Natural History at Smith Hall on The University of Alabama’s campus.

The event will be held from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 16, in the grand gallery of Smith Hall, and it will feature demonstration tables with the department of geology and the evolutionary studies program, hands-on activities for children in the museum’s Discovery Lab and a wide variety of fossils on display.

The museum will also unveil the new Elasmosaur specimen collected this summer in Greene County by middle school students during an annual expedition.

“The event offers people in the community an opportunity to learn about the incredible fossil history that Alabama has,” said Todd Hester, museum naturalist. “It’s also a chance to see new technology in fossil research.”
Both events look like they were fun.  Wish I'd been there.

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