Summer has come and gone once again, and it was a record breaking year for the Morrison Natural History Museum! We were completely swamped with visitors every day of the week, and everyone at the museum had a blast meeting and talking with everyone who came in to visit us! We had several very fun events that we were involved with, and tons of amazing experiences as well. Here are just a few of the fun events from the summer!
|Matthew Mossbrucker and Dr. Robert Bakker on the balcony of the museum, posing for a picture for their Reddit AMA in June.|
In June, the Director and Chief Curator of the Morrison Museum, Matthew Mossbrucker, starred in the National Geographic special “T. rex Autopsy.” To celebrate his success, Greg and Meredith Tally, co-owners of the Best Western Denver Southwest Dino Hotel, decided to throw him a big party at the hotel’s bar, Paleo Joe’s. It was a great get together for all of the people involved with the museum!
|Volunteers, family, and friends all congregate at Paleo Joe's for the premiere of "T. rex Autopsy," starring Matthew Mossbrucker.|
|Museum Coordinator Doug Hartshorn rocks the scrubs.|
|One of the most exciting (and delicious!) dinosaur cakes I have ever seen, made special in honor of Matthew's National Geographic program.|
|Dr. Robert Bakker and Matthew Mossbrucker posing in front of Stan, our Tyrannosaurus rex skull cast, for the AMA.|
|Dr. Robert Bakker and Greg Tally in front of the Morrison Natural History Museum trying to figure out the best place to take the AMA picture.|
|Dr. Bakker and several stuffed dinosaur plushes.|
|Matthew Mossbrucker and Greg Tally on the balcony of the museum.|
|The museum building, hanging a left onto Colorado Highway 8.|
|Driving up Colorado Highway 8.|
|The museum building in its present position, prior to the building of the lower level underneath the historic cabin.|
|One of our volunteers, Alex Kalinowski, helped me get this shot, a reference to the mosasaur scene in the new Jurassic World movie.|
|This shot does an excellent job of showing off Herkimer's tongue. Herkimer is our Dumeril's monitor lizard (Varanus dumerilii), and always a pleasure to observe. His forked tongue enables him to home in on prey.|
Another shot of Herkimer and his fantastic forked tongue.
Jeffy, our western terrestrial garter snake (Thamnophis elegans) is as elusive as ever, but occasionally will make a rare appearance, immediately swamped by paparazzi and onlookers.
|Jeffy, the western terrestrial garter snake (Thamnophis elegans). Unlike many other colubrid snakes, garter snakes actually give birth to live young!|
Aunna Thomas is one of our volunteers who helps out taking care of our live reptiles on Tuesdays. Here, Aunna is handling Jim, our enormous bull snake (Piutophis catenifer sayi) who, despite his size, is really quite friendly, and makes a great museum ambassador as well!
Several times over the summer, we had a wild bull snake stop by and say hello. Here, the snake pays a visit to our outdoor Dig Pit, where kids can dig around for real fossils and a dinosaur skeleton! Despite having no arms or legs, many snakes are quite capable at digging.
Here we have one of our three adorable little western box turtles (Terrapene ornata ornata). I've learned over the years that if you point at them too close to the glass, they will sometimes mistake your finger for a worm, and do their very best to make a snack out of it. But don't worry, in all our years with our box turtles, we've never had any confirmed fatalities associated with a turtle attack.
In the picture below, Curator of Live Animals Ann Sarg talks with a tour group from The Gardens at Columbine in Littleton. Ann feeds our collection of live animals almost every Friday, and it's always a treat to watch!
|Several of our volunteers created brilliant shirts in order of the director.|
|Volunteer Bryan Turner and director Matthew Mossbrucker talk fossils in the Paleo Lab.|
Speaking of the museum volunteers, it's always important to emphasize just how critical to our operation the volunteers are! Without them, the museum experience simply would not be the same, and we are always indebted to them for their service. Below is a picture of our volunteer board, which features most of our currently active volunteers. Since our volunteers come and go, and we always have new volunteers as well, inevitably I fall behind in updating the board. Following that are pictures of only a few of our volunteers.
|Max Todd, an excellent tour guide and paleontology interpreter. Max is standing next to our Pteranodon skeleton cast in our Cretaceous Colorado exhibit.|
|Eron Richmond, one of our paleo technicians, who helps up slowly uncover secrets of the Late Jurassic Morrison Formation that have been locked away for nearly 150 million years. Eron is gesturing towards some of those very bones, including bones from an ancient sauropod.|
|Jill Hutchison, another one of our paleo technicians. Jill also helps out a lot at the front desk, checking visitors in and getting them oriented to what they will see in the museum. Here, Jill poses next to our allosaur skull cast in our Jurassic Exhibit.|
|Chenoa Ellinghaus, our resident paleo-artist. Chenoa also works with me at the Best Western Denver Southwest Dino Hotel. Our Tylosaurus skull cast is seen in the foreground.|
One of Chenoa's current projects is a line of paleo-plushies called "Paleo Pals." Chenoa recently released the first of these plushies, Andy the Anomalocaris, pictured below. Check out the Paleo Pals website by clicking HERE, and enjoy a brief description of the plush in the video below, featuring Dr. Robert Bakker, Chenoa Ellinghaus, Matthew Mossbrucker, and Greg Tally.
|Chenoa's fantastic new plush, Andy the Anomalocaris!|
|Here, Chenoa Ellinghaus and Matthew Mossbrucker prepare for a film segment for Chenoa's Kickstarter video in our Time Garden, which you can enjoy in its entirety below.|
Everyone here had a great summer, and we look forward to having an incredible fall and winter as well! Here's just a few more pictures from the summer.
|Our allosaur skull cast in our Jurassic Exhibit.|
|Our enormous wooden reconstruction of an Apatosaurus ajax, out behind the museum. Unfortunately, we ended up taking this down at the beginning of the summer.|
|Dr. Robert Bakker and Doug Hartshorn investigate one of our blocks of Late Jurassic, Morrison Formation rock from Quarry 5, right in Morrison.|
|My friends Zach Evens, Mona Kamath, and Masaki Kleinkopf came up with me to visit in August, which was a ton of fun!|
|Our cast of the skull of the North American lion (Panthera atrox), on display in our Ice Age Colorado exhibit. The North American lion is the largest cat known to science, an enormous feline the size of a modern polar bear!|
|On an historic day, a rainbow was projected on the ceiling of our Cretaceous Colorado Exhibit from the water in Herkimer's tank. Here, you can see our Pteranodon skeleton cast dramatically backlit by the rainbow.|
|The scouring rush (Hippochaete hyemalis) flourished in the Jurassic Garden, out in front of the museum. It's quite likely that the diet of Stegosaurus and other Late Jurassic herbivores would have included something similar to this scouring rush.|
|Dr. Robert Bakker poses in front of the museum sign with several dinosaur plushies.|
|Our Uintatherium skull cast, on display in our Ice Age Colorado exhibit. This enormous mammal lived during the Eocene Epoch, and despite it's deadly-looking fangs was an herbivore! The tusks, as well as the six ossicones on its head, almost certainly served a role in attracting a mate, like modern walrus and giraffes.|
|Several members of the Model T Association of Colorado came by in their cars for a tour, which was a very fun day in the parking lot!|