For a number of years I was the entire paid paleontology staff at VMNH (a problem shared by all our research departments), which made it difficult to carry out very many activities. In recent years, the museum has increased the number of paid technical positions, and with grants we’ve been able to hire additional people on a temporary basis. The increased staff makes a big difference, and this weekend the Paleo department was able to do something we haven’t done in years: carry out two simultaneous activities.
On Friday Ray and I drove to the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery in Dayton to deliver a giant beaver cast skeleton that we’ve been remounting at VMNH. While there we returned some sloth bones we had on loan, and borrowed several more specimens for molding (more on those in future posts).
After leaving Boonshoft we drove to Richmond, Indiana, and on Saturday we visited the Joseph Moore Museum at Earlham College, where Ray made some modifications to the original beaver skeleton on display there. We also returned some specimens to the Earlham Geology Department that we had borrowed some time ago for our Ordovician exhibit.
Then we headed across town for the first Richmond Fossil Fest and Whitewater Valley Fossil Hunt:
The Fossil Fest included all kinds of children’s activities, as well as fossil hunts in the Ordovician Whitewater Formation:
The guy wearing the backpack is Earlham College Geology Professor and VMNH Research Associate Andy Moore, who was leading the fossil hunt (Andy’s wife Shannon did most of the organizing for the Fossil Fest, which ran like clockwork and was popular and well-attended).
What made this different for VMNH is that, while Ray and I were working in Indiana, Christina and Ashley were taking care of the VMNH Paleontology booth at PHCC’s Mini Maker Faire at the Artisan Center in Martinsville, doing casting and painting demonstrations:
With the extra staff, we’ve been able to greatly increase our activities, which should continue through the spring and summer. We have a full schedule over the next several months, including field work, more molding and casting, and specimen preparation. More to come!