All good things…


I first started working for VMNH as an intern in 1989, shortly after the museum opened. In 1999 I started working here full time, initially as the Laboratory Manager and later as Curator of Paleontology. So it’s a little surprising even to me to announce that I’ll be leaving VMNH at the end of the month to take a new position as the Executive Director of the Western Science Center in Hemet, California.




I’ll obviously have a lot more to say about my new position in the weeks and months to come. In the short term, I’ll be spending most of my time packing my office, preparing to relocate, and making sure the VMNH paleontology department is prepared for my departure. VMNH’s activities at Carmel Church and Solite will continue, as will the Fossil Insect Digitization project. I plan to continue to have some involvement with VMNH’s paleontology activities, at the very least by completing my numerous half-finished manuscripts on Carmel Church.

“Updates” has been continuously running for almost seven years. Fortunately Christina has agreed to take over writing for “Updates”, so you’ll still be able to follow VMNH’s paleontological activities. VMNH also plans to hire a new paleontology curator sometime during the next year, so I’m confident Virginia’s fossil collections will be well cared for.

I’ll be starting a new blog soon about my activities at WSC, and either Christina or I will post the link here. As soon as I have that up and running I hope that you’ll join me there!

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11 Responses to All good things…

  1. Congrats Dr. Butch! Keep an eye out for stromatolites in CA!

  2. altondooley says:

    Thanks, Robin! I’ll definitely keep looking for stromatolites!

  3. Nooooooooooo! I mean, congratulations. The Commonwealth is suffering a real loss with your departure. Is there a position in California for Brett, too?

  4. altondooley says:

    Thanks, Callan!

    At the moment Brett doesn’t have a position in CA, and she’ll be staying at PHCC for at least the next year while we get our house ready to sell. But there are lots of colleges and community colleges in the area, and the plan is for her to eventually join me in CA.

  5. Congratulations on your new gig! You deserve it! Wow, a new adventure! I will come and live with Brett, well I would if I could…..

  6. Doug says:

    congrats! I’d say you’ll have better prospects here in California (because of our extensive fossil record), but you have shown me that Virginia has it’s own fossil charms.

    Anyway, I’ll guess I’ll have to swing by next time I’m down there. The good thing about being in southern California is you’ll have so many wonderful institutions to work with, like San Bernardino County Museum, Ray Alf, The Cooper Center, and The Nat in San Diego (those last two especially, since you’re a marine mammal guy). Best of luck in your new endeavor.

  7. altondooley says:

    I look forward to meeting you in person, Doug!

  8. George Fonger says:


    Cograts on the new position. I have enjoyed our work in the field and correspondence. VMNH and the staff are the greatest.. The field work is a great resource to science and to education

    All the best

    George F

  9. Joe, Trish, and John Parker says:

    Sad to see you go….a big loss for the museum here! Always enjoyed your enthusiastic approach to your job and for being so patient with our son John. You really taught him a lot and his trip to Peru with the museum was a life experience! We will think of you often and will always remember our trips to Carmel Church with fondness. Best wishes to you, Brett, and Tim. California is getting a good deal!!!

  10. Mike Morriss says:

    Now, how am I supposed to work on Portable Cases Version 6.0 with you gone? Josh and I are really going to miss you and your family. I hope Christina will get in touch with us with any work going on at Carmel Church. We are going to miss a great friend and role model for paleo. You taught us so much, especially about how to identify POS and real fossils 🙂

    Congrats and we wish you and your family a happy life in sunny California.

    The whales will miss you at CC! . . and the rocks too!

    Mike Morriss

  11. Mike Huggins says:

    Glad you were the able curator of Virginia’s fossil heritage at the VMNH for so long, Mr. Dooley (including my small, archived contribution). However, welcome to the neighborhood. Looks like there are good things happening out in Hemet, so I look forward to dropping by sometime (from OC) and saying hello. FYI: Idyllwild is a great escape from the Hemet heat, and watch out for that darn San Jacinto Fault.

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