Illinois State Museum Celebrates National Fossil Day

. October 7, 2010 . 0 Comments

The Illinois State Museum is joining the National Park Service in celebrating the first National Fossil Day on October 13 to promote public awareness and stewardship of fossils, as well as foster a greater appreciation of their scientific and educational values. The Museum has internationally acclaimed fossils in its collections, many of which are on display in the Changes: Dynamic Illinois Environments exhibition.

The public is invited to attend two free special programs to learn more about fossils. On October 13, from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm visitors will engage in fun fossil activities, such as fossil rubbings and games in A Place for Discovery children’s gallery. Docents will be in the Changes exhibition to share touchable hands-on fossils including Illinois’ State fossil, the Tully Monster. There will be a search activity to learn about the wide diversity of plant and animal fossils that provide clues to what Illinois looked like in the distant past.

To further celebrate National Fossil Day, the Museum’s monthly Super Saturday program will also focus on fossils. On October 9, the “Fabulous Fossils” Super Saturday will be held from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Families will learn about different kinds of fossils by creating a fossil mold, designing their own ”monsters”, searching the Museum for fossils, and more. This program is designed especially for children 4-8 years old. Most activities can be completed in 30 to 45 minutes, although participants are welcome to stay for as long as they wish. No registration is required. The Super Saturday series is sponsored by the Bank of Springfield.

National Fossil Day is a new celebration organized by the National Park Service. The Illinois State Museum is participating as part of its mission to promote discovery, lifelong learning, and stewardship of Illinois’ natural, cultural, and artistic heritage. The Museum’s geology collections include over 200,000 specimens. The specimens are the foundation for exhibitions and public programs and are used for research by scholars all over the world. The Museum has an outstanding collection of plant and animal fossils from the Mazon Creek area, which is recognized as one of the best preserved and richest assemblages of fossils in the world. The Museum is also known internationally for having the most significant collection of American Mastodont fossils. The vertebrate paleontology collection consists of over 50,000 specimens and is one of the best Ice Age mammal fossil collections in North America. “Type specimens” are tremendously important because they are the specimens first used to describe a species. The Museum’s collections include dozens of type invertebrates, 6 fish types, and many more type plant fossils. The Changes exhibition features hundreds of spectacular fossils from the Museum’s vast collections, and the rest are housed at the Museum’s Research and Collections Center.

The Museum’s extensive collections and research activities provide the foundation for exhibitions and public programs that tell the story of the land, life, people, and art of Illinois. The Museum is located at 502 S. Spring St. (the corner of Spring and Edwards Streets) in Springfield, and is open 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday, noon to 5:00 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free. Parking is available nearby, and the building is ADA accessible.

www.museum.state.il.us

Category: Natural History

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