Friday, November 2, 2012

Whoopee ti yi yo, git along little dinos!

T-rex in the Tate Museum's Suburban, headed off (tee hee) to a new home in Casper, Wyoming.  Photo courtesy Kelli Trujillo.
The Grand Opening of the renovated Geological Museum at the University of Wyoming has been delayed until January 2013, but nobody’s complaining.  Additional funding became available!  How often does that happen?  This is especially exciting given that just three years ago, this museum was shut down by the University in response to state budget cuts.  Two employees were laid off.  The overall savings was estimated at $80,000.  According to then-President Tom Buchanan (who received a $50,000 raise the previous year) cuts were made in an effort to “minimize the impact on teaching, research and service at the university.”  Yeah right, Tom.  According to Provost Myron Allen:  “Although there is an online petition effort to keep it open ... the museum closure is a done deal.”
Allen was wrong.  The outrage was massive, loud and clear.  This wasn’t just any museum.  It was the beloved Geological Museum that they had closed ... but not for long.
We considered setting Doc Knight’s copper-plated Tyrannosaurus rex loose to terrorize (or worse) Buchanan, Allen and other like-minded bureaucrats.  Now a “T-rex Patio” is part of the plans ... cool!
The real heroes in this battle are Anne and Nip Mears -- aka Dr. Brainerd Mears, Jr., Professor Emeritus, expert on periglacial wedges, and beloved teacher.  Their very generous financial gift was matched by the state (from a matching fund for the U), providing the museum with an endowment of $1.4 million.  Thanks Anne and Nip!

The University of Wyoming now is singing a different tune:
“We are very excited to announce that major renovations will be happening in our museum over the summer and fall! We will be doing construction to bring some things up to modern safety codes, improving the overall lighting of the museum, creating a new viewable fossil preparation laboratory and a new space for traveling exhibits, and updating several key exhibits.”
Above, fiberglass models of T-rex and Allosaurus were given to the Tate Geological Museum at Casper College.  Below, T-rex skull cast is hanging out with biologists in the Berry Building while construction is underway.  Photos courtesy Kelli Trujillo.
Look for a post early next year about the Grand Opening ... there's going to be a big celebration in Laramie!
Doc Knight (left) hangs with his Ice Age mural.  This was Laramie in the Pleistocene.
For the latest news on the Geological Museum, check the renovation blog.


  1. How wonderful! What a cheerful and encouraging post. I expect someone has studied the psychology behind why humans like dinosaurs. It's something beyond logic - even the tiniest children are 'grabbed' by them. They are important in their own right but they are also the route most of us take into appreciating the natural world of now - and the route many take when coming to understand what might happen in the future. I'm puzzled though, by the way we can never grasp how long there were dinosaurs living on Earth before humans and how long their span of history was compared to ours.