Museums to Collaborate on 'Dinosaur Detectives' Program on Feb. 21

Released on 02/06/2004, at 12:00 AM
Office of University Communications
University of Nebraska–Lincoln

WHEN: Saturday, Feb. 21, 2004

Lincoln, Neb., February 6th, 2004 —

WHEN: Saturday, Feb. 21, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
WHERE: Lincoln Children's Museum, 1420 P Street; University of Nebraska State Museum, 14th & U Streets

Lincoln, Neb., Feb. 6, 2004 -- The University of Nebraska State Museum at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the Lincoln Children's Museum will collaborate Feb. 21 on a fun family science program titled "Dinosaur Detectives."

The program will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Lincoln Children's Museum, 1420 P St., and will provide kids with hands-on activities that will give them the chance to act as "junior paleontologists" and learn what dinosaurs are really about. Kids of all ages will move through stations that investigate dinosaurs. They will learn what is a dinosaur and what is not, compare their size to that of a dinosaur, and make rubbings of dinosaur footprints. UNL faculty and graduate students will help explain what's involved in the stations.

In addition, kids will be able to sift through sand at a "dig site" to find actual fossils, which they can identify. Then they will receive a Dinosaur Passport at the last Dinosaur Detective station.

"The kids will be able to come to the University of Nebraska State Museum that day or at a later date with their families and be able to see 'their' fossil on display with the museum's other fossils," said Neale Monks, a visiting paleontologist at the NU State Museum.

When children bring their passports to the NU State Museum in Morrill Hall, 14th and U streets, they will be able to answer questions on the passport by closely examining the museum's exhibits. A stamp of completion will allow the participants to graduate to "official dinosaur detective" status.

Monks designed the Dinosaur Detective program, adapting it from similar programs offered at the Natural History Museum in London, his home institution, and from existing programs at the NU State Museum.

"We want kids to have a fun experience and learn interesting things about dinosaurs, like why triceratops has horns, but we really want to follow the lead of the child," Monks said.

This is the first collaboration between the two museums. Joel McCleary, education director for the Lincoln Children's Museum, said the Dinosaur Detective program is a good example of how the museums can work together to educate through their respective informal learning centers.

"Dr. Monks is a really fun scientists who truly enjoys working with children," McCleary said. "He helps by bringing his scientific expertise from his position in London to our engaging Dinosaur Detectives day on Feb. 21."

Admission to the Lincoln Children's Museum is $5 for adults and children over the age of 2. Admission to the NU State Museum is $4 for adults, $2 for children and $8 for families.

CONTACTS: Joel McCleary, Education Director, Lincoln Children's Museum, (402) 477-0128; and
Kathleen French, Education Coordinator, NU State Museum, (402) 472-6647