Trailside Museum opens with a new mammoth exhibit & 'Fossil ID Days'

Released on 04/03/2006, at 2:00 AM
Office of University Communications
University of Nebraska–Lincoln

WHEN: Thursday, Apr. 13, 2006, through Apr. 14, 2006

WHERE: Trailside Museum of Natural History, Fort Robinson State Park, near Crawford

Lincoln, Neb., April 3rd, 2006 —

The Trailside Museum of Natural History at Fort Robinson State Park near Crawford will open for the annual visitor season on Thursday, April 13, featuring a new exhibit called, "Clash of the Mammoths."

The two ancient battling mammoths locked together in a death grip make their long-awaited return to their Ice Age stomping ground for the first time since the skeletal remains were discovered in the Little Badlands near Crawford 1962. The first visitors of the season will have the opportunity to see the exhibit as a work in progress.

Paleontologists from the University of Nebraska State Museum in Lincoln will be working to install the fragile bones into the exhibit until the display is complete, in time for the museum's grand opening celebration Aug. 4. The entwined mammoths will be exhibited in a setting that replicates an actual dig site, simulating the excavation experience for museum visitors.

The skulls and tusks have been housed in the research facility of the NU State Museum in Lincoln since their discovery, anticipating an eventual return to western Nebraska. Renewed community interest and enthusiasm for the titans have fueled the support needed for State Museum scientists to revive plans to return the one-of-a-kind fossils to the region.

In addition to the new exhibit, further improvements at the Trailside Museum include a mural project to begin in mid-April. The dramatic scene of the mammoths' death match will be painted as envisioned by Nebraska artist Mark Marcuson. Museum visitors will see the mural as an on-going project until it is completed over the course of about two weeks. Marcuson is known for his murals featured throughout the State Museum at Morrill Hall on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus, including the notable mural in Elephant Hall, portraying Ice Age mammoths along the Platte River.

In celebration of the return of the mammoths, the Trailside Museum will host two "Fossil Identification Days" from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (MDT) April 13 and 14. Visitors are invited to bring in their own fossil finds for examination by the State Museum's paleontologists. Those with especially interesting fossils may be invited to donate it to the museum for an upcoming "Local Finds" fossil exhibit. Donors will be credited with their name in the exhibit. Donations become the property of the Trailside Museum.

Trailside Museum admission: $2 for adults, children free. Spring hours resume April 17 for the remainder of April and May: Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (MDT). Summer hours begin on Memorial Day and continue through Labor Day: open seven days a week, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (MDT). For visitor information, telephone (308) 665-2929 or visit

CONTACT: Mark Harris, Assoc. Director, University of Nebraska State Museum, (402) 472-6699