Sunday with a Scientist program returns to NU State Museum Jan. 17

Released on 01/12/2010, at 2:00 AM
Office of University Communications
University of Nebraska–Lincoln

WHEN: Sunday, Jan. 17, 2010, through Dec. 19, 2010

WHERE: University of Nebraska State Museum and Mueller Planetarium, Morrill Hall, south of 14th and Vine Streets

Lincoln, Neb., January 12th, 2010 —

Beginning Jan. 17, the University of Nebraska State Museum will revive its Sunday with a Scientist program. The program, which last took place at the museum in 1996, is a series of presentations that highlight the work of museum scientists and those from other institutions, while educating kids and families on a variety of topics related to natural history.

Presenters will share scientific information in a fun and informal way through talks, demonstrations, activities or by conducting their science on site. Sunday with a Scientist will be 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. at Morrill Hall on the third Sunday of each month through December. Morrill Hall is south of 14th and Vine streets on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln City Campus. Museum hours are 1:30-4:30 p.m. Sundays.

The series will kicks off with a program on vertebrate paleontology that gives children a chance to see what it's like to be a real-life paleontologist. Museum paleontologist Shane Tucker will present information on recent fossil discoveries from a highway construction project near Kimball. Tucker works for the museum's Highway Salvage Paleontology Program, a cooperative effort with the Nebraska Department of Roads. Visitors will be able to watch Tucker as he removes sediment from a giant land tortoise shell that is 6 million to 8 million years old. It was discovered by Tucker in September and is an exciting find because giant land tortoises are unable to survive freezing temperatures, indicating that Nebraska was once frost-free.

The tortoise shell is 2.25 feet wide and 3.5 feet long, and the shell, sand, and plaster field jacket protecting it weigh nearly 2,500 pounds. Tucker will give a presentation at 2:30 p.m. in Elephant Hall, where he will discuss his work in the field and show images of other fossils recovered at the site, including three-toed horse, camel, rhinoceros, wolf-sized bone-crushing dog, horned rodent, and extinct four-tusked elephant remains. Hands-on dig opportunities will also be provided for kids.

Kathy French, the museum's education coordinator, is organizing the program and said she hopes families will come back to Morrill Hall often to take advantage of the opportunities it provides to learn about science in an informal setting.

Sunday with a Scientist first began at Morrill Hall in 1987 and continued through 1996. In the past, museum curators and staff gave presentations to visitors in Morrill Hall's Encounter Center on topics ranging from bats, pollen, insects, dinosaurs, sand hill cranes, flint knapping, fossil identification, panning for gold and Native American bead and quillwork. In 1992, the program expanded to include presenters from outside the museum. The program continued to grow in scope and popularity until it ended in 1996, with attendance topping 4,000 in its final year.

For updates on the Sunday with a Scientist schedule through the year, visit

The University of Nebraska State Museum of Natural History in Morrill Hall is open 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Wednesday and Friday-Saturday, 9:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursdays, and 1:30-4:30 p.m. Sundays. Admission is $5 for adults (19 and over), $3 for children (5-18 years, 4 and under are free), and $10 for families (up to two adults and children). UNL staff, faculty and students are admitted free with valid NU ID. There is an additional charge for planetarium shows Parking is free. For further information, telephone the museum at (402) 472-3779, visit its Web site or Mueller Planetarium's Web site,, or contact French at (402) 472-6647 or by e-mail.

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