Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History director to speak April 23

Released on 04/14/2014, at 2:00 AM
Office of University Communications
University of Nebraska–Lincoln

WHEN: Wednesday, Apr. 23, 2014

WHERE: Nebraska Union, 14th and R Streets

Lincoln, Neb., April 14th, 2014 —
Kirk Johnson
Kirk Johnson
Smithsonian Affiliations logo
Smithsonian Affiliations logo

            Kirk Johnson, Sant Director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, will discuss the importance of Nebraska's fossil record and its contribution to the great story of life on Earth on April 23.

            The presentation, "From Fossils to Freeways and from Shovel-Tuskers to Cornhuskers," will begin at 4 p.m. in the Nebraska Union, 14th and R Streets on the UNL campus. This event is free and open to the public.

            Celebrating its new designation as a Smithsonian Affiliate, the University of Nebraska State Museum welcomes Johnson to campus to discuss his appreciation for the paleontology of Nebraska and for the unique stories that it tells. Johnson's research has involved work at hundreds of fossil sites in the American West. While at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, he curated the "Prehistoric Journey" exhibition and wrote the book, "Cruisin' the Fossil Freeway: An Epoch Tale of a Scientist and an Artist on the Ultimate 5,000-mile Paleo Road Trip." Johnson will make a case for the importance of Nebraska's fossils in the global narrative of the evolution of life through time.

            Since October 2012, Johnson has been the Sant Director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, where he supervises the renovation of the National Fossil Hall. His research focuses on fossil plants, the extinction of the dinosaurs and methods for dating rocks and fossils. He is known for his scientific books and articles, museum exhibits, presentations and collaborations with artists. In 2010-11, Johnson led the Snowmastodon Project, the excavation of an ice age site near Snowmass Village, Colo., featured in the NOVA documentary, "Ice Age Death Trap."

            Established in 1871, the University of Nebraska State Museum is the state's premier museum of natural history. The Museum is focused on promoting discovery in natural science, fostering scientific understanding and interpretation of the Earth's past, present and future and enhancing stewardship of the natural and cultural heritage of Nebraska through world class exhibits, collections and special events. For more information, go to

Writer: Mandy Haase, University of Nebraska State Museum

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