Museum educates, entertains

TV Hagenah

A museum dealing with dinosaurs is, by definition, something dealing with very old things. But according to those involved with Mesalands Dinosaur Museum the young are what make it fun.

“It is so much fun when these groups come in here,” said museum director Craig Currell about groups of students from near and far who visit the museum. “They really enjoy it.”

Currell said the Dinosaur Museum gets people and students from all over stopping at the museum to take in the world-renowned work both in dinosaurs and in geology that they display.

“The kids really make it enjoyable though,” said Currell.
Currell said that rather than what one might expect, the young people who come to the museum on tours have a definite excitement in their eyes as they tour the different exhibits.

“Their eyes just light up. It’s wonderful,” said Currell.

The sentiment was echoed by work study employee, Donna Garcia who handles the front desk at the museum just a block off first street. She said she too noticed the reaction of some of the young people who visit the museum.

“It’s nice to see the kids get real excited,” said Garcia. “It’s really neat to see a kid who is really interested in dinosaurs when they come out. The look on his face. Well, it just lights up.”

Currell said he usually will give a brief introductory presentation to the groups about some of the different aspects of the museum and he is consistently impressed with their behavior.

“Like this group here,” said Currell about a group visiting the museum from Vega, Texas, “just look how well behaved they are.”

Currell said groups of young people and the Dinosaur Museum are a good match since the museum was designed with a number of “hands on” exhibits that involve the young with different aspects of archeology and geology.

“I think it brings it more alive to them to actually be able to touch the different exhibits,” said Currell.

The director said by getting a chance to touch a stone dinosaur egg or lean against a recreation of a dinosaur leg bone gives the students a chance to grasp the size and reality of the animals. Often Currell wanders among the students telling them this or that story about a specific exhibit that might not be mentioned in explanation provided on the plaque with the exhibit.

“They really seem to appreciate that,” said Currell.

Currell said the young people also enjoy watching the college students and professors who work on different geologic and archeological projects through a glass partition. He said the young people are often truly inspired watching the professional scientists go about their responsibilities of finding and identifying different aspects of their work. Work study student Linda Morris who also works at the museum said that she too enjoys the children on class tours when they come to the museum.

“I like to see them come and enjoy it,” said Morris. “They seem so excited, and I hope it encourages them to study more geology and dinosaurs.”