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April 28, 2014

affiliates in the news

Congrats to these Affiliates making news! Each month we highlight Affiliate-Smithsonian and Affiliate-Affiliate collaborations making headlines.  If you have a clipping highlighting a collaboration with the Smithsonian or with a fellow Affiliate you’d like to have considered for the Affiliate blog, please contact Elizabeth Bugbee.

Ohio History Connection (Columbus, Ohio)
Ohio Historical Society Changes Its Name To Ohio History Connection
Logan says the word “connection” also better explains how people can access Ohio history.  With more than 1.9 million artifacts in its collection, Logan says the Ohio History Connection is a national leader in changing how people can access history and believes the new name better reflects this trendsetting programming

University of Nebraska State Museum (Lincoln, NE)
Watch the Kirk Johnson’s public lecture at the Museum here!

All photos courtesy University of Nebraska State Museum.

All photos courtesy University of Nebraska State Museum.

Smithsonian director praises Nebraska’s treasure trove of fossils
“Ninety of the state’s 93 counties have supplied fossils to the world …,” Johnson, sant director of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, told an audience in Lincoln on Wednesday. “You have a world resource here — not just a Nebraska resource.”

Smithsonian director to discuss Nebraska’s fossils at UNL
The lecture is partially connected to Morrill Hall’s recent affiliation with the Smithsonian Institute back in February. The Smithsonian Affiliations is a national outreach program which develops relationships with museums, educational and culture organizations to enrich communities with Smithsonian resources. The NU state museum joins 184 museums, educational and cultural organizations in its affiliation.

Museum Center at 5ive Points (Cleveland, TN)
Museum signs agreement to be Smithsonian affiliate
The Museum Center at Five Points has signed an agreement to become an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution. Hassan Najjar, the museum’s executive director, said the partnership means the local museum may soon play host to nationally traveling artifacts and exhibits owned by the Smithsonian.

Photo credit: Museum of the Rockies

Photo credit: Museum of the Rockies

Museum of the Rockies (Bozeman, MT)
Tyrannosaurus Rex to embark on cross country journey
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Omaha District’s Wankel Tyrannosaurus Rex will soon travel from Montana, where it has resided for the past 66 million years, to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. The Museum of the Rockies, Bozeman, Mont., home to the T.rex since it was excavated in 1993, will host a free, public sendoff April 11, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Smithsonian Museum to get a T. rex – via FedEx
Known as “the Nation’s T. rex,” the unmounted specimen is being trucked from the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman to Washington, via FedEx, where it will be unpacked April 15 and eventually serve as the centerpiece of a new National Fossil Hall, opening in 2019, according to the Washington Post.

65 million-year-old T Rex headed to nation’s capital for next 50 years
Big Mike outside the Museum of the Rockies is a creature many of us recognize. The T-Rex is actually a bronze replica of a fossil found in the 90′s which is about to head to a new home in Washington D.C.

Delicate dance with a dinosaur
In collaboration with the Museum of the Rockies, in Bozeman, Mont., the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District entered an agreement to loan one of its two Tyrannosaurs Rex specimens to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History for 50 years.

Rare T.rex sets off from Montana on road trip bound for Smithsonian
The fossil of the 38-foot-long carnivore, found on federal lands in Montana in 1988, has played a starring role in scientific research at the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman since its excavation by paleontologists led by curator Jack Horner.

 

#NationsTrex in crates when it arrived @NMNH on April 15. Photo credit: Smithsonian Affiliations.

#NationsTrex in crates when it arrived @NMNH on April 15. Photo credit: Smithsonian Affiliations.

Rare T.rex goes on a road trip in the US
The rare and nearly intact skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus rex that roamed the earth 65 million years ago set off from Montana last Friday on a cross-country road trip, its first, bound for the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC.

65-million-year-old T-Rex fossil arrives at DC museum
The tyrannosaurus rex was FedEx-ed to the Smithsonian in 16 different crates carefully carrying all of the 200 plus fragile bones for the road trip from the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, Montana. Estimated at about 65 million years old, the skeleton is nearly 85 percent intact.

T. rex gets new home in Smithsonian dinosaur hall
More than 100 years after dinosaurs were first displayed on the National Mall, T. rex — the king — is joining the Smithsonian collection after a 2,000-mile journey from Montana.

January 13, 2012

Mastodon Menagerie

Special thanks for this guest post to James “Zach” Zacharias, Senior Curator of Education and Curator of History at The Museum of Arts and Sciences, a Smithsonian Affiliate in Daytona Beach, Florida.

James "Zach" Zacharias, Senior Curator of Education at the Museum of Arts and Sciences, with one of the tusks from an adult mastodon. Photo courtesy of The Museum of Arts and Sciences.

The Monday morning before Thanksgiving 2011 seemed like any other day at the Museum of Arts & Sciences (MOAS) until the City of Daytona Beach emailed me a picture of what appeared to be a large lower jawbone. The City had been excavating a drainage pond two miles north of the Museum and workers found massive and mysterious bones. Upon closer inspection of the image, it became clear to me that I was looking at the lower mandible and teeth of an American Mastodon

The City promptly postponed construction so MOAS could dispatch personnel to the site. Although I was in a shirt and tie, I jumped into the mud- and muck-filled pit for a closer look! Within five minutes, I located a partially exposed tusk protruding from the pond’s north wall. As I investigated the layers of earth, I knew right there and then this was the tusk of an Ice Age mammoth or mastodon. It dawned on me this was turning into an incredible prehistoric discovery for our area. With hopes of unearthing the full skeleton, we set to work. 

An army of Museum staff and associates quickly converged on the site to help in the excavation effort. With painstaking care and effort, two delicate partial tusks were removed. These precious pieces of the Pleistocene were each placed in a “plaster jacket” (a protective covering used by paleontologists to move fossil specimens from the field) and moved to their secure home at the Museum. 

Assorted museum staff and volunteers at the construction site at the bottom of the drainage pond being excavated. Photo courtesy of The Museum of Arts and Sciences.

The rest of the excavation soon turned into a salvage operation. Unbeknownst to the workers, a portion of the skeleton (other than tusks) which was interspersed amongst the rocks and stones had been routinely put through a giant rock screener. This broke up some parts of the skeletal remains. As MOAS representatives sifted through the debris piles, a plethora of broken vertebra, ribs, limbs and skull bones were found. Currently, MOAS is cleaning, sorting and accessioning the fossils. A portion of the femur is currently being prepared for carbon dating by the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.  

A construction worker found this lower mandible of the American Mastodon. Photo courtesy of The Museum of Arts and Sciences.

This is the second significant paleontological find for the Museum of Arts & Sciences – the first being the 1975 discovery of the remains of 13 giant ground sloths in a barrow pit near Nova and Reed Canal roads. MOAS proudly displays the most complete and best preserved giant ground sloth skeleton in the world.  

Florida’s peninsula has submerged and re-emerged numerous times as the earth has passed through ice ages and warming trends. The paleontology of Florida demonstrates there were no dinosaurs here (the state was underwater during the Mesozoic Era) and this is reflected in the abundant marine fossils found in Central Florida. The animal fossils found here belong to “mega-fauna” mammals such as the giant ground sloth, mastodons and mammoths, saber cats, dire wolfs, paleo llamas, and the glyptodon. They roamed our landscape from 130,000 to 10,000 years ago.  

James "Zach" Zacharias with the assorted bone fragments from the mastodon. Photo courtesy of The Museum of Arts and Sciences.

The discovery of the Daytona Beach American Mastodon is thrilling and exciting for the Museum, the City and our community. MOAS is looking forward to adding the fossils to an exhibit for all to see –encouraging inspiration, curiosity, and the love of knowledge.

 

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