Ancient Fossils, New Discoveries

September 1st, 2012 - August 31st, 2014 | PROJECT

This CRPA award will provide the audience at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences with a contemporary science story about a 68 million year old dinosaur. In the research behind this exhibit, soft tissue (proteins and DNA) has been isolated and will reflect various characteristics of the animal and its habitat. Scientifically, this is a very exciting venture in that up to this point it was assumed that the soft tissue was lost and could not be derived from fossils. So, this is a modern day break through on the vast field of fossils that will provide unique details in the future. In addition, the scientific processes and instrumentation shall be elaborated to provide the visitor with scientific thinking and work as well as a marvelous lesson in comparative biology. Finally, the scientist in this project is a women and it is hoped that this will be inspirational for girls. The exhibit will be focused on a dinosaur in a new specially design wing of the natural sciences museum. The areas immediately around the fossil will be populated with explanatory modules elaborating various aspects of the fossil and the pertinent science. Some hands on equipment will be in the Hall as well. The presentation is aimed at youth, families, and especially girls. In an adjacent set of rooms, there will be research scientists doing research and available for answering questions. The significance of this presentation is contained in its integration of ancient creatures with modern science thinking and processes. It appears as a science exhibit, but it is intended to be inspirational to individuals who are among underserved groups who are seldom given the opportunity to imagine and learn.

Project Website(s)

(no project website provided)

Project Products

Nature Research Center Summative Evaluation

Team Members

Mary Schweitzer, Principal Investigator, North Carolina State Museum of Natural Sciences


Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: ISE/AISL
Award Number: 1139220
Funding Amount: 149402


Access and Inclusion: Women and Girls
Audience: General Public | Youth | Teen (up to 17)
Discipline: Life science | Nature of science
Resource Type: Project Descriptions
Environment Type: Exhibitions | Museum and Science Center Exhibits