Dino News and Views: An Online Museum in Interesting Times

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Museums are institutions for the conservation of objects. In this way, museums are unique from other institutions in that our public exhibits focus on physical objects.

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So what does a museum do when our public offerings are inaccessible to the public due to physical distancing to mitigate the impacts of a pandemic? The answer, of course, in our digital age is to move to digital offerings.

And what are the digital offerings of the Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum? We have flooded our social media with a number of regular activities designed to educate and entertain both our regular visitors, as well as reach new audiences online.

First of all, for those who are used to the pleasure of following organized sports, we have an alternative. Archosaur April Absurdity is modeled after Dr. Katie Hinde’s Mammal March Madness, which in turn is modeled on the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament. In Archosaur April Absurdity we offer daily play-by-plays and fictional match summaries in a similar tournament between individual archosaurs i.e. birds, dinosaurs, crocodiles and their closest fossil relatives . People can follow on social media and predict who will win. It’s fun to watch the play-by-plays and search for your favorites, while still being cunningly educational.

We also have weekly quarantine challenges. Each week, we give you an idea for a DIY or other dinosaur and fossil-related project that kids and their parents can make at home. Then people can send photos of their project to present on our social networks. When the museum can reopen to the public, we plan to display some of these creations in a special exhibit at the museum.

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That’s not all. For those at home who want to explore the museum and learn more about dinosaurs, our paleo-educator Nicholas Carter uploads videos, called our “In the Gallery” series, every week via Facebook. Not only will you get a glimpse of what the museum exhibits, but you will also be able to discover some fossils that are not often seen by the public. All combined with an up-to-date knowledge of local dinosaurs, our “In the Gallery” series is something you should definitely check out.

On top of that, we’re working alongside the folks at Explore by the Seat of Your Pants to bring more online content to your screen. The Explore by the Seat sessions are streamed live on YouTube through their account, and on Tuesday, April 21, we’ll be participating again to show off some neat fossil specimens and answer a few dinosaur questions.

In these difficult times, we hope that the museum can continue to be of service to you even though we are closed to the public. If you can afford it, consider making a donation to the Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum. You can donate by visiting dinomuseum.ca/support/donate, or in Canada, donations can be sent by electronic transfer to [email protected]

Thank you to everyone who has supported the museum over the years. We look forward to seeing you again when it is safe to do so.

Upcoming Events at the Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum

Due to ongoing physical distancing measures, the Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum is closed to the public until further notice. Our restaurant, Café sur 43, is open for take out orders.

Do not hesitate to follow the museum on our social networks: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Members of the public can participate in all of our social media activities.

Derek Larson is Assistant Curator (Vertebrate Paleontology) at the Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum.


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