Friday, January 07, 2011

How Cool is This?

Or "are these," I suppose, to be more accurate.

The first is something I'd heard about last spring (or thereabouts) involving the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. Now, as a kid, Science and Industry was my favorite of the Chicago museums (I especially liked the trains and the U-505), although it was a knock against them that they didn't have dinosaurs :-).

But. Last year, they did this totally awesome thing: they held a contest to choose a person who would live at the museum for a month. October 20 to November 20. So, when I heard about it, I was sorely tempted. Sigh. Day job. But, Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, anyone?

Here's the blog of the chosen one:

The second really totally cool thing is the Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology. Now, apart from the fact that it's a paleontology museum, what's so cool about it?

Here's the thing: It's in a high school. Really.

And it's accredited by the American Association of Museums and has real paleontologists on staff. (Okay, I confess to feeling a special affinity because it's located in Claremont, California, where my grandparents lived after they retired. And that a recent paper by the museum curator of paleontology was extremely helpful on my novel research. And that the place seems almost extreme enough to belong at the Peshtigo School.). But there's also the fact that, ninety (90) percent of their holdings were found by -- get this -- students at the associated Webb School.

And, if you're a teacher in the LA area, they're having free "Paleontology for Educators" workshops this winter. Here's the info I received:

"The Paleontology for Educators Workshop is a two-day workshop providing K-12 teachers with a hands-on introduction to paleontology, the study of past life. Each session includes a short course on paleontology,
evolution, and earth science, with the aim of illustrating how to
present this material in an interactive way to students.

"Each participant will gain experience in paleontological museum methods, within the setting of an accredited museum. A “Paleontology in the Classroom” book of activities and teaching kit will be given to each participant and made available online. The museum will also make available “classroom kits” for check-out, including real and replica fossils for use in activities in the classroom.

"The workshop is hosted at the Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology (, located 30 miles east of Los Angeles in Claremont, in the only accredited natural history museum on a secondary school campus. There is *no cost* to attend this workshop (including all materials, lunch, and snacks), and funding is provided to reimburse school districts for the cost of hiring substitute teachers for workshop participants.

"Workshop dates include: Thurs.-Fri., Jan. 13-14, 2011; Thurs.-Fri., Feb. 3-4, 2011; Mon.-Tues., Mar. 14-15, 2011; and Thurs.-Fri., Apr. 14-15, 2011. For registration information or other questions, please contact museum curator Andy Farke (afarke AT"

Caveat: I don't know anyone who's done this, but, heck, I'd look into it. :-).

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