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Homemade Dinosaur “Museum”

"Dinosaur Museum" display board

Most of us never think about creating our own museum displays. At least I didn’t until fairly recently.  That changed last summer when I was allowed to keep a number of small dinosaur bone fragments I collected at a creation science dinosaur dig1.  (Note, I was only given permission to keep these fragments because they were “not of scientific interest”. The valuable bones went to the lab of course.2)

While dinosaur bones are great for a project like this, any fossil will work.  Fossilized shells, leaves, coal, crinoids or any other fossil found in your area (or easily purchased) could be used to make a similar display. Just because a fossil is common doesn’t make it any less interesting!

Here’s some photos of the finished product.

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I wanted it to look like a “bulletin board,” but it’s not. The cork is real, but super thin. I cut the heads off the “pins” and glued them to the cork to give it the “look”.  The papers and fossil samples are attached by hot glue.  (Not pictured here–I made a couple very small displays as gifts for my family using felt as a background. That works really well too.)

Typically museums focus on exciting things. But often the details–like the dirt–can be very interesting!

The great thing about creating your own museum is you get to set the rules. How many people have ever touched a dinosaur fossil?

Even small fragments can tell big stories. That circle (illustrating rib size) is about 2″ across.  Most of the ribs were broken before burial. I’ve excavated two rib fragments–one was about 18″ long and the other less than a foot long. Imagine a wall of water/mud hitting the carcass of these animals with enough force to shatter rib cages protected by these massive bones. . . The devastation of what happened during the flood is almost beyond comprehension.

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Tendons are often beautifully shaped and even though they are a dark brown in color they have an almost a shiny luster. (The photo doesn’t do them justice)

Some more detailed information for the older/more interested observer.

After having people ask me if I’d seen evidence of “the asteroid” I had to include the more realistic explanation that’s more compatible with the actual evidence3. Evidence that fits perfectly with the global world wide flood described in Genesis! I would have liked to have gotten into the flood history at more depth, but since this is displayed in a secular setting I decided not to be overtly creationist. Perhaps that was a mistake, but this project still led to some interesting conversations about the flood.

Perhaps this will inspire you to create your own displays! Wouldn’t it be wonderful if fossil displays telling the history of the flood were on display in church youth rooms and Christian schools all around the world?

  1. For more information about the dig and how to be a participant see:  http://dinosaurproject.swau.edu/
  2. Pictures and scans of the fossils that are of scientific interest are posted online!  https://fossil.swau.edu/
    (Example: Here is a slightly blurry photo of me holding a Nanotyrannus tooth. Note the wear on the end!  https://fossil.swau.edu/?service=/modules/system/img/getFile&file=/specimen/HRS27996/images/l/hrs27996.jpg&unique=1554088259968)
  3. The information presented here is based on what I absorbed during the dig. I believe it to be essentially true, but it’s an amateur interpretation that reflects only my limited understanding.

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Written by Jeff Staddon

Academically I hold a master's degree in software engineering with an undergraduate degree in history. I make my living as a software developer.

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