3.5 Billion (and 2) Years in the Making

Disclaimer #1: This post is primarily shameless bragging.

But, as Lesley Gore would have said if she blogged about museums while eating German chocolate in her pajamas, “It’s my website and I’ll brag if I want to.”

Disclaimer #2: The awesome exhibit I’m about to show off was a collaborative effort. I was the primary developer, but after I left the museum my colleagues took what only existed on paper and in storage and figured out how to bring it to life. They did an amazing job.

(But it will always be my baby)

Meet “The Fossil Wall.” Isn’t it beautiful?



This exhibit, along with the other biology-focused spaces of the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery, was one of my primary responsibilities as the museum’s Curator of Interpretation. I spent two years researching stories, amassing specimens, cold-calling museums and universities, and sweet-talking every paleontologist west of the Mississippi. The end product tells Fort Collins’ paleontology story, covering everything from stromatolites to sea monsters.

My favorite parts:

The Plesiosaur 

So long and sexy it can’t even fit into one photograph!


Here it is again. And, yes, that is a stagecoach in the background behind it.


Gorgeous Touchable Fossils


I lobbied to find a way to let visitors lick fossils as well as touch them (have you tried it? Not many professions let you tongue your subject matter). Maybe next exhibit…



I love the simple silhouettes filling in the gaps the fossilization leaves behind. The minimal design of Allosaur vertebrae and Ammonite tentacles keeps the focus on the specimens while completing the rest of the story.

The Labels I Wrote

I saved the best for last. It’s probably unhealthy for me to love these labels as much as I do.

This is the best thing I’ve ever written.











I moved to Europe before the museum was completed, and I never got to see any of the exhibits I worked on until last month. And I think a lot of you will understand what it meant to me to finally see them. I cried when I got to “The Fossil Wall,” and definitely unnerved a docent who hadn’t been trained in how to handle visitors moved to tears by mammoth tusks.

When I visited, a colleague told me that my fingerprints were “all over the museum.” How lucky was I to get to touch all of that?



P.S. Apparently this is my 100th post. Go me!

2 thoughts on “3.5 Billion (and 2) Years in the Making

  1. Pingback: When Dioramas Explode – The National Museum of Scotland | Museums Askew

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