Rural Missouri - February 2014 - (Page 28)

The Missouri Dinosaur Marble Hill museum offers rare glimpse of only dinosaur to be discovered in the state D by Paul Newton igging inch by inch into the ground of a former family farm in rural southeast Missouri, Guy Darrough and other scientists have been meticulously unearthing a prehistoric creature. An unusual discovery of bone fragments by a Bollinger County family at the farm more than 70 years ago started a process that is now a massive exhibit inside a southeast Missouri museum housed in a former college. When the Chronister family was digging a well at their farm, they discovered large bones in the clay. By chance, "Dinosaur" Dan Stewart, a geologist working for the Missouri Geologic Survey, was doing work nearby. The family showed Stewart the bones they found, and he was surprised at their size. The bones were sent to the Smithsonian Institution to be identified. The family was paid $50 for them. The bones found were that of what is now known as "The Missouri Dinosaur," and a full-sized replica of the creature is the main attraction at the Bollinger County Museum of Natural History in Marble Hill. The Missouri Dinosaur moniker was given as it is the only dinosaur discovered in the Show-Me State, according to Eva Dunn, president of the Bollinger County Museum of Natural History board. It was a surprising find, as dinosaur bones aren't found in the Midwest often. "You have to go about 1,000 miles in any direction to find another dinosaur site," says Eva. The reason bones were found in Glen Allen - a small town four miles away - was due to a shift in the earth long ago, according to Guy, the Across from Dina Mo is an assortmuseum's curator. ment of other sculptures built by Guy, "At some point, there was a fault including a tyrannosaurus that towers system, and the ground dropped or above everything else in the room. opened up into a crevice. The dino"We're kind of known as the saur bones fell into this lower area," dinosaur museum," Eva explains. he explains. "Then, when Missouri was scoured away "It's from this region and is so by glaciers and most important scientifically. The actual bones that are on display, scieneverything was pushed tifically, they're priceless." away, it was protected." While it's important to Excavation has been preserve the dinosaur happening at the site for bones and other rare nearly 25 years. In the late Marble Hill * items behind glass or 1990s, they ran into the ropes, the museum works problem of not having to have less restrictive anywhere to display the areas for other items and dinosaur bones. There also was a push large replicas that can be touched and in the community to preserve the enjoyed by all ages. One room feahistory of the Will Mayfield College. tures a display named the "touch me Though it had ceased operations in table," which features dinosaur skin, 1934, its buildings still stood on top teeth and claws. of a large hill in town. The two came "I really hate to see a child come together, and the museum was born. into a museum and have to be quiet "We actually started out as a comand not touch anything. Children mittee of the Will Mayfield Foundawant to touch or crawl on things and tion," Eva says. "It's been a great partexplore," says Eva. "We try and have nership. We've been able to showcase something around each exhibit that the people history as well as the natuyou can touch. If you can feel a claw ral history." of a dinosaur - even if it's a replica - The museum, which is served that gives it more reality and underby Black River Electric Cooperative, standing. The more things a child can opened on a limited basis in 1998 touch, the more they learn." as a one-room display and has now Making the sculptures lifelike is expanded to multiple floors with the important to Guy, who has built nearlife-sized replica of the The Missouri ly every sculpture in the museum. Dinosaur - formally known as Hyp"I want them to be as accusibema missouriense - on the second rate as possible," says floor a must see. The museum held a statewide contest to give the dinosaur a more personal name, and Dina Mo was selected. Downstairs in the enclosed lab and behind glass in displays are actual dinosaur bones. A replica of The Missouri Dinosaur is the museum's main attraction. WWW.RURALMISSOURI.COOP Guy, who operates Lost World Studio in Cadet and has created sculptures for display around the country. "If someone takes a picture of one of my dinosaurs in a natural setting, and it looks like it would've in real life, that's why I do what I do." While the dinosaurs and other natural-history displays may be one of the largest exhibits, there are plenty of other interesting displays. Downstairs, an old printing press is displayed near cases featuring American Indian history and the Civil War. In a back room is one of Eva's favorites, a collection of 100-year-old toys. "I really enjoy showing them to people," she says of the collection that includes crayons, wooden blocks, homemade clay marbles and metal trains and trucks. "When you're talking about 100-year-old toys, you're not talking about plastic either. They're all wood, ceramic or glass. It's amazing they're still around." Eva says she hopes people in southeast Missouri can make time to learn about the history of the region. "The scientific importance of The Missouri Dinosaur is just not well understood sometimes," she says. "We would love to show them why it's so significant." The Bollinger County Museum of Natural History is open from noon to 4:30 p.m., Thursday through Saturday. Admission is $2 for adults and $1 for children. For more information, you may contact them at www. or 5732381174.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - February 2014

Rural Missouri - February 2014
Ministering to motorists
A mid-winter read
Fighting more than fires
Out of the Way Eats
Metal & music
Honest Abe
Hearth and Home
The Missouri Dinosaur
Around Missouri

Rural Missouri - February 2014