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Y. science museum expanded, renamed

Published: Friday, Oct. 23 2009 12:00 a.m. MDT

PROVO — Even the dinosaurs have something to celebrate during BYU's Homecoming Week.

The museum formerly known as the Earth Science Museum will celebrate an expanded building and new name, the Museum of Paleontology, with a reopening celebration including tours, games and prizes from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday before the football game.

"(The name) earth science … doesn't really mean anything," said museum curator and manager Rod Scheetz. "But you ask any kid, ask any 6-year-old what paleontology is, and they know. Parents might not know, but kids know. We want to be identifiable to the general public and to the average … 6-year-old."

The museum, founded in 1976, was recently expanded to allow for a 5,000-square-foot storage library of bones and fossils, including the largest collection of upper-Jurassic period dinosaur fossils in North America, Scheetz said.

The fossils were previously stored under LaVell Edwards Stadium because there was no room for them in the museum.

Scheetz said the bones and fossils will be rotated through the exhibit space. One of the first specimens will be a replica of the museum's 9-foot-long triceratops skull found in Montana. The newest dinosaur bones to be shown off were found this summer near Moab, Scheetz said.

After the grand reopening, the Museum of Paleontology will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday with "Family Night" hours on Monday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Admission is free. Special tours can be arranged by calling Scheetz at 801-422-3680.

— Sara Israelsen-Hartley

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