Paleontology Museum welcomes all to visit

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Growing up, Austin Andrus always had a love for dinosaurs. However, he did not expect to have the opportunity to work with them. Andrus was asked to work as a laboratory preparator at Brigham Young University’s Paleontology Museum and has loved it ever since.

“Every little boy loves dinosaurs, I just never grew out of it,” Andrus said.

Andrus and the other students that work at the museum are all given projects to work on, and some also give tours of the museum. The museum is extending its hours on Monday nights from 6 p.m.- 9 p.m., giving students the opportunity to schedule tours for after-hours as FHE activities. Currently the museum attracts more than 25,000 visitors a year, and by extending it’s hours, it allows more students the opportunity to visit.

The museum is known world-wide for its research and discoveries because of Utah’s prime location for geology study.

“Utah’s kind of a big name in geology and paleontology,” Andrus said. “You can study glaciers, volcanic, ocean, lakes, geysers, caves, faults and folds, earthquakes, biggest sand sea and national parks (here).”

Andrus as a laboratory preparator is examining the bones of a rare animal called a Drepanosaur. photo by: Jin Bateman

Tripadvisor rated BYU’s Paleontology Museum as a top attraction in Provo. The Museum is also rated one of the top five collections in the world for Jurassic period fossils.

Despite the museum’s accomplishments, it is  not particularly well-known amongst students due to its location and outward appearance. It is at the north end of campus, southwest of the football stadium.

Kendal Babbit, junior from Morgan studying journalism has visited the museum twice since being at BYU but plans on visiting it more with friends because she believes its not only a great date idea but also due to her interest in history.

“It makes you realize there is so much history here,” said Babbit. ” It’s not a big museum by any means, but its pretty cool.”

The students who work in the museum all have one thing in common, their love for geology.

Britta Grubham, a junior from St. Maries, Idaho studying geology, was first introduced to the Paleontology Museum her first week at BYU during freshman orientation week. She decided to go on a geology department tour by professor Brooks Britt. Britta was one of two students on the tour and the professor told them that there was an opening at the Paleontology Museum, if anyone was interested. Britta jumped on the opportunity and continues to work there.

“Some people say the museum is BYU’s best kept secret on campus,” Britta said. “Now with it’s extended hours people have a chance to come (see it for themselves).”

Andrus enjoys giving tours to kids because he does so by recreating a story for them about the dinosaurs. Andrus shares his passion of dinosaurs with the children by encouraging them to participate in interpretive dancing around the museum to the beat of bongo drums.

“They learn what the animal is and what it does by moving through it,” Andrus said. “It’s fun because they feel the same way I feel (about dinosaurs).”

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