Paper No. 8
Presentation Time: 10:40 AM
CONSTRUCTION OF A SCIENCE CURRICULUM FOR THE NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM
The Natural History Museum and Gray Fossil Site provide exceptional opportunities for research and education for all age groups. The museum, located off I-26 between Johnson City and Kingsport, TN, opened August 31, 2007, and in the first four months hosted ~40,000 visitors. Scientists have discovered an entire ecosystem that existed on the site 4 to 7 million years ago, during the Miocene. The fossil remains of the Gray site have been uniquely preserved by the rich organic matter that filled a sinkhole which served as a watering hole attracting a variety of organisms. The site is nearly five acres in size and 100 feet deep. Tapirs, rhinos, saber-toothed cat, shovel-tusk elephants, and alligators are among the large animals discovered and exhibited in the museum. Oak, hickory, and pine were the dominant plants. The museum offers tours, permanent and traveling exhibits, outreach programs, resources for teachers, and other educational programs. A science curriculum correlated with the standards of learning in Tennessee, North Carolina, and Virginia, is being constructed. Traveling exhibits, such as Suethe largest T. rex ever found, on loan from the Field Museum of Chicago, have been very successful. Student group field trip tours are scheduled on the calendar for almost every school day. Grants, such as the Target Field Trip Scholarship program have made it possible for students to visit this very unique learning, research and collection site. Students and volunteers participate in the educational and research programs. See the website for more details: www.grayfossilmuseum.com.