THE DUNN-SEILER MUSEUM’S GEOTREASURES WITH IMPACT: THE POTENTIAL OF SMALL GEOLOGY MUSEUMS TO PROMOTE PUBLIC GEOLITERACY
To improve public understanding of the Geosciences, the DSM implemented two outreach competitions for Mississippi’s K-12 students beginning in 2010. The DSM became a partner in National Fossil Day, and sponsors an annual art and story contest about extinct life forms. A hadrosaur was used as the competition’s theme in 2012, since the DSM’s dinosaur bones that were on loan to another research facility were returned to the museum and publically displayed. Subsequent competitions have focused on the current National Fossil Day logo (e.g., mosasaur, mammoth, and Paleozoic life for 2013). A similar K-12 competition and outreach event was developed for the DSM in conjunction with Earth Day. Using a sustainability theme, the contest encourages students to find a creative use for an item that would otherwise be thrown away. Past competitions incorporated plastic water bottles, bottle caps, and telephone books. While small in size, the DSM effectively promotes public geoliteracy by effectively addressing the Big Ideas of the Earth Science Literacy Principles (2010) through displays and outreach activities.