Burpee unveils new exhibits Oct. 13

Burpee Museum of Natural History was started in 1942 by a self-taught naturalist, Milt Mahlburg. Many described the original museum as a small little “cabinet of curiosities.” Today, Burpee Museum is 65 years stronger and celebrating its longevity by opening three new unique museum exhibits.

Saturday, Oct. 13, at 10 a.m., Burpee will unveil:

Dunkleosteus—the demon of the Devonian is a new permanent exhibit featuring a skull cast of a Dunkleosteus. “Dunk” was a giant armored fish that lived during the Devonian Period 360 million years ago. At that time, the oceans covered vast portions of North America. “Dunk” grew to be about 25-30 feet in length, weighed about 3 tons and was an apex predator. Its skull and jaws were made of bony plates, and it had a cartilaginous body. Recent studies show this monster had a bite force of more than 8,000 pounds (4 tons); it could crush or bite off anything that got into its mouth. Stop by and come face to face with this demon from the Devonian.

Watch & Learn activity—Rock Valley Fly Casters will be on site to show a variety of fly-tying techniques and fly-casting demonstrations from noon to 3 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 14.

Native American points exhibit—A special anthropology collection donated by Herb Page. The collection is a Native American collection and consists of arrowheads, points and hand tools—all collected by Herb’s grandfather between the 1800s and 1930s. The collection comes from one location in Litchfield, Ill. What is truly remarkable about the collection is the span of time it includes. Several Clovis points date back 12,000 years, as well as points as young as 400 years old, proving this area was a very popular spot, and generations of Native Americans returned to this spot over 12,000 years.

Watch & Learn activity—Richard Hamilton, local flint knapper, will be “knapping,” making points and arrowheads from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 13.

Natural History Art exhibit—A new temporary Natural History Art exhibit featuring the artwork of Erica Lyn Huppe. Erica is a graduate of the Milwaukee Institute of Art and has award-winning pieces in her portfolio. Her collection will be composed of sketches and paintings. Some standout pieces will include a Jane exhibit portrait, Montana Badlands landscapes, portraits of Burpee’s extinct birds, like the Carolina parakeet, ivory-billed woodpeckers and passenger pigeon.

Meet the Artist session will be offered from noon to 3 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 13. Erica Lyn Huppe will be on hand to answer questions about her work.

Museum originals: Burpee family items & Mahlburg memorabilia—Along with the new exhibit openings, Burpee will dust off some well-known items from its collections—which will be on display in the Mahlburg Room from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, and noon to 3 p.m., Sunday. See the shrunken head, the 14-1/2 foot American crocodile, a variety of large mammals and more!

Museum hours are Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; and Sunday, noon-5 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults and $4 for children ages 3-17. Admission is free for members and every Wednesday for the public. The annual membership fee is $60 for families or grandparents and $50 for an individual. Free parking is available at Burpee Museum, 737 N. Main St., or in Riverfront Museum Park parking lot directly next door at 711 N. Main St. For more info, phone (815) 965-3433 or log on to www.burpee.org.

from the Oct. 10, 2007, issue

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