Guest Column: Burpee looks back — and ahead to 2014

By Maureen R. Mall
Executive Director, Burpee Museum of Natural History

Burpee Museum of Natural History is grateful to the community for its support throughout this past year and in years past. Now entering our 72nd year, Burpee continues to expand its programs and offerings to the Rockford community, and beyond.

In the past year, we …

Took Jane, our juvenile T. rex, to Osaka, Japan, for World Dino Exhibition 2013.

Opened two new exhibits: Treasure!, a temporary exhibit in conjunction with the Discovery Center; and Homer’s Odyssey: From the Badlands to Burpee, a permanent exhibit featuring our teen-aged Triceratops.

Offered programs such as our Adult Lecture Series, paleontology field expeditions in Utah and Montana, and adult and family programming associated with our exhibits and collections

Provided youth programs such as Burpee Explorers, summer camps, and Project Clear.

Offered outreach activities at Kishwaukee and King elementary schools, home school and summer school programs, and an open house for Head Start.

Produced PaleoFest 2013, our largest three-day paleontology symposium yet, attracting visitors from all over the world, including Japan, China, Canada and Argentina.

Designed and implemented Virtual Field Trips, an interactive program that goes beyond our museum walls and reaches children in classrooms around the country.

Looking forward, we will …

Feature world-renowned naturalist and floral designer, Rene van Rems, at our fall fund-raiser, “Burpee Museum Presents …”;

Open a new traveling exhibit, Megalodon: Largest Shark That Ever Lived, in February;

Hold our 15th annual PaleoFest in March, again featuring Dr. Scott Sampson from PBS’ popular show, Dinosaur Train;

Welcome warmer weather with our Spring Soiree in April; and

Continue to provide exemplary educational opportunities for people of all ages.

However, none of this is possible without donors like you. Your generosity will make a difference in our community by helping Burpee Museum bring programs and exhibits that encourage everyone to engage in a lifetime of learning about our natural world. Thank you for your continued support!

Burpee Museum of Natural History is at 737 N. Main St., Rockford. Hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m., daily. Admission is $8 adults, $7 kids ages 4-12, and free for ages 3 and younger and museum members. Call (815) 965-3433 or visit

From the Nov. 27-Dec. 3, 2013, issue

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