DINOSAUR | In July of 2020, more than 6,000 paleontological, archaeological, historical, and biological specimens were moved from Dinosaur National Monument to the Utah Field House of Natural History State Park Museum, located in nearby Vernal, Utah. Fourteen monument staff members, three Geoscientist in the Parks interns, five volunteers, and four Utah State employees participated in this interagency project. Many long-term benefits were immediately realized as every object was inventoried, cleaned, and, if necessary, stabilized.
The move represents an important chapter in the history of the Dinosaur National Monument collections. Dinosaur’s collections were established as early as 1953, before there were facilities in the monument to store them. The original Quarry Visitor Center, completed in 1958 to house the historic Carnegie Quarry, also became home to the official museum collections. When that building was condemned in 2006 and remodeled with a smaller footprint as the new Quarry Exhibit Hall in 2011, there was no longer space in the monument to properly accommodate the entire collection in one location. Since 2006, the collections have been stored in multiple temporary locations around the monument.
The facilities at the Utah Field House were constructed in 2012 to provide stable, secure, and long-term care and organization of museum objects. The coordination and collaboration between staff members at Dinosaur National Monument and the Utah Field House made the move of collections safe and effective, while working to keep specimens of importance housed locally.
National Park Service project funds were awarded to purchase new storage cabinets and shelving which both increased storage capacity, object stability, and assisted with increased security, as well as to assist in the moving and rehousing of the objects. In their new temporary home, the monument collections serve as an additional resource of interest for the City of Vernal and Uintah County with enhanced accessibility to researchers and the option for organized tours to the public.
For more information about Dinosaur National Monument, please call 435-781-7700 or visit www.nps.gov/dino . You may also follow @dinosaurnps on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
Special to The Herald Times