The museum exhibit experience transports the visitor to the Pipestone Creek bone-bed, devastation of the flood-plain, through to cretaceous and Devonian periods on to today’s oil-exploration in Alberta.
Museum collections include marine fossils, specimens, casts, murals, articulated re-constructions, core samples and artifacts. They will be augmented by additional resources from the collections of the University of Alberta, Royal Tyrrell Museum and the Royal Ontario Museum. Private collectors like the late Mr. Roy Bickell have extended several thousand objects adding significantly to collections for research, class room teaching, education outreach programs and display, both inside the museum as well as for the exterior discovery fossil walk-ways girding the museum.
Devastation on the Floodplain
Devastation on the floodplain This recreation of the Pipestone Creek Bonebed, one of the densest accumulations of dinosaur bones in the world, transports visitors back to a moment in time just after the remains of hundreds of horned dinosaurs had been washed onto a floodplain. Scavengers of all shapes and sizes roam on top of the bones, searching for whatever morsels they can find.
Seas of Life
Did you know that during much of the ancient past, Alberta was submerged beneath the seas? Hard to believe now but during the Devonian – about 360 million years ago – the province was located near the equator, and extensive reefs covered much of the seabed. It is these reefs, and the microorganisms living in the waters above them, that led to much of the oil and gas deposits that make Alberta such a fossil-fuel rich province today.
Dig Deeper into Science
The science of palaeontology starts with finding and excavating fossils, but this is only the beginning. Palaeontologists are constantly adapting new techniques to study ancient life, including the use of 3D scanning and printing, microscopy, and isotopic analysis. The area is designed to be hands on, with activities to appeal to a wide array of learning styles.
Our Shared Resources
Geology and palaeontology have played enormous roles in the modern economy of Alberta, guiding oil and gas exploration. Exploring and extracting fossil fuels is both an art and science. Despite their economic importance, many people have little understanding of how oil goes from deposits in the ground to gasoline in their car. This gallery is designed to help visitors understand technology and processes associated with oil and gas extraction and refining.
Age of Dinosaurs
The main gallery of the museum is focused on two exciting topics: new discoveries from Alberta and the diversity of life in the Wapiti Formation ecosystem. The museum will have on display five newly named dinosaurs from Alberta that have never been displayed as reconstructions anywhere else in the world. Using these new discoveries and our understanding of the botany, geology, climate and geography of the Grande Prairie region during the Cretaceous, visitors are guided through the process of reconstructing the ancient environment of the dinosaurs, to show the decades of work that go into understanding the make-up of extinct ecosystems.
The museum has a temporary exhibit gallery that will host 3-4 traveling exhibits each year. With plans of receiving and creating in-house capability to generate topical traveling exhibits, the museum intends to expand its reach and presence for regional, national and international audiences.