Dinosaur museum honours volunteers

October 27, 2017
At the Volunteer Appreciation Gathering

Susan Hunter, Calla Scott, and Town of Wembley Mayor Chris Turnmire pose at the Volunteer Appreciation Gathering

Volunteers of the Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum gathered on Friday, October 27 to receive recognition for their contributions to the organization.

“Volunteers are an extremely important part of the museum with their time contributing to such things as fossil collection, fossil preparation, education, events, and fundraising,” said the museum’s assistant curator and palaeontologist Derek Larson. “Without volunteers, our impact in the community would not be as great as it is today.”

Over two dozen community members attended the event, which included refreshments, casual social mingling, and short speeches from Larson and Susan Hunter, the museum’s new executive director.

“This museum exists, in large part, due to the contributions of the community and the region,” stated Hunter as she addressed the group. “Each of you belongs to that community of supporters – whether you donated the land, prepared the field for the building that was to come, work on our fossils and exhibits, provide guidance and leadership, or raise or give money to support us,” she added.

The museum, which operates as an independent not-for-profit organization, was initially funded and continues to be supported by the dedication of local volunteers, the County of Grande Prairie, local municipal districts, businesses, and organizations.

“The opportunity to work with fossils and to gain experience working in a museum is what initially drew me to the volunteer program,” said Calla Scott, a volunteer who was in attendance at the event and was recently hired as an intern through a grant from Young Canada Works at Building Careers in Heritage Grants. “I began volunteering with the museum in January of 2017 and continued to volunteer until I was hired on as the technician and collections management intern in mid-October.”

Scott earned an undergraduate degree in anthropology from the University of Victoria and found that the opportunity to work with the museum, whether as a volunteer or now in a paid capacity, has been an excellent beginning in pursuit of her career in the museum sector. “I would have to say that my favourite part of being involved with the museum has been helping to make new displays,” she said. During the field season this past summer, Scott learned that much of her studies in archaeology transferred very well to palaeontology.

“The museum simply wouldn’t exist without its volunteers,” said Brandon Low, the museum’s marketing and communications manager. “We wanted to take time specifically to recognize everyone who has contributed, whether they helped out years ago, or just last month with our gala.”

In the future, the museum plans to host similar gatherings in appreciation of the local community members that have volunteered their time in support of the museum.

Individuals interested in volunteering with the museum are invited to contact visitor services at 587-771-0662 or via email at visitorservices@dinomuseum.ca.

The Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum – a 41,000 square foot world-class facility named for Canada’s preeminent palaeontologist and highlighting the rich fossil resources of Northern Alberta – opened its doors to the public on September 26, 2015. It is Canada’s second devoted dinosaur museum, and is located 19 kilometres west of the City of Grande Prairie in the Town of Wembley.

Media contact:Brandon Low Manager, Marketing & Communications Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum 587-771-0662 ext. 418 brandon@dinomuseum.ca
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