The Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum is an international institution for experiential learning dedicated to Alberta’s palaeontological heritage, through research, collection, preservation, exhibition, public programming, publications and innovative outreach.
CANADA’S NEWEST MUSEUM
Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum is a world-class facility in the heart of the Peace Country on a 10 acre complex. Designed by Toronto-based Teeple Architects, Arndt Tkalcic Bengert (ATB) and Structural Engineers Fast & Epp, it has been featured in several architectural/design publications including AZURE, NUVO and MUSE magazines.The museum features extensive gallery spaces angled onto a unique set of beetle pine timber 7-beam nodal trusses, two classrooms, the 60-seat Aykroyd Family Theater, research and collections areas, the Dine-O-Saur restaurant, the Kaleidosaur gift shop, an outdoor discovery fossil walk and large outdoor playground. Triple glazed zinc roof creates an exceptionally energy-efficient and sustainable building envelope, to handle temperature extremes in the Grande Prairie. The efficiency of this design allows the entire building to be heated and cooled by a displacement ventilation system, located under the concrete floor of the museum.The design draws on an abstraction of the palaeontological excavation experience with two massive retaining walls of poured concrete and gabions pushing back the earth to reveal the main gallery wall.
Named after Canada’s leading Palaeontologist Dr. Philip Currie — one of the foremost professional voices around the globe – the new museum honours his lifelong commitment to the discovery and study of palaeo-heritage. However, the story begins when a young school teacher by the name of Al Lakusta stumbled upon something exciting while out on a nature walk one day at Pipestone Creek. His findings that day in 1974 would eventually be identified as bones of a yet to be discovered species Pachyrhinosaurus – a type of horned dinosaur, which subsequently was re-christened Pachyrhinosaurus lakustai after Lakusta.In the meantime, palaeontologists from the Royal Tyrrell Museum, including Dr. Currie, had started travelling to the area to excavate these intriguing fossils. They examined the area identified by Lakusta and soon realized that there were thousands of bones in an area as large as several football fields; in fact, this bone bed was a mass grave where hundreds of dinosaurs of all ages died, creating one of the densest sites in the world.Following this initial discovery, other finds in the area include hadrosaurs (duck billed dinosaurs), tyrannosaurs (predatory dinosaurs), nodosaurs (armoured dinosaurs), plesiosaurs (marine reptiles) and pterosaurs (flying reptiles), to name a few.