Fort Hays State University offers a place for students to gain their secondary education. As part of the university is the Sternberg Museum of Natural History. The university and museum is located in Hays, Kansas. According to the university the natural history museum is rated among the best history museum in the United States. No other state university has a museum like it. The Sternberg Museum of Natural History functions as a public education resource as well as helping educate individuals on the Great Plains. The museum works towards conservation of the region.
Visiting the museum can be done on Sundays from 1pm to 7pm and Tuesday through Saturday from 9am to 7pm. Admission is $8 for adults 13 to 59, $6 for seniors, and $5 for ages four to twelve. Student rates are offered with photo identification. The Sternberg Museum can be accessed from I70 and Hwy 183.
There are two kinds of exhibits at the natural history museum. There are permanent exhibits and temporary displays, which allow visitors to see something new each time they visit. Kansas was under water during the time of the dinosaurs. The exhibits at the museum take visitors along the journey of animals that lived and died in Kansas. Rare fossils are on display. Visitors can even watch fossil preparation to learn how they are preserved, as well as what research is being conducted.
To date the Sternberg Museum has more than 3 million specimens which are housed in collections and used for research. Since the temporary exhibits can be changed out a few of the current options will be mentioned. From September 20th 2009 to May 9th 2010 is the Shades of Gray exhibit. This exhibition will demonstrate the power of art in environmental education. Photographer Robert Lindholm's work will be on display and writings from Charles Lindbergh.
Prior to this exhibit is the Picturing Prehistory Display. The exhibit began on July 4th 2009 and will end on October 4th 2009. The exhibit shows art from paleoartists who have dreamed up what prehistoric dinosaurs might have looked like. These individuals have used paleontological research, geological evidence, and environmental interpretations to come up with the images.
Much of the Sternberg Natural History Museum is based on dinosaur research. The first exhibit depicts a T-Rex during the Cretaceous period. Visitors can walk through the life sized dioramas and imagine what it could have been like in the western United States during that time. The tour takes visitors onto the Late Cretaceous period when the earth began to change, and other dinosaurs roamed the earth.
For those who want to know what Kansas was like 84 million years ago, the museum will help answer those questions. Giant sea creatures that swam in the warm tropical waters are on display. One exhibit depicts the muddy bottom of the sea which has now turned to rock. A demonstration laboratory with students and volunteers shows visitors the different research projects. Lastly, the discovery room allows hands- on learning.