Our goal as we put miles on Highway 2 toward Seattle was Phillips County, Montana, two stops, both small towns. First Saco where Chet Huntly was born and raised.
one room school house he attended held ten students. I liked the way
the teacher could just stand by the door and raise and lower the flag
preserved a one room jail and a small church. The stop takes about ten
minutes. The site is unattended and the classroom is behind a floor to
ceiling chain link fence.
of various students and teachers are safely tucked behind glass, as
they honor their favorite son. Saco is tiny, population about 200.
major goal was Malta, a small town of 2,000 with side by side museums
of major importance. The Great Plains Dinosaur Museum, and across the
parking lot from it, Phillips County Museum, honoring pioneers from this
neck of the woods. I chose the Dinosaur Museum and Jim opted for the
the old days, archeologists went out with horses and a buckboard to
gather fossils. In fact, fossils from Montana were all over the United
States in Museums, but none were housed in Montana.
hunters using tried and true methods, dug up bones, used a varnish on
them to help preserve them, then encased them in plaster to protect
their fragility. The bones were then delivered to museums or labs for
is one of the richest dinosaur repositories from the cretaceous period
in the U.S. Looking at the map, the green areas are where to find
fossils. Farmers and Ranchers would routinely find bits of bones in the
soil but no one was doing anything about it until a group of
archeologists founded a volunteer organization that secured a grant to
begin the Great Plains Museum. They finally moved into this state funded
building in 2002. Small, but expected to expand, it holds fossils from
Phillips County and a working field station for their work.
The way things are done today, when the site is identified, the major dirt is removed from on top by machine.
The same type of work takes place, with dental picks, brushes, and small hand tools until the bones begin to appear.
This dinosaur was on a steep hillside and couldn't be platformed.
Platforming gives the workers a "table" to work around and makes removal easier.
this is the result. Julie, a beautiful and complete raptor. Names are
often chosen from the landowners family, or from the archeologists name.
An Austrailian team discovered this fossil and wanted to name it Julie
after a member of their family. The land owner had a daughter named
Julie, so it was a perfect name.
all finds are as complete as Julie, but now major finds are kept in the
county. They allow them to travel to other exhibits and they are open
to scientists for study.
is a picture of Sue Frary the curator and lead archeologist at the
Museum. She does field work and study here. Very friendly, enthusiastic
and informative, the museum encourages people to take vacations here,
join a field exploration and maybe even bring home some fossils.
The Koss family did just that and 4 year old Kennedy Koss made a major discovery.
find above, discovered in 2008 and named the Kennedy Koss Horn. It is a
triceratops horn with a bite mark on it. Sue told me another 4 year old
found a dinosaur tooth.
another child found the Giffen Stegosaurus "spike" or plate, as shown
in the figure above. Giffen is the only Jurassic dinosaur discovered so
far in the area.
is Leo a young male dinosaur. He is one of the few dinosaurs with
mummified skin. He shows tendons and features usually not present on old
bones. He travels all over the world and brings in money to help
support the museum.
An example of dinosaur skin.
And this is Roberta. She still sits in her plaster bed. She died from a bite that got infected.
this close up of her head, the second pendula from the left is a
fracture that tried to heal. Above the fracture are two darkish holes
where infection set in and most likely caused her death.
is a close up of the two bone parts of the face. On the right the open
fracture and above it the infected holes. Somehow, other dinosaur
museums didn't interest me as much as this one. Some how, gawking and
oohing and awing over the immensity of the creatures wasn't as personal
as this small museum.
What Julie looks like when fleshed out.
Prehistoric fish bones.
A plant dinosaur specimen. A type of redwood tree that apparently grew all over Montana.
is a lot to see here and I really enjoyed this place. Do go. You'll
learn a lot in a very interesting fashion with an interesting curator.
Better yet, send your grandkids on a field trip. And, last, I chose to
wear orange on Sunday.
is a bold color, and the No Kid Hungry campaign has an equally bold
solution for ending childhood hunger in America. This September, join
Share Our Strength's No Kid Hungry campaign to raise awareness that 1 in
5 children in America face hunger. It's a problem we can solve, and
it's time to get involved. Add your support to the No Kid Hungry
campaign, and together let's end childhood hunger in America.