YOU’LL DIG THESE DINOS
Ever wondered if you could have outrun a juvenile Tyrannosaurus Rex hunting for dinner? (Spoiler alert: you wouldn’t have stood a chance!) Or maybe you’d just like to count the teeth in a Phytosaur skull. No matter your particular dinosaur musings, the Quinte Museum of Natural History (QMNH) has got you covered.
Perhaps you’re curious about how this family-friendly attraction involving casts of multiple dinosaur fossils ended up in the Bay of Quinte area in the first place. For that answer, simply take a look around the neighbourhood. A short stroll away, world-class Research Casting International (RCI) deals with incredible fossils every day!
BRINGING NATURAL HISTORY TO THE REGION
Led by museum technical services expert and founder Peter May, the staff at RCI’s 48,000-square-foot facility regularly provides assistance to galleries, theme parks and various other institutions around the world, including specimen restoration, casting, mounting, exhibit fabrication, and transportation. After setting up state-of-the-art displays from Toronto to Tokyo, establishing a similar showcase for natural history in the Quinte area must seem like the next logical step.
“Peter’s been dreaming for a long time about opening up a museum like this,” says RCI staffer Amber Favreau who sometimes works QMNH reception, noting the non-profit strives to keep admission accessible: $6 for anyone four and up, while the youngest natural historians get in free.
“Community support has been terrific,” observes Deanna Way, QMNH Executive Director, adding anyone passionate about palaeontology can contribute by visiting, donating or putting in their names to volunteer.
QMNH team members include May and Royal Ontario Museum palaeontologist David Evans, as well as a broad array of local groups, from the Bay of Quinte Regional Marketing Board to the Quinte West Chamber of Commerce. At the grassroots level, enthusiastic volunteers provide museum visitors with guidance and a slew of pertinent natural history facts.
Like well-known natural history museums in big urban centres such as Ottawa or Toronto, QMNH aims to help visitors journey deep into the past. Future plans include a move to the much larger space at RCI, where visitors can see dinosaurs and other fossils on display, while also viewing how the displays are built – a unique behind-the-scenes glimpse into the entire process.
“The ultimate goal is to create a world-class museum facility that will feature public and educational programs that focus on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics) learning opportunities,” says Way. “There will also be a focus on families and child-oriented opportunities, including an outdoor playground and children’s discovery centre.”
Meanwhile, keeping exhibits fresh remains a guiding rule of thumb. Current displays on carnivorous, armoured, horned and long-necked dinosaurs remain in place until the end of 2022, with a brand new show slated for March 2023. Hinting at bigger things to come, Way reports exhibits further down the road will cover the five main extinction periods, plus touch on the natural history of Quinte itself.
“Natural history isn’t just about dinosaurs,” she chuckles, although those well-loved prehistoric giants remain crowd-pleasers for all, touring groups of school kids and adults alike.
LAST CALL FOR DINOSAURS
“Visit the QMNH before December 31 for Exploration Exhibits to have your chance to see the dinosaurs before they’re gone. Book your tickets online at quintemuseum.org.