Kids Take Over at the Museum

Summer Camp! Two words that bring back memories for many of us. This summer, the Museums of Western Colorado teamed up with a number of great organizations to bring summer camp to some special kids from around the Valley. As the final part of the BLM grant that brought you our amazing new websites (http://westerncoheritagejr.org/ and http://www.westerncoloradoheritage.org/), we hosted free Explore-It Summer Camps for Riverside Educational Center, Girl Scouts, and Mesa County Partners.

With the help of our partner organizations, we got these kiddos out to each of our three museum sites, took trips to Mica Mine, the FPA, and Dino Hill, all over the course of a fun-filled, three-day camp for each organization. Our partners were excited, we were excited, and we reached kids that might not have access to these types of excursions on their own. It’s a win-win for all!

We also teamed up with the Colorado Canyons Association this year to hold our very first Middle School Paleontological Field Camp. We took 7 amazing kids on a two-day paleontological adventure to Dinosaur Journey and the Mygatt-Moore Quarry. The kids got a behind the scenes look at what it takes to become a paleontologist.

On day one at Dinosaur Journey, they checked out our new digitization lab, made their own fossil casts, got exclusive tours of the dino prep lab, and a tour of the museum by Colorado Canyons’ Rob Gay, an education paleontologist. On day two, things got real exciting. In the 37 years the Mygatt-Moore Quarry has been in operation, this is the first group of kids to have it all to themselves. They did it all. They set up the shade tents, removed the fill, chose their tools, and got dirty excavating. We were fortunate to even have discovered two new bones! The kids had a blast and all want to come back next year for round two. I think we’ve inspired some new paleontologists! If you have a middle schooler interested in joining us next year for this one-of-a-kind experience, contact us and we’ll get you on the list! Check out the Colorado Canyons video of our quarry day here.

While these camps have been amazing, we would like to offer more. We would like to reestablish and improve our public camps program. Currently, our education department is relying on these incredible partnerships to provide programming such as these camps. We can’t do it on our own. We don’t have the resources to host the camps we used to. We are doing our best with what we have, but we could do so much more for this community given the opportunity. We need your help. Our funding is not what it used to be and while we are doing some amazing things, we need a well-rounded and fully funded program, not only for the kids but for community programing as well.