Thursday, December 16, 2010

[245] MTSU Museum Makes 'Monstrous' Acquisition This Week

Dec. 16, 2010
Contact: Tom Tozer, 615-898-2919


MURFREESBORO—Did you know that Middle Tennessee State University has a Mineral, Gem and Fossil Museum on campus? Did you know that the museum is celebrating its 5th anniversary? And did you know the museum has a new mascot … well, really a monstrous new teaching aide?
It’s called an allosaurus, a dinosaur that lived 155 to 145 million years ago during the late Jurassic period. The model stands six feet tall and is 10 feet long. In the prehistoric world, the allosaurus was a large bipedal predator with a large skull and dozens of sharp teeth. It averaged 28 feet in length, but some reached nearly 40 feet.
Dr. Albert Ogden, professor of geosciences and curator of the museum, recently purchased the allosaurus to use as a teaching tool for MTSU students and visiting school groups. Ogden says that hundreds of elementary- and middle-school classes tour the museum every year, and recently the facility surpassed the mark of 9,500 visitors. The facility also has served as a valuable resource for Boy Scouts working to earn their merit badge in geology, he said.
“When Albert started the museum, he had some spectacular mineral displays, and I’m more of a fossil guy,” said Alan Brown, geosciences instructor and museum director. “I’ve been trying to add more fossils. We have some dinosaur eggs, some real dinosaur bones, and just recently we added a cast of a woolly rhino skull.”
Brown said a dinosaur dig in which he participated this past summer unearthed more bones. He is prepping them and will eventually add them to the museum collection.
“The sky’s the limit,” Brown added. “We have the potential to add much more—we’re just running out of room.”
Established in 2005, the museum serves as an experiential lab for earth science classes and a learning center for the general public. It has two main exhibit rooms and a smaller black-light room that displays fluorescent minerals. Samples come from every state in the union and from more than 50 countries around the world.
The museum is located in Room 122 of Ezell Hall, which is located in the southeast corner of the MTSU campus. It is open on Saturday from 1 to 5 p.m., and free visits can be arranged during the week by calling 615-898-5075 or e-mailing For more information, go to


Founded in 1911, Middle Tennessee State University is a Tennessee Board of Regents institution located in Murfreesboro and is the state’s largest public undergraduate institution. MTSU now boasts one of the nation’s first master’s degree programs in horse science, and the Council of Graduate Schools in Washington, D.C., acclaims MTSU’s Master of Science in Professional Science degree—the only one in Tennessee—as a model program. MTSU recently unveiled three new doctoral degrees in the sciences.

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