“There are dinosaur bones in Cookeville, and I'm getting to work with them!”
Tennessee Tech University zoology student Kyla Anderson summed up her amazement with the opportunity she and TTU students have begun at the soon-to-open Highlands Prehistoric Museum. More than a half-dozen TTU undergraduate students say they never envisioned working with real dinosaur bones in their own backyard.
But they and dozens of other university students, including TTU art and drama majors, will be big reasons the museum can offer a glimpse of prehistoric life and the processes it takes to find, prepare and showcase dinosaur bones.
But for TTU students, the opportunities are just unfolding. Geology, wildlife and zoology majors are learning to prepare fossils, mold, cast and construction dioramas. These students work daily on an 11 by 8 feet slab from Montana’s Two Medicine Formation that holds numerous bones. The slab, affectionately called “BOB,” for bunch of bones, is encased in a field jacket, a plaster casting made in the field to hold soil and remains for transportation.
About 15 TTU art students will soon begin filling museum walls with murals. Jacene is offering the walls as canvases to the class each semester. TTU drama students will also be invited each semester to perform skits for children at the dino theater area within the museum.