The Middle Tennessee Museum of Natural History, a 501c3 nonprofit corporation is planning a new museum in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. There currently is no museum of natural history in the middle Tennessee area. The museum will contain displays from all over the world but they are especially excited to be able to display minerals and fossils from Tennessee. The museum will have a large display (possibly the largest anywhere) of minerals from the world famous Elmwood mine in Carthage, TN. Mineral collectors everywhere know of the mine’s large fluorite and calcite crystals. We have displays from the Gray fossil site in East Tennessee, dinosaur age fossils from the Coon Creek formation of west Tennessee and ice age fossils from middle Tennessee. In the past, ice age skeletons found in Tennessee have ended up in museums in other states.
In 2005 Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) opened the MTSU Mineral Gem and Fossil Museum under the direction of Dr. Albert Ogden. This museum is located in a room in Ezell Hall and this impressive collection of minerals and fossils has gone largely unnoticed. Limited space and hours have reduced the educational value of this collection. The museum is small and school groups have been turned away because of the limited space.
In 2012 a group of museum supporters and volunteers decided to try and secure a new location. It was decided that a new separate nonprofit corporation would be better positioned to find a location that would be big enough to accommodate large school groups and more exhibits. Several individuals, including Lewis Elrod of the Mid Tennessee Gem and Mineral Society have offered to donate or loan their large collections to the museum. Also Mr. Jerry Jacene of Prehistoric Exhibits has agreed to loan multiple casts of dinosaur skeletons to the museum. MTSU has agreed to put the MTSU Mineral Gem and Fossil museum collection on loan to the new Middle Tennessee Museum of Natural History. One of the highlights of the new museum will be a working paleontology laboratory where visitors will see real dinosaur bones being worked on. The museum has a T-rex leg and is working to acquire 2 full T-rex cast skeletons (each nearly 40 feet long) and a 137 foot long seismosaurus cast (one of the biggest dinosaurs that ever lived). With your help there can be a Smithsonian of the south, one of the top natural history museums in the country.
The next planning meeting has been tentatively set for February 13. WGNS will keep you up-to-date.
Museum executive director, Mr. Alan Brown, has taught for 7 years at Middle Tennessee State University. He has been the director of the MTSU mineral, gem and fossil museum for 5 years. For the past 4 summers he has participated in dinosaur excavations at several locations in Montana and next summer he will be teaching a class on dinosaur paleontology for Dawson Community College in Glendive, Montana.