Sternberg Museum celebrates 10 years in the dome; future events announced

Ten years ago, the Fort Hays State University Sternberg Museum of Natural History packed its bags, kissed McCartney Hall goodbye and moved to its new home in Beach Hall after an eight-year, $11 million dollar fundraising project.

The official celebration of the anniversary will be from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, March 14, complete with cake.

The museum store is also having a push-pull-drag sale in their gift shop. Brad Penka, manager of visitor services and volunteer program coordinator, explains the event.

"Bring in your old T-shirts, and we will give you $3 of store credit toward a new Sternberg T-shirt," he said. "Then we are going to have visitors vote on the ugliest trade-in, and the owner of that shirt will get a gift certificate to the museum gift shop."

The celebration of the move and transformation from a small, campus museum into a scientific hub for the region is a months-long procession of exhibits, events and
presentations, including, from March 13 to June 21, the artist's renderings, models and documents that helped transform the museum into what it is today.

To promote awareness of Kansas' wildlife and recognize wildlife artists, the museum will feature a Kansas wildlife art exhibit, also opening Friday, March 13. The series was started in 1984 as an annual juried art competition and was later opened to artists from across the United States.

Through Sunday, March 29, the museum has its T.rex cetera exhibit. Visitors can come and "T.rex-amine" the skeleton of a T.rex named Stan. Also in the exhibit are many other specimens from the Mesozoic Era that originate from five continents including the velociraptor and its larger cousin, the utahraptor. Armored, horned and duckbilled, these dinosaurs have it all.

The museum's main summer event is called "In Search of Giant Squid." This traveling exhibition from the Smithsonian Institution explores what little is known about these mystifying animals and describes scientists' ongoing efforts to observe them in their undersea environment.

Carcasses of giant squid, the world's largest invertebrate, have been found in fishermen's nets and in the bellies of sperm whales and have washed ashore all over the world. Scientists have learned a few things about their lives and habits, but much remains to learn. This is because no giant squid has ever been seen alive.

The exhibit features a giant squid beak and suckers and will help visitors examine the myths and legends that surround giant squid. The exhibit will give visitors a basis to compare them with other mollusks and to explore what is known about how they hunt, move and defend themselves. Scientists' research to help understand their anatomy, and their behavior is also examined.

As no one on earth has ever seen a living giant squid, neither has anyone seen a living, breathing dinosaur. But on July 4, another major exhibit called "Picturing Prehistory" will use art and drawings to help people envision just such a thing. The exhibit focuses on talented individuals who meld an understanding of paleontological research, environmental interpretation of geological evidence, familiarity with the anatomy of modern animals and pure artistic talent to bring never-seen worlds to life. The exhibit closes Oct. 4.

From Sept. 20, 2009, until May 9, 2010, "Shades of Grey" will be back by popular demand. The exhibit demonstrates the inspiring power of art in advancing environmental education. Award-winning photographer Robert Lindholm paired 60 of his photographic prints with selected writings by famed aviator Charles Lindbergh. The words and images combine to deliver a poetic and compelling conservation message.

From Oct. 17, 2009, to Jan. 24, 2010, cards, letters, drawings and collages sent to the museum by its visitors will be on display. Many of the hundreds of thousands of people who have visited since the opening of the new facility were inspired and shared their inspiration through these correspondences.

The museum also has several ongoing exhibits that are always changing.

"Audubon of Moths" features Dr. John Cody's paintings of the saturniid moths, more commonly known as giant silk moths or emperor moths. He has traveled the world, seeking subjects to paint. The museum proudly presents the world premiere of each new watercolor Cody creates in a special display area.

After an F5 tornado leveled 95 percent of Greensburg, the 1,000-pound meteorite from the Big Well Museum needed a home. It then began a tour of the state as an ambassador of Greensburg while the town rebuilds. Currently, the museum presents this display free of charge and invites visitors to contribute to the recovery efforts.

For more updated information, contact the Sternberg Museum at (785) 628-4286, or visit the Web site at

Back to Index

Office of University Relations   |  600 Park Street   |  Hays, KS  67601-4099
(785) 628-4206   |   Fax (785) 628-4152
Kent Steward, Director   |  |  Kurt Beyers, Assistant Director   |