National tour of T.rex named 'Sue' will visit Sternberg in Hays; workshop will equip teachers with lesson plans for visits

HUTCHINSON, KS -- A workshop will be conducted on Monday, Oct. 30, in Hutchinson for the visit of "A T.rex Named Sue" to Fort Hays State University's Sternberg Museum of Natural History in the spring of 2001.

The workshop, offered through Education Services and Staff Development Association of Central Kansas (ESSDACK) #622, is one in a series of workshops being conducted across the state.

The world's most expensive dinosaur, named "Sue" for Sue Hendrickson, the woman who found her, will make a rare visit to the Sternberg Museum. Sue is the 67-million-year-old fossil of a Tyrannosaurus rex that brought $8.36 million at public auction in 1997 at Sotheby's in New York City.

"This will be another first for the Sternberg Museum," said Dr. Edward H. Hammond, FHSU president. "Sue is the most complete T.rex specimen ever discovered, and her appearance in Hays will be the first in the nation's heartland."

Sue is owned by a consortium that includes The Field Museum in Chicago, McDonald's Corporation and the Walt Disney Company. Because this is such a special exhibit, FHSU, the Sternberg Museum and McDonalds teamed up to create the workshops to generate enthusiasm and understanding among administrators and teachers. The workshops will provide scientific information in conjunction with hands-on activities that can be used to complement visits to the Sternberg Museum and the Sue exhibit. The teaching materials were created for an integrated curriculum on the elementary, middle school and high school levels. The workshops will also introduce teachers to the interactive website that is being developed in conjunction with this exhibit.

Two exhibits of Sue, both including life-size casts and many interactive displays, began touring the nation this June. The eastern tour began in Boston, travels next to St. Paul, MN, and then arrives in Hays for display from Feb. 25, 2001, until April 29, 2001. The western tour began in Hawaii, travels to Los Angeles in November and makes its next scheduled stop in June 2001 in Indianapolis, IN. The Sternberg Museum will provide the only opportunity to see Sue in the middle of the country until October 2001, when she visits Kansas City.

The Field Museum reported recently that attendance there had been up at least 100 percent every day since the permanent Sue exhibition opened earlier this summer, and Marlene Rothacker of The Field Museum said the traveling exhibitions in Boston and Honolulu were also hugely popular. "Honolulu is calling it their biggest blockbuster ever," she said.

The demand for tickets to the Sternberg Museum is brisk. Pre-purchased tickets are strongly recommended. To order tickets, call (785) 628-4286 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays or visit . To purchase tickets over the Internet, you must use a VISA, MasterCard or FHSU University Card.

The Sternberg Museum hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 1 to 9 p.m. Sunday and Monday. Tickets will be honored in one-hour segments. For example, an advance ticket for 9 a.m. would allow admittance between 9 and 10 a.m. on the date specified. Once inside the museum, visitors may stay for as long as they like.

Because of the great demand for tickets, the availability of time and date preferences for Internet orders cannot be guaranteed. Those who order tickets must indicate both a primary and secondary hour and date for the visit. If neither the first nor the second preference is available, tickets for the nearest open hour and date will be sent.

The charge for Sue tickets is the same as normal Sternberg Museum admission prices, and the tickets include admission to the entire museum. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for youths (ages 2-17) and senior citizens (60 and over). A $1 processing fee will be added to all ticket orders. Members of the museum do not need advance tickets. They will be admitted at no charge anytime during the Sue exhibition. Call (785) 628-4286 for information about how to become a member of the museum.
Groups, including classes from schools, should call the museum at (785) 628-5298 to reserve an hour and date for tours of the Sue exhibition.

The "A T.rex Named Sue" exhibit was created by The Field Museum and made possible through the generosity of McDonald's Corporation. The centerpiece of the exhibit is a breathtaking 45-foot articulated cast skeleton of Sue. The exhibit tells the amazing story of this fossil through video footage, freestanding interactive exhibits, colorful graphics and touchable casts of bones. The exhibit includes interactive anatomical models and a large-format 3-D puzzle of Sue's skeleton.

Sue was recovered in South Dakota in 1990. She was about 90 percent complete. Just four other "full" T.rexes have been discovered, and they are only about 60 percent complete. Sue Hendrickson worked for a fossil collecting company, and her company became embroiled in a legal dispute with the landowner and the federal government, which led eventually to the public auction. Tourists were allowed to watch some of the work on the fossil at Disney's DinoLand U.S.A. in Florida.

Fort Hays State University's Sternberg Museum of Natural History was located on campus for many years, but it opened to great fanfare on March 13, 1999, in its new home adjacent to Interstate 70 in northeast Hays. The $11 million project of renovating a former health club to house the museum took several years. The museum has long been known as a premier research institution. Its collections of more than 3,750,000 artifacts and specimens are the world's largest at a small university.

The holdings make the Sternberg one of the top 20 museums in size alone in the United States.

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