Monday, August 29, 2016

Well, shiver me timbers and sharpen me sword!

What is a Murder Mystery Party?
No, no one really dies! Murder mystery events are highly interactive parties, generally dinner parties, that focus on group problem solving to determine which guest was "murdered" and who the "murderer" is among the group. Some events use actors for those roles, though an alternative is to secretly brief select party-goers beforehand about their roles as murdered and murderer. These parties can be likened to a real life version of the game "Clue". 

Often an extravagant theme setting is used to add extra flair to the event. Two of Museum of World Treasures' previous Murder at the Museum events have had a 1920s theme and a late 1800s saloon theme. Our upcoming event features a pirate theme which will lead to some very interesting drama! We strongly recommend wearing a costume to add to the immersive feel. Need ideas for what to wear? Check out our Pinterest board for ideas. Or, contact Foggy Bottom here in Wichita and let them know you plan on attending for great costume advice or purchase.

On November 12, the Museum will be hosting Murder at the MuseumMurder Among the Mateys! We are excited to bring back this staff favorite! Included with admission price is a buffet style dinner, interactive games, entertainment, and (of course) a cash bar - so bring your plunder and not your plastic! 
Check out some of these staff picks for movies to get you in the mood and fuel your pirate fire: Treasure Island, Pirates of Penzance, Pirates of the Caribbean, Blackbeard The Pirate, Goonies, or a favorite alternative pirate movie we haven’t thought of!

For more details about Murder at the Museum, check out our Facebook event page as well as our website and daily posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Ticket sales will begin September 5 through Eventbrite.comGet into the pirate mood by attending our Pirates on the Patio event from 11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 17. For more information on Pirates on the Patio, see our Facebook event page.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Why I Love Volunteering at the Museum of World Treasures by Emmy Hollaway

The Museum of World Treasures offers internship (and volunteer) opportunities that provide hands-on educational experiences in one of Wichita's most diverse museums. Interns have the opportunity to receive university credit while building their resume. Learn more about our internship program. One of our interns, Emmy Hollaway, recently wrote a blog about her experiences at the Museum. Here is what she had to say:
My first visit to the Museum of World
Treasures in 2011.
My first visit to the Museum of World Treasures was back in 2011. I was immediately enraptured by the amount of history on display. I remember thinking how incredibly amazing it would be to get to volunteer here. However, I lived in a city over two hours away and I was still in high school. Geography and time weren’t in my favor. But I “hoped for someday” anyway.
A year ago this month, my goal came to fruition when I was granted an internship at this wonderful museum. My time as an intern taught me so many amazing things. I loved being in an environment where everyone loved history as much as I do. The opportunity to work in this environment gave me a clearer understanding of what I aspired to do for a career. I am, and continue to be, challenged in new ways at the Museum. For example, giving tours gave me a love for the educational side of museum work while my participation with special programs gave me valuable experience.
My four-month internship ended last December, but I’m very grateful that I’m still given opportunities to volunteer here. The Museum is one of my favorite places to be. A plethora of learning opportunities await a volunteer, and one I enjoy immensely is coming back and giving tours. It’s always a fun experience to share the rich history the Museum has on display.

Here I am as an intern dressed up like a pirate for the
Museum’s “Pirates on the Patio” event last September.
The Museum of World Treasures has so many amazing things to see. I’d like to share a few with you.
  1. Two real mummies reside in the Museum. They are both female and have their real hair, teeth, and nails. The detail of their fingernails is especially intriguing. The entire Egypt exhibit is amazing.
  2. Have you ever seen a real shrunken head? The Museum has one. And yes, I think it’s super cool. But then again, I’m a history geek.
  3. Their T-Rex is 40-60% complete. Many more dinosaur fossils are also on display, and it’s pretty sweet if you like dinosaurs. But who doesn’t like dinosaurs?
  4. The Museum has artifacts from Ancient Near East, Greece, Rome and more—and that’s just on the first floor. Did you know that Romans wore makeup just like we do today? However, their makeup contained lead, which of course, is poisonous.
  5. They display numerous American history exhibits including: Civil War, WWI, WWII, Korean War, and the Vietnam War. This is just a taste of all they have to offer.
I loved ancient history as a kid and still do. I know it was a favorite of many people I met while giving tours at the Museum. What is your favorite historical period?

Monday, August 15, 2016

What's the Point of Paleontology, Anyway?

At times it may seem that everything about Earth's past has been discovered, and that the role of a paleontologist may be or become outmoded. Some may wonder if paleontology is just a fancy name for fossil digging. Well, yes and no. While a bulk of their work involves fossils, their contributions are just as important as ever, as new discoveries by paleontologists are made day after day. 

First, what is paleontology?
Paleontology is a branch of science concerned with fossil animals and plants, including fungi and microbes. While many think paleontology is just the study of fossils, it is much, much more. This important field has multiple sub-disciplines which, according to UCMP (University of California Museum of Paleontology), include: micropaleontology, paleobotany, palynology, invertebrate paleontology, vertebrate paleontology, human paleontology, taphonomy, ichnology, and paleoecology. Each division has its own specific focus while contributing to paleontology as a whole. 
What does paleontology contribute to the modern world? 
Photo credit: Natursports /
In essence, paleontology is the study of the history of life. Paleontologists are able to find details of Earth prior to man's existence (and after) which provides background context to past and present biological and ecological events. They are trained to determine the cause and effect of certain events and can understand Earth's changes on an extremely large scale. 
Paleontology utilizes knowledge from a variety of other scientific fields including anthropology, archaeology, geology, ecology, and more. These other fields help paleontologists learn the most about the fossils they are discovering and researching, essentially helping tell the most vibrant, accurate story of past ecologies. 
Want to meet a paleontologist?
Meet the Museum of World Treasures' Curator and Staff Paleontologist, Steven King, at Coffee with the Curator this Thursday at 9:00 a.m. View the Facebook event page to learn more. 
Read last week's blog to learn more about paleontology and Steven's recent findings pertaining to Ivan, the Museum's T-rex.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Researching the Origins of Ivan the T. rex: Steven King's Trip to South Dakota, Montana, and Canada

In 2007, the Tyrannosaurus rex endearingly named “Ivan” was loaned to the Museum of World Treasures. Ivan stands imposingly in the main atrium and is thus one of the first things guests see as they enter the Museum from the gift shop. He is a great source of many guests' questions. There is a considerable amount of information about Ivan that our staff has been able to research and verify, however, many details need further research and development in order to fully understand Ivan.

To help fill in the gaps of knowledge about Ivan, the Museum’s Curator and Staff Paleontologist, Steven King, recently went on a research trip to South Dakota, Montana, and Canada. In South Dakota, King visited the site where Ivan was found to learn more about the rock layer in which he was found. Describing a rock layer entails measuring, investigating the rock types, and looking for other fossils in that layer. The Museum already knew that Ivan was uncovered in the Hell Creek Formation, a very prominent rock layer in the upper midwest, but further information was desired about the area where Ivan was found. That information helps illustrate the environment when Ivan was alive, the other organisms he lived with, and how he came to be buried in that specific place.

In Montana, King visited the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman and then stopped in Canada to visit the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller. While visiting these museums, he studied other tyrannosaur fossils to serve as a comparison to the fossils from Ivan. King particularly focused on the gastralia (belly ribs). The gastralia, with regard to tyrannosaur, are not well understood among paleontologists. The information collected will assist the Museum curatorial staff in a better understanding of the structure and function of the gastralia.

With all the data that was collected, it will take some time to complete the research. However, even before the research is complete some of the information will be shared with the public next week at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, August 18 at Coffee with the Curator featuring Steven King.

Research at the Museum of World Treasures helps bring the most updated and accurate information to Museum constituents, and to tell the stories of our collections that teach us our place in this beautifully diverse world. The Museum looks forward to the completion of research and the potential of publishing these findings in an academic journal.