Fossil Casting Family Program

One of my jobs at the Galt is to organise the weekly family program called Saturday at 1. We do a variety of activities linked to the permanent and special exhibits. Families bring their kids, ages 3 and up (younger kids are welcome of course, but usually don't participate in the hands on portions), to the program and work together on the activities of the day. During the past three months we’ve built a model dinosaur skeleton, created international festival of lights crafts, made homemade bird feeders, explored the exhibit in an interactive tour, made papier-mâché dinosaurs and more.

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This last Saturday at 1 program featured fossil casting from the Royal Tyrrell Museum. This program links to our special exhibit on Alberta Dinosaurs. For the first time since I’ve been on the job, we had more kids than we could accommodate at the program all at the same time – so we ran it again at 2pm, and again on Sunday at 1pm to try to make sure everyone got a chance to make a fossil cast.

During the program 40 kids made fossil casts using two different processes. Some used pre-made molds, and some created molds of shells using a casting medium and then created casts using their new mold. While waiting for the casts to dry, the families went to two stations run by three of our dedicated volunteers: Cam, Shelby, and Marcus. At the first station they searched for micro fossils and identified them, and at the second station they got to handle larger fossils and casts and learned about what characteristics define a dinosaur.

This week’s program is brought to us by Devil’s Coulee and is called Junior Palaeontologist. Children and their parents will search for fossils and learn how palaeontologists set up and grid a dig site. Don’t forget to check out our exhibit on the lower level of the museum which features finds from Wendy Sloboda who found eggs at Devil’s Coulee back in 1987. The exhibit also features a real dinosaur’s egg nest that she found in China.