Ammonites, trilobites, dinosaurs, oh my! Fossils are all around Washington. That’s the message paleontologist Kirk Johnson and artist Ray Troll share in the traveling exhibit Cruisin’ the Washington Fossil Freeway, opening at the Harbor History Museum on Saturday, Feb. 2. Fossils have long been a subject of fascination and are used by paleontologists to help answer questions about early life on Earth. But how much can the fossil record tell us about evolution, extinction, and geologic time?
Cruisin’ the Washington Fossil Freeway features a specially commissioned Washington fossil map by Ray Troll. The exhibit also features panels of whimsical, fossil-inspired artwork by Troll as well as real fossil specimens. The exhibit combines visuals and text from paleontologist Kirk Johnson to tell the tale of prehistoric life and death in Washington. Come touch the cast of a mammoth tooth and travel the fossil freeway at the Harbor History Museum.
The exhibit features a variety of fossils from the Olympic Peninsula, on loan from the Museum and Arts Center in Sequim, Washington. A hands-on table provides the opportunity for visitors to touch and explore plant and insect fossils found at the Eocene Fossil Site at Republic, Washington, provided by the Stonerose Interpretive Center, and small fossils from other areas. Created just for this exhibit, a paleontological “dig site” in the gallery lets kids experience the thrill of “finding” a real fossil. The museum is open Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.
Cruisin’ the Washington Fossil Freeway was organized by the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture in Seattle, Washington in collaboration with Ray Troll and Kirk Johnson, authors of the book Cruisin’ the Fossil Freeway: An Epoch Tale of a Scientist and an Artist on the Ultimate 5,000-Mile Paleo Road Trip (Fulcrum Books 2007).