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A Mastodon in a Biscuit Box
Monday, November 27, 2017 @ 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Dantheman9758 at the English language Wikipedia [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons
All museums receive fascinating donations from time to time, often accompanied with stories of their provenance. Although these origins often amount to only a couple of lines, some are comprised of a fantastic story. One of these enthralling histories came from the artifact known as ‘Shirley’s Box’, a mysterious box of teeth from Highgate, Ontario, donated to the University of Waterloo’s Earth Sciences Museum. What started as a few unidentified remains was revealed to be the teeth and lower jaw tusk of a mastodon whose history elicited information on the pre-history of Ontario. No, we didn’t have dinosaurs roaming the province, but we did have giants of the ice age: mammoths, mastodons, giant beaver and more!
This month, WRN has the pleasure of hosting Peter Russell, past curator for the University of Waterloo’s Earth Sciences Museum and recipient of the prestigious Lieutenant Governor’s Ontario Heritage Award for Lifetime Achievement. Growing up, Peter was lucky enough to live nearby a plethora of interesting mineral and fossil collecting sites in Yorkshire, England. Beach combing for agate and carnelian and collecting ammonites, belemnites, and other fossils from the Jurassic sparked his interest in geology, and at 15, Peter was hired as a junior technician at the Geological Department at Leeds University. He began his work at the University of Waterloo in 1967 and, in 2003, was instrumental in transferring the museum to its present location. Curator of the museum since the early 1970s, Peter was responsible for the installation of many exciting new displays, including the popular Cobalt Mine Tunnel. Although now retired, Peter still enjoys assisting and providing his expertise to the museum.