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The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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What’s in the Basement?’ at UMNH

By Rochelle McConkie

This Saturday, the general public will get a sneak peek at everything that’s been stored away in the basement at the Utah Museum of Natural History.

At the 12th-annual “What’s in the Basement?” event, the public can take an up-close look at the back rooms of the museum, viewing the artifacts and specimens that usually remain in storage. Museum curators, researchers and staff will also be available for tours and questions.

“Because we only have so much room, for this one day we allow the public to go into the storage area just to see the enormity of what we have here,” said Darrell Kirby, UMNH public relations associate.

While the museum contains more than 1 million artifacts, 99 percent of them are kept in basement storage.

This year’s exhibit features a collection of more than 1,200 insects, ranging from tiny beetles to large tarantula hawks, donated by Stan Schulze a “recreational bug catcher” from Sandy. Schulze began his collection in the 1970s and, until now, has displayed the insects in his home.

“I enjoy the challenge of capturing the creatures and the adrenaline rush you get when chasing the specimen,” Schulze said.

His collection, which contains many insects from the Wasatch Front, also includes creatures from Saudi Arabia and around the world. Schulze said he donated the insects to the museum so that more people can view and appreciate them.

The Utah Museum of Natural History has more than 180,000 insects in its collection that are not open to the public. Entomology Collection Manager Christy Bills gives tours of these specimens upon request to researchers and interested viewers. “I’m always happy to show people around,” she said.

Along with plant, mammal and bird displays, Saturday’s event will also feature American-Indian artifacts from the Four Corners exhibit and new artifacts from the Fremont tribe in Range Creek Canyon as part of the museum’s recently opened Range Creek exhibit.

In a special behind-the-scenes exhibit, museum paleontologists have recreated the ecosystem of the late Cretaceous period, featuring never-before-seen fossils, insects, plants, snails, clams and a recently discovered Hagryphus giganteus-a giant raptor dinosaur found in southern Utah. New dinosaur findings from the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument will also be displayed.

“What’s in the Basement?” will also feature hands-on activities for children, including exploring the museum’s field crates and building baby mammoth skeletons.

Admission is free for all U students, faculty and staff with a UCard, as well as all UMNH members and children under the age of 3. The cost is $6 for adults and $3.50 for kids ages 3 to 12, seniors 62 and older and students from any school with valid school identification.

Ryan Perkins

Lennie Mahler

Bones from a 147-million year old Barosaurus will be on display as part of the “What’s in the Basement?” exhibit at the Museum of Natural History this Saturday.

Lennie Mahler

A group of insects from more than 1200 different species will be shown in the Natural History Museum’s “What’s in the Basement” exhibit on Saturday, Sept. 16 from 9

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