Chatting with a Paleontologist

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Ray Vodden, visiting paleontologist.

In the past couple of weeks, some very exciting things have been taking place at the JMM! Ray Vodden is a paleontologist who is visiting us from the Virginia Museum of Natural History. Ray has been leading JMM staff in the casting of several JMM specimens as well as making repairs on our mastodon.  Below is a blog post written by staff member Cait Conley, who has been working with Ray during his visit.

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Reparing the mastodon is a team effort!

“Through the past couple of weeks, I have had the opportunity to spend time with Ray Vodden, a visiting paleontologist from the Virginia Museum of Natural History. Ray is here to help us measure our mounted mastodon for a collective database project, as well as complete restorations for the mastodon, giant sloth, and other artifacts. I have enjoyed talking with him about anatomy and measuring the mastodon in my Care and Use of Collections Class. A few of the museum collections staff have been helping him cast bones, skulls, and teeth from our collection for use at other museums. Ray is a delightful well of knowledge–enthusiastic and friendly to all who are curious enough to delve into the wood shop he is using as a work station. This Saturday April 14th, he will lead a public demonstration on casting, and those who attend will be able to take home an artifact of their own. It has been wonderful to have him around, and while he is not a permanent installation to our museum, his work is valuable to the preservation and display of our collections and exhibits. His openness to guests and students has added a kind of temporary ‘Ask A Paleontologist’ station that you won’t want to miss!”

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Measuring the mastodon!

We are very grateful to have Ray visiting us. We have had a lot of fun learning about casting as well as learning more about our mastodon! If you are interested in meeting Ray and learning about some of his projects, we are hosting an Ice Age and Fossil Casting Workshop on Saturday, April 14th from 9 am to 11 am. (This event is appropriate for ages 3 and up.)

Kids will have the opportunity to learn about the ice age and the field of paleontology. They will work with Ray to cast their own replica of a mastodon, sloth, giant beaver or other ice age animal tooth! This event does not require registration. However, there is a $10 fee per participant. For more information on this event, visit the event page on the Joseph Moore Museum’s Facebook!

Image uploaded from iOS
Ray’s fossil casting activity is fun for all ages!

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