The Charleston Museum is on track to establish a working paleontology lab that will allow visitors to watch researchers reconstruct fossils.
The museum recently reported that fundraising efforts to renovate and complete the new National History Gallery have surpassed the 90 percent mark and less than $90,000 is needed to support the project. The final plan for the new facility is expected to be completed by September.
According to a blog post from the museum’s curator of natural history, Matt Gibson, the primary focus of the Natural History Department is to classify and preserve fossils collected from all around the Lowcountry for exhibition and research. The new Natural History Gallery’s paleontology lab will explain the process by which nearby fossils are discovered, excavated, and prepared at the museum, so that visitors can understand how these ancient remains become museum exhibits. Gibson writes that many local fossils are uncovered during random sample collection or river dredging. Larger specimens, such as giant ground sloths and prehistoric whales, have been discovered during organized excavations. The Charleston Museum boasts the world’s largest collection of whale fossils from the Oligocene epoch, roughly 34-23 million years ago.
The Charleston Museum, located downtown on Meeting Street, is still accepting tax-deductible donations to support the completion of the Natural History Gallery. Contribution can be made online on the museum’s website at charlestonmuseum.org/support-us/donate/