Behind the modern looking glass exterior of the University of Alberta’s Earth and Atmospheric Sciences building, down in the basement, lies two university treasures: The Paleontology museum and the Mineralogy and Petrology museum. When I ventured down to visit the exhibitions I did not know what to expect. As I am a Humanities turned Business student at UAlberta I never took a class that encouraged or required me to visit these little academic getaways, but now that I have seen them, I am hard pressed to imagine that they aren’t visited often throughout the year, although I may be wrong. In either case these impressive collections are definitely worth a visit in between classes or just as a nice break from studying for exams.
The Paleontology museum specifically, displays specimens that range in age from 600 million to 10,000 years and features dinosaurs, fish and a collection of trilobites, which are extinct marine arthropods. One could easily get lost in the displays as you read about the history of paleontology in Alberta and Canada, as well as about paleontology in general. At the Mineralogy and Petrology Museum, established in 1912 and one of the “oldest systematic collections in Canada”, you can see more than a thousand on display rock and mineral specimens from around the world. The collection itself contains about 12,000 specimens and features many mineralogical “rarities and oddities”, as well as crystals and fool’s gold.
Both museums offer an interesting and relaxing shelter from the hustle and bustle of campus life above, a definite must see for UAlberta students all around!
Earth and Atmospheric Sciences building
The basement of the Earth and Atmospheric Sciences building where the museums are located
By: Nathalie Batres