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dino discovery

January 3
Dinosaur Discoveries

Children become dinosaur detectives with “Paleontologist Illinois Bones” to learn about the world of dinosaurs. Fossils and props are used to create an awareness of dinosaur characteristics. See live animals and how they are related to dinosaurs.

Interactive Lecture - Ages 4 yrs. to Adult - 50 minutes -
2 p.m.
Admission: $5.00 per person, Museum Members Free.
Reservations Recommended – (630) 833-1616


January 24
“Form Follows Function: Interpreting
Dinosaurs Through Their Anatomy”

Dinosaurs have captured our collective imagination since Sir Richard Owen first described them in 1842. Their great size alone makes them unique in the history of terrestrial vertebrates. But their bones raise many questions. What did they look like? Were they fast or slow? How did they feed? How did they defend themselves? Using actual fossils, field paleontologist, Rob Sula will interpret the lives and behaviors of Dinosaurs.

Lecture – Youth to Adult – 60 minutes – 2:00 p.m.
Regular Museum Admission, Museum Members Free. Reservations Recommended – (630) 833-1616

rock mineral

Rock & Mineral Identification

Geologist Sara Kurth presents an introduction to rocks and minerals. Learn to identify minerals thorough basic hands-on identification including observation skills and hardness tests. Great for teachers and rockhounds, this program qualifies for Boy & Girl Scout merit badges. All materials are provided. Scout groups require adult supervision.

Class – Ages 8 yrs. to Adult - 75 minutes – 10:30 a.m.
Saturday Classes: January 24, February 7, March 21
Admission: $5.00 per person, Museum Members $3.00
Reservations Required: (630) 833-1616



February 7
Create a Jewelry Set

Learn basic elements of design to create a necklace and pair of earrings. Beginner level techniques include the use of various findings, design ideas, color choices and using a variety of tools. Students will design and complete the set in class to take home.

Activity – Ages 16 yrs. to Adult
1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
$40.00 per person, $35.00 Museum Members
Reservations Required: (630) 833-1616

February 22
“The Great Global Climate
Change Experiment”

Have you ever wondered about all the hype surrounding the topic of climate change? This is your chance to learn how Earth’s climate has changed throughout time and how scientists make their predictions about the future of our planet’s climate. Dr. Steve Vavrus, a senior scientist at the Center for Climatic Research in Madison, Wisconsin will be presenting on the dynamic relationship climate has on our ecosystem. He will discuss how we can better understand climate changes by looking at past environments.

Sunday Lecture – Youth to Adult
60 minutes – 2 p.m.
Regular Museum Admission, Museum Members Free.
Reservations Recommended: (630) 833-1616


March 22
“The Ivory Dilemma”

Robert Weisblut, President of the International Ivory Society will present a lecture concerning the current legal regulations/restrictions on ivory, ideas under consideration for a USA response, and proposals to actually help protect African elephants. Participants are welcome to bring 1 to 2 pieces for show and analysis as to age, country of origin, and type of ivory.

Sunday Lecture – Youth to Adult - 60 minutes – 2 p.m.
Ivory analysis before and after the lecture.
Admission: $10.00 per person, Museum Members Free.
Reservations Required: (630) 833-1616

March 28
“Mazon Creek Fossil
Collecting Field Trip”

This Trip is filled

Join Jim Fairchild of the Earth Science Club of Northern Illinois on a trip to Braidwood, Illinois to collect Mazon Creek fossils at 2 sites including the world famous site Pit 11. Learn what to look for when collecting these special fossils and how to open them. Travel by motor coach, bring a sack lunch and get ready to collect. Make reservations early, this field trip fills up fast!

Field Trip - 8 yrs. to Adult
9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
$30.00 per person,
Museum Members $25.00
Reservations Required: (630) 833-1616


global change

By Dr. Steve Vavrus
Senior Scientist at the Center for Climatic Research

As proclaimed by scientists more than 50 years ago, humans are conducting an unprecedented experiment on Earth’s climate system. The concentration of heat-absorbing greenhouse gases in our atmosphere is now higher than at any time in the past several hundred thousand years and probably in the past many millions of years. Globally averaged temperature now exceeds that at any time since accurate measurements began, and each year brings with it the expectation of near-record warmth. Arctic sea ice area dropped to a record minimum a couple of summers ago, reaching a coverage that wasn’t expected until much later this century.

Coinciding with these warming trends has been an increase in extreme weather of various types, including high-profile events such as Superstorm Sandy and last winter’s so-called “polar vortex.” The vast majority of scientists are convinced that the climate is changing and that the primary culprit is the rise in carbon emissions from human activities. This scientific consensus is markedly contrasted by a noticeable political divide on the issue, featuring outspoken contrarians who remain skeptical of a human fingerprint on recent climate change.

There are many questions regarding this issue. Are the rapid climate changes happening in the Arctic affecting weather elsewhere? Is the observed trend toward more extreme weather a result of climate change, and how might this trend continue? What will ongoing global climate change mean for our lives here in the Midwest? Steve will attempt to answer these questions, Sunday February 22nd at 2 p.m. In his presentation he will cover primarily the science of global climate change and its local expressions and impacts, structured around (1) what we know, (2) what we think we know, and (3) what we don’t know. He will pay particular attention to changes happening in the Arctic, where temperatures are rising at least twice as fast as in the rest of the world, in addition to extreme weather events, which cause a disproportionate amount of damage. He will address these questions and also trace the history of how global warming became a household topic and a politically thorny issue, both domestically and internationally.

The Ivory Dilemma

By Dorothy Asher

In recent months, visitors to the Museum have brought in ivory (or what they think is ivory) with questions like: Is it ivory? How old is it? Can I sell it? What is it worth? Aside from telling them if it is or isn’t ivory and some idea of age, Museums cannot appraise. Ivory, an organic gem is a treasured material capable of the most beautiful objects and an important material used in hand-made and manufactured items before the advent of plastics.

In the past year around the world we have seen elephant ivory burned, crushed and confiscated to send a message to consumers that the poaching and smuggling of ivory will not be tolerated. Amid the strong (and sad) images this country is no closer to solving the problem. How do we stop the poaching and unlawful smuggling of ivory and yet allow people to have precious ivory objects as family heirlooms, or musical instruments and allow antique dealers to sell ivory? 

Ivory has become not only a matter of species preservation but also a political issue that has the federal government chasing criminals and states upholding laws that give a slap on the wrist to illegal traders. This year, because most of the illegal ivory comes in through JFK, New York and New Jersey have passed legislation making the sale of all ivory illegal. With a limited number of Wildlife Inspectors and several tons of cargo coming in for inspection, the states had to take action in hopes of curtailing the influx of illegal ivory.

Educating the consumer is imperative. People have the perception that because the laws on ivory have become stricter that ivory is or will become more valuable. Quite the opposite has occurred. Prices are in flux. The market is uncertain. The price Aunt Bessie paid for her beautiful ivory carving 50 years ago may fetch pennies on the dollar today. Museums are not interested in ivory donations. An item that contains African elephant ivory that was removed from the wild prior to February 26, 1976, is considered to be a pre-Convention specimen. That is the date the African elephant was first listed as endangered under CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) and the date most dealers and auction houses want their ivory objects predating. International trade in Asian elephant ivory was banned by CITES in 1975.

According to Robert Weisblut, President of the International Ivory Society, “The laws concerning the future of elephant ivory items in the USA are being debated. The Fish & Wildlife Service was supposed to issue new regulations in August 2014. This date has been pushed to December. No one knows what legislators will decide. Possibly it will be a felony to sell such ivories, or possibly antiques (over 100 years old) will be somehow exempted.

ivory minerMany people are going to be affected including collectors of ivory carvings, chess sets, snuff bottles; people who own items of partial ivory such as pianos, guns and knives; silver serving pieces with ivory handles, items inlaid with ivory such as furniture, guitars, or violin bows; plus people who make their living restoring, selling, or appraising ivory items.”

Learn more about the current status of ivory and the ongoing efforts to solve the problem and the perception at Robert Weisblut’s lecture on Sunday, March 22, 2015 at 2p.m. Reservations are required.


“Overwhelmed U.S. Port Inspectors Unable To Keep Up with Illegal Wildlife Trade”
By Darryl Fears, Washington Post, October 17, 2014.

Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora,
Notification to the Parties, No. 2014/045, Geneva, 10 October 2014.

USFWS Moves to Ban Commercial Elephant Ivory Trade Questions & Answers,

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