“I have put in a lot of work over the past couple of months to confidently welcome our community back through the doors,” Director Becky Hall, who was hired in September, said Friday. “The museum has undergone a deep clean, and maintaining its cleanliness is top priority.”
The museum opened the weekend of Veterans Day, offering free passes to families of veterans.
“We had a successful weekend as the news we were opened spread quickly with positive feedback,” Hall said.
The museum’s new exhibits showcase fossils from around the Silver State.
“Since I am an active researcher and paleontologist, I have on display fossils spanning 500 million years, from the most complex life 500 Ma, trilobites, to dinosaurs, and ice age megafauna,” she said. “I also like to incorporate fossils into my show-and-tell and allow guests to handle fossils as well as take a picture next to a sauropod, Apatosaurus, dinosaur backbone that is on loan from the Bently Family's private collection. The almost meter tall backbone is quite impressive.”
The museum is also highlighting the Nevadadromeus schmiiti, Nevada's first named dinosaur that Hall researched with her husband, Josh Bonde, who is director of Nevada State Museum.
“Nevadadromeus will be on display at the Children's Museum until spring when it will be returned to its home at Valley of Fire State Park where it was discovered,” Hall said.
Besides exhibits, Hall has incorporated more STEM and STEAM activities that focus on science and art, math and technology.
“Every week we will have a different themed week. This will keep our activities and exhibits fresh with an opportunity to have a new experience with every visit,” she said. “Of course, I chose Dino Discovery week our first week. I have created a schedule through the spring in hopes to incorporate more community partnerships who can be involved in our programming.”
Hall said she wants to encourage a broader age range of children visitors, especially those interested in research.
“I have started re-building a paleontology lab here at the museum where I can continue my research but hope to gain more interest with high school and college students,” she said. “I started my career as an intern in a paleontology lab, and I would love to give the opportunity for others interested in paleontology or science being involved in the scientific process. Although I have most of my supplies for the lab as I have relocated my lab to the museum, I am still looking for funding to complete this project as well as other improvements in the museum.”
One of Hall’s main tasks is to find sustainable funding for the continuation of museum operations and activities. In a previous interview with the Appeal, she pointed to a possible endowment.
“An endowment is a long-term process that I want to present to future investors through our strategic planning, finances, and successes,” Hall said Friday. “This will take some time, but in the meantime, I am building our network, expanding community partnerships, and focusing on a strategic plan for financial stability for those interested in investing in the Children's Museum. There is a bright future here, and community involvement is important at all levels.”
Located at 813 N. Carson St., the museum’s new hours are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. For information, visit https://www.cmnn.org/.