The public will get a rare chance to see dinosaur bones, fossils and other items long-stored in an old and rarely visited storage area when the Utah Field House of Natural History State Park Museum holds a free open house April 12 in Vernal.
The Field House of Natural History was created in the 1940s by Uinta Basin residents in an effort to keep the area's ancient treasures from leaving the state. The collection, including about 30,000 fossils, proved too large for a museum and even too large for the new museum that opened in 2004.
Last year money was found to create a new storage facility adjacent to the museum, and the public will get a chance to tour the new building from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission to the museum will be free all day.
A ribbon cutting will take place at 10 a.m. Interpretive tours of the curatorial building will also start at 10 a.m. Utah State paleontologist Jim Kirkland will speak at 11 a.m.
The 11,500-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility was funded largely by $1.5 million from the Uintah Impact Mitigation Special Service District. Money came from mineral lease fees dedicated to funding industry mitigation projects.
Field House State Park Manager Steve Sroka confirmed at the ground-breaking in 2012 that many of the fossils already on display and in storage were found during oil and gas extraction.
He noted the 30,000 items in storage at the old building will fill only about 10 percent of the addition.
Utah Field House of Natural History State Park Museum
P The museum is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. It is located in the middle of Vernal at 496 E. Main St. Admission is $6 for adults, $3 for children and Utah seniors, and free for children 5 and younger. For more information, go to http://www.stateparks.utah.gov/parks/field-house.