Museum at Prairiefire, Kansas City's Newest Cultural Attraction, Opens with Debut of Rare Collection of Historic Fossils Found by Kansas City Native Charles H. Sternberg

Museum at Prairiefire Received the Sternberg Fossils from the San Diego Natural History Museum

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These amazing fossils have returned home to Kansas, to be displayed for the wonder and benefit of all museum visitors. What greater fate can there be for such beautiful and important fossils?

Kansas City, KS (PRWEB) May 12, 2014

The Museum at Prairiefire, a pioneering natural history and science museum opening today in Overland Park, Kan., announced that it will display five extraordinary 85 million-year-old fossils collected in the early 20th Century from Cretaceous-age chalk deposits in west central Kansas by renowned fossil hunter Charles H. Sternberg. The innovative new Museum recently received the rare collection of fossils, including the 17-foot long skeleton of the mosasaur Platecarpus, and the 16-foot long skeleton of the giant fossil fish, Xiphactinus, from the San Diego Natural History Museum.

“Receiving this significant collection of Charles Sternberg fossils just in time for our grand opening is a tremendous vote of confidence for us as a new natural history museum,” said Uli Sailer Das, executive director of the Museum at Prairiefire. “I want to thank the San Diego Natural History Museum for choosing our museum to receive these fossils and demonstrating such an extraordinary sense of collegiality and collaboration. The display of the Sternberg Fossils is a thrilling and unique opportunity for Prairiefire’s visitors of all ages to learn about these amazing creatures from prehistoric Kansas.”

“The Museum at Prairiefire provides yet another reason for people to visit Kansas. This museum, with its world-class exhibits, will both entertain and educate. It is a valuable new asset to the region and the state,” said Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback.

Gov. Brownback recently signed a bill designating the flying Pteranodon and the sea-roaming Tylosaurus, a cousin of which is included in the Museum at Prairiefire’s new collection, as the state’s official fossils.

The Sternberg collection coming to the Museum at Prairiefire includes:
•Skull of a giant bony fish (Xiphactinus audux); Niobrara Chalk Formation, Western Kansas; late Cretaceous
•Tail of a giant marine reptile (Mosasuridae); Niobrara Chalk Formation, Western Kansas; late Cretaceous
•Swimming crinoids (Uintacrinus socialis); Niobrara Chalk Formation, Western Kansas; late Cretaceous
•Skeleton of a giant marine reptile (Platecarpus sp.); Niobrara Chalk Formation, Western Kansas; late Cretaceous
•Skeleton of a giant bony fish (Xiphactinus audux); Niobrara Chalk Formation, Western Kansas; late Cretaceous

The majority of the Sternberg fossils will be on display when the Museum opens on Monday, May 12, while the Platecarpus and the Xiphactinus skeletons will open to the public on Saturday, June 7.

“We are thrilled the fossils will be prominently displayed for the public in Kansas, where they were collected by famous fossil collector Charles Sternberg, and hope they enhance visitors’ understanding of the region’s prehistoric past,” said Dr. Michael Hager, president and CEO of the San Diego Natural History Museum.

"We are delighted that the Sternberg collection will remain in the public trust, and we applaud the San Diego Museum of Natural History for transferring its stewardship of these important fossils to the Museum at Prairiefire,” said Catherine Forster, president of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology. “The innovative collaboration between these two institutions has ensured the continued conservation of these fossils for researchers and the public. These amazing fossils have returned home to Kansas, to be displayed for the wonder and benefit of all museum visitors. What greater fate can there be for such beautiful and important fossils?”

The Museum at Prairiefire will also present continuously changing world-class traveling exhibitions organized by the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in New York through an innovative content provision partnership. The Museum is the only space outside of New York City dedicated exclusively to American Museum of Natural History exhibitions, and represents the first time AMNH has engaged in such a multi-year, multi-product agreement with a single venue. The Museum at Prairiefire’s first exhibition created by AMNH, Water: H2O=Life, explores the science and beauty of water, its importance in nature and in our everyday lives. It opens on Monday, May 12, and will remain on view until Sunday, July 13, 2014.

Located in Overland Park, Kan., a rapidly growing, vibrant community in the Kansas City metro area, the Museum at Prairiefire (MAP) was established in 2010 based on a pioneering content partnership with the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH). Focused on enhancing public understanding of natural history and science, this "startup" museum will present an ongoing flow of world-class traveling exhibitions organized by AMNH, a Discovery Room, which is an exciting gateway to science and natural history for children ages three and older, as well as engaging permanent halls and experiences, education programs, science videos and more. The Museum is the cultural anchor of Prairiefire, a $430M, 58-acre mixed-use project that integrates residential, office, retail and entertainment.

The Museum at Prairiefire will be open Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. General Admission is $5; tickets to the American Museum of Natural History Exhibition are $15 for adults and $10 for children up to 12 years of age (includes General Admission). Tickets to the Discovery Room are $10 (includes General Admission), and tickets to everything are $20 for adults and $15 for children. To purchase tickets, visit http://www.museumatpf.org.


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