A day at the provincial museum

22 November 2009. Edmonton, AB, Canada.

We finally made it to the Royal Alberta Museum across the river from the University of Alberta on Sunday, four months after settling down in this northern town.

I was quite pleased with the natural history exhibits at the museum; albeit a small museum by metropolitan standards, the RAM had the essential outreach and interactive programs that could educate visitors about the local wildlife history. In a oiltown such as this one, a nature program like this is more than one could ask for.

[the front entrance emblem of the Royal Alberta Museum, standing along the road on a chilly November morning.]

[the outreach classroom "Field Station" where presentations on local wildlife by outreach instructors are held.]

[a well-made (and gory) exhibit station on the process of decomposition and cycling of nutrients in nature.]

[one of the several panels showing the local freshwater fishes of the North Saskatchewan River; clockwise from top right: northern pike Esox lucius, burbot Lota lota, Iowa darter Etheostoma exile, spoonhead sculpin Cottus ricei, walleye Stizostedion vitreum, sauger Stizostedion canadense, trout-perch Percopsis omiscomaycus, and brook stickback Culaea inconstans.]

[a diorama of a family of coyotes Canis latrans living in the sand dunes of the Alberta plains.]

[a diorama of the pronghorn, Antilocapra americana, grazing on the prairies.]

I must also say that the taxidermy was beautifully done, and just as pretty as our own mounts in the North American Mammal Halls.

[a giant extinct beaver, Castoroides ohioensis of the Plio-Pleistocene Epochs. The skeleton is about the size of a large dog.]

Our day concluded with a Charles Darwin skit put on by their very own museum staff; the scene was set in 1859 with the publication of the Origin of Species and Darwin's apprehension regarding feedback of his work from the scientific and religious communities.

Just like Vitamin-D, a healthy dose of natural history learning from time to time is good for everyone.