Central Montana Prospectors
Central Montana Prospectors

Fossil Hunting, July 9-10

Malta Dinosaur Museum

     Montana is full of fossils. It was suggested to go in search in old gravel pits in eastern Montana by the Styx N Stones guy Mark Amundson from the Four West Art League last year when I was setting up plans for outings.

     When I created the plan for Treasure Hunting in Montana I put it on the plans with one call to Gar C. Woods & Associates in Loma to set up a planned outing. He knew of a local gravel pit that we could use and was willing to take us there at the pre-arranged time.

     As time got closer I learned the owner had died and the land had been sold and now big trucks are loading gravel and the safety would not be there nor permission with the new owners.

     As we arrived at the Loma Museum we learned it had just opened after 10 years of being closed.  The entire museum is all about rocks and fossils. Their sapphire pile and display is worth tens of thousands of dollars. Never really seen that many sapphires raw and cut in one little space.

     It was established long ago and many of the displays are from an era long ago, but beautiful specimens of all things of the mineral kind. They even have a dinosaur bone that someone painted brown before it was ever donated. Then the family that donated it came through and asked for it back last year. Nope, ain’t nothing doing. I am sure it is worth a lot.

      Gar has lived in Loma for 66 years, has a master’s degree in archaeology from a Wyoming University with undergraduate work at MSU. He is very knowledgeable about the area and can answer fossil related questions and history of the area.

     He would make arrangements to take you to a gravel pit nearby that you can dig in if you want to contact him at 406 739-4224 or 7outhome@ttc-cmc.net. His grandsons will help also; they are delightful assists.

     The Dinosaur Museum in Malta is full of replicas, displays and information about dinosaurs. The museum guide is a paleontologist from MSU and in a doctorate program with the Uof Toronto. He answers any of your questions in regards to fossils and fossil hunting which is under separate rule from rocks. He was one of Jack Horner’s students and keep regular contact with him. Your dinosaur desires could be answered with a stop at this museum. Amazing.

     It is done in a display style similar to the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman. Lots of stories of lives of dinosaurs. In down time Kary works in the shop fixing up specimen cradles for safe keeping of the local finds in the museum workshop visibly open so you can see how preservation work is done.

     Another aspect of our fossil run up north was the stopping at the Chinook Wildlife Museum and the Blaine County Museum. Both of these stops were well worth it to me as I would never have suspected these gems lay just off the beaten path of the US highway.

     The Wildlife Museum was full of all the regular critters that inhabit Montana’s land. There were displays just like you would find in major museums in the US. The bear was in his den, the buffalo were falling off the buffalo jump, the moose was walking the brush. The specimens were very well preserved and displayed in real life atmosphere. The staff will tell you about the other museum doors away.

     The other museum is the Blaine County Museum which is full of dinosaur section, another of native history and artifacts, prairie life displays, and antiques of historical value for the plains of Montana. This museum is for free which is a good boone. All the others charged a nominal fee. I appreciated the fact that someone is supporting this educational effort for the visitors from all over.

    Thus ended the 4 stop shop of the Loma Museum, the Blaine County, the Wildlife and the Dinosaur Museum in Malta. It is a great opportunity to take guests to see this trail of artifacts presented in very good style.

 

 

Loma & Chinook Museums

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