Carnegie Museum of Natural History

We are camped at an RV park in New Stanton, Pennsylvania, about 30 miles away from Pittsburgh.  We drove in to Pittsburgh on Thursday to see the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.  Not surprisingly, they had “museum quality” fossils.

Triassic Crocodilan

They were mostly arranged with painted backdrops with a lot of attention paid to natural poses.

Diplodicus stalked by a carnivore

Many of them were dinosaurs that were popular (so to speak) when I was growing up.  I remember having about a half a dozen or so molded plastic models of them.

Stegosaurus
Protoceratops

Pachycephalosaurus
Triceratops

And what fossil collection is complete without having a Tyrannosaurus Rex on hand?

T Rex

These were originally mounted in a more upright position with their tail dragging but have since been recognized to be a far more dynamic animal.

There were also many fossils still in stone mounted behind glass.

Crinoid
Archaeopteryx

It’s also since been recognized that birds are dinosaurs.  Whether any bird alive today is a descendant of Archaeopteryx is unlikely since at the time it was fossilized there were animals that would be recognized as true birds and for this reason Archaeopteryx is a bit of an anomaly but it was the first fossil that showed feathers.

Fossil Sea Turtle from the Cretaceous

We were eating some lunch when a fire alarm went off and we had to evacuate the building.

We were told late that it was a fire in an oven in the kitchen and after about 45 minutes in the heat and humidity we were allowed to go back in.

The Carnegie Museum of Natural History has a very good although not stupendous collection of fossils.  I think that the Houston Museum of Natural History is a bit better, in part because the fossils it has covers a much wider span of time and in part because I think they were displayed better.

The museum is eminently handicap accessible.  Handicap parking is located near the entrance and there were no lips or other impediments to entering or walking around the museum.  The bathrooms were reasonably handicap accessible although as usual Susan reports that the handicap stall was too small and it was hard to close the door after she entered.  One point is that when evacuating we had to go up and down several ramps that did not have a hand rail.  This is okay when somebody is pushing a wheelchair but difficult for anybody in a wheelchair in assistance to use.