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Rutgers Geology Museum Hosts 50th Annual Open House

Ancient Artifacts on Display at Free Event on Rutgers' Main Campus
Mastodon Skeleton
Mastodon skeleton on display at Rutgers Geology Museum Benjamin Clapp

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ–The Rutgers University Geology Museum will host its annual "Open House and Mineral Sale" on Saturday, January 27 in New Brunswick.

This year marks the open house event's 50th anniversary.

The museum - a hidden gem and one of the best kept secrets on Rutgers' historic campus - has been open to the public since 1872 and features one of the oldest collegiate geology collections in the United States.

The festivities will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at two locations, including Geology Hall at 85 Somerset Street, and inside Scott Hall at 43 College Avenue.

Museum Open House visitors can park at any of the Rutgers parking lots that are nearby Scott Hall and the Geology Museum.

Science-lovers of all ages can enjoy the extraordinary collection of minerals, fossils, and ancient artifacts, as well as the massive mastodon skeleton that towers high above the central floor of the museum.

The remains of the now-extinct creature were discovered in Mannington, New Jersey in 1869.

Other featured exhibits include the recently-unveiled replica skull of a 13 million-year-old human and ape ancestor known as "Alesi," and the actual mummified remains of Egyptian priestess, Iset-Ha.

The priestess is on display along with her sarcophagus and several other Egyptian artifacts dating back to the Ptolemaic period of Egypt, circa 320 to 30 B.C.E.

The museum's extensive collection of rare rocks and minerals will also be on display, including "fluorite and some varieties of calcite, (which) possess the unique property that they fluoresce, or glow, when exposed to ultraviolet light," according to the museum's website.

"New Jersey is home to a stunning array of florescent minerals that are not found anywhere else in the world," reads the site.

The event will feature a full day of informative presentations covering topics from ape and human anthropological discoveries, to the geology and structure of Eastern North America and the Appalachian Mountains.

Hands-on activity sessions for kids ages 8 and up will be taking place throughout the day, giving youngsters a chance to learn about such scientific studies as "Tracking Skulls" and "Mapping Our World."

Kids are also invited to get active at the make-and-take arts and crafts activity tables between 11 am and 2:30 pm, with featured activity tables in the museum presented by:

In addition the Rutgers MakerSpace will be hosting activities in Room 207 of Scott Hall.

Along with the day's full schedule of events, museum's mineral sale - one of the biggest of its kind in the state - will offer a broad variety of rocks, minerals, and fossils for purchase.