Geosciences Museum Celebrates New Home at Miller Nichols Library

Crinoids – or “starfish on a stick” – are local standouts of collection
Geosciences Museum's new home

The heart of downtown is now home to lofts, shops and stylish watering holes, but 10th and Grand was once a shallow sea.  Excavators uncovered at least 400 crinoid specimens – or “starfish on a stick” – there in 1889. These ancient creatures, part of the numerous minerals and fossil specimens that make up the collection of the Richard L. Sutton, Jr. Geosciences Museum, have found a new home in Miller Nichols Library.  

The new museum space creates a better experience for both casual visitors and serious enthusiasts. Located across from the LaBudde Special Collections on the third floor of the library, the exhibition space is larger than its former location and will be open regular library hours. Glass walls allow viewing of specimens even when the museum is closed. Upgraded LED lighting provides a better experience while saving energy. 

 Several new fossils and minerals have been added to the exhibit.

“We are very proud to welcome Chewy, the new juvenile mammoth fossil we have acquired with grant funding from the Kemper Foundation,” says Megan Medley, an assistant in the Department of Geosciences. “We had Chewy’s lower jaw with three teeth, scapula, pelvis, femur, ribs and vertebra over at Union Station as part of the Dinosaurs Revisited exhibit during its duration. We are very happy that Chewy will be coming to UMKC.”

James Murowchick prepares Geoscience Museum display 

The museum opened in 1973, when Richard L. Sutton and UMKC Professor Eldon J. Parizek assembled much of the collection and display units. Sutton, a dermatologist, was an adjunct geology instructor who donated his personal collection of cephalopods — squid-like ocean dwellers — and fluid inclusions, which are rocks containing liquids, to the museum. Visitors will be able to tip a specimen of clear quartz and watch the trapped, primordial liquid move.

Join the staff of the Richard L. Sutton Jr. Geosciences Museum for its grand re-opening noon to 2 p.m. April 26.

The Geosciences Museum’s regular hours are Monday to Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday 1 to 11 p.m. with exceptions.


Private educational tours with Richard Gentile or Jim Murowchick can be scheduled through the Geosciences department by calling 816-235-1334.

Published: Apr 22, 2019

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