Thursday, August 27, 2009

Montana's News Station Got It Right

Short and to the point, KTVQ's article, linked here, listed the facts of the recent AP release.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Article and Corrections

Here is a link to an article in today's Wyoming Tribune Eagle:

Please note that I have added a couple corrections in the form of a comment, which should appear after the article on the comments board.


Monday, August 24, 2009

Correction on Hours

Here is a correction of the hours listed by the University of Wyoming press release of 8/22 and the Sunday Boomerang article, per Art Snoke, Department Head, Department of Geology and Geophysics:

...article on the front page of the Sunday (8/23), Boomerang lists incorrect information about the opening hours of the UW Geological Museum. The UW Geological Museum will be open TWThF from 1:00 pm-4:00 pm, Sat. 10:00 am-2 pm, and Sunday, noon-4:00 pm. Please note that there are different opening hours for Saturday and Sunday. I realize that the UW News Release of August 22nd titled: "UW Geological Museum Opens Tuesday" also listed incorrect hours for Sunday. We have posted notices on the doors to the UW Geological Museum to inform visitors of the correct opening hours.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Statement and Thanks

First, thanks to the folks at Turtle Rock Coffee for collecting $35 donations for the Friends of the SH Knight Geological Museum effort. You can find a link to Turtle Rock's website on our "Supporting Businesses" sidebar. This has been a preferred location for Friends meetings this summer.

In response to the many questions asked of us with the advent of the fall semester and announcement of part-time museum hours in a Saturday, August 22, university press release, the Friends of the SH Knight Geological Museum issues the following statement:
 University of Wyoming administration decided to close the geological museum on campus effective July 1. A nonprofit community benefit organization, the Friends acknowledges the public’s general disagreement with this decision, expressed in letters to state and university leaders and newspaper editors, signing of petitions, and direct correspondence with the Friends.
 A Saturday, July 18, university press release announcing the decision to reopen the museum part-time with security in place resulted in further outcry from the general public, university alumni and scientific , education, and museum communities through additional letters, editorials, professional statements and participation in an online newspaper survey.
 In direct response to the August 22 press release stating “the UW Foundation provided funding for a part-time security guard to ensure the safety of the collection,” the Friends understands that in the 122 years of existence of the geological museum, those visiting from the university and wider communities had done so for the learning opportunity and that the museum display collections must be protected for the people, not from the people. In addition, presence of a curator during those years enhanced visitors’ interaction with the displays.
 University administration has stated that state budget cuts were the sole factor in the closure of the museum. State block grant funding had provided the museum’s entire $80,000 annual operating budget, including curator and office assistant salaries, utilities and other operating expenses. The museum itself did not have a development director and was prohibited from seeking larger outside financial contributions over the years.
 Despite these constraints, the curator was able to maintain a museum recognized not only locally and across the State of Wyoming, but nationally and internationally as well, as a topnotch scientific, educational and research facility.
 The museum brought uncalculated economic benefit to Laramie and the state, including from tourists all across the country who planned vacations to Wyoming just to see Big Al.
 With the sudden June announcement that the museum would close on July 1, those of the general public and scientific, educational and museum communities who know firsthand the value of the museum have helped bring awareness to the administration of its importance.
 Now that administration has agreed to convene a university group and to allow the Department of Geology and Geophysics to pursue a plan for a fully staffed reopening of the museum in the future, the Friends looks forward positively. We will continue to collect and hold contributions to this effort in our nonprofit account through the Laramie Community Foundation, 505 S. Third Street, Suite 100, Laramie, WY 82070.
 The Friends does not agree with the present part-time solution and has not relinquished monies given the organization to the part-time opening of the museum with a security guard. As we maintain our mission to pursue fully functional status of the museum, we will turn over those funds only to an option in which monies are insured to be used solely for this purpose.
Questions may be directed to

Article in Sunday Boomerang

UW Geological Museum reopens this week

Boomerang Staff Writer

After being closed for nearly two months, the S.H. Knight Geological Museum will reopen its doors to students and the public at 1 p.m. Tuesday.

But things won’t be exactly as they were before: When the museum was overseen by former curator Brent Breithaupt, the facility operated on an $80,000 annual budget which allowed it to be open 40 hours per week. That funding came to UW in the Wyoming Legislature’s block grant of nearly $200 million.

Now, the museum will be open 20 hours per week: from 1-4 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays during the academic year.

It is also being funded by monies provided by the University of Wyoming Foundation to the tune of $8,000 per semester, UW Communications Director Jessica Lowell said.

“The plan is to have someone there during those hours (of operation). These were funds that the foundation could spend on anything, so the foundation and (UW Foundation President) Ben Blaylock stepped up and found this money so we could staff it and get it open to the public again,” Lowell said.

The funds provided will pay a part-time security guard to oversee the museum and collections.

The Geological Museum was closed as just one of the many steps that UW took to cut 10 percent — or $18.3 million — from the annual budget at the request of Gov. Dave Freudenthal.

Peter Baumann’s e-mail address is

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Another Saturday Press Release

News Release

UW Geological Museum Opens Tuesday

Aug. 22, 2009 --The University of Wyoming Geological Museum will be open on a part time basis beginning Tuesday, Aug. 25.

The museum hours will be 1-4 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays during the 2009-0 academic year. It will be closed Mondays.

The museum is able to open because the UW Foundation provided funding for a part-time security guard to ensure the safety of the collection. UW President Tom Buchanan has thanked the Foundation for its support in securing funding to make the collections accessible for public viewing.

The museum closed June 30 as one of a series of steps taken to meet an $18.3 million state budget cut that took effect July 1.

Posted on Saturday, August 22, 2009

Friday, August 21, 2009

7th Grader's Petition

The Friends of the S.H. Knight Geological Museum had a V.I.P. stop by the booth at Farmer's Market on Friday, August 21st.

Kyle Gonzales, the 7th Grader who started the petition to "Please reopen the geological museum"; stopped by the booth to say hello. We were able to show him that 1363 individuals, many from out of state as well as out of the country have signed the petition.

We would like to thank everyone that has taken the time to sign the petition and support Kyle in his wish to reopen the museum. The Friends would also like to thank Kyle for his initiative in starting this signature drive and giving the people of Laramie an opportunity to show their support.


All, my laptop crashed last week before I was able to save the database on an external hard drive. I have three letters written and ready to send to people saying thank you for your recent donation to Friends of the SH Knight Geological Museum; unfortunately, I no longer have the addresses for these folks so cannot send them. Therefore, I will thank you all publicly and ask that you e-mail Friends with a mailing address for future reference. I apologize for the inconvenience.

Thank you:
Mr. and Mrs. Burns
Ms. Bahnsen and Kenworthy
Mr. Capozella

A quick reminder that Friends will be set up at the Laramie Farmers Market this afternoon from 3-7 with new t-shirts for sale to show your support of the museum. Stop in and see us!


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Visit the Friends

Friends of SH Knight Geological Museum will be at the Laramie Farmers Market Friday, August 21, from 3-7PM. You can buy a t-shirt to show your support for the museum and talk to Friends with questions and concerns.

We hope to see you on this busy weekend as students return to the university for the fall semester.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Casper-Star Tribune Story: UW needs to admit error

Editor: During the past few months we have followed the public disappointment concerning the closing of the University of Wyoming Geological Museum through the letters to the editor of the Laramie Boomerang. The letters are passionate, heartfelt, and numerous. A large majority of the letters are in favor of maintaining the museum with the guidance, experience, and enthusiasm of Brent Breithaupt.

After weeks of reading the letters and listening to public opinions, we, too, believe that Breithaupt should be at the helm of the museum, a museum that draws students and tourists of all ages and is a unit of learning within a unit of learning.

For more of this story, click on or type the URL below:

Monday, August 17, 2009

Letter in Today's Casper paper


Recently the University of Wyoming president’s outbox has been graced with the news that the Geology Museum will be reopening, part-time and hamstrung, Aug. 24. To many geology or paleontology enthusiasts or those bringing children up in Wyoming, this may be perceived as a desirable response to the myriad petitions, letters to the editor and blog posts decrying the misappropriation of Tom Buchanan’s heavy ax.

This should not be revered as a victory; rather, it is a dire insult. The partial reopening is a direct result of the public response to the Geo Museum’s closure, with funding from the private sources of the UW Foundation, beefed up by donations of protesters putting their money where their mouth is. But this grand reopening will be missing one vital ingredient: curator Brent Breithaupt.

Breithaupt was a year and a half away from early retirement, making this a notable portion of Buchanan’s intended budget savings. Whether this is a consequence of personal vendetta or simply the unfeeling disregard for a contract, other UW employees should be up in arms about the poor treatment of their colleagues. Excepting those with tenure, outrage should follow the simple fact that the rusted scissors of Atropos’ ugly twin sister, the UW Board of Trustees, may find them next.

The cutting of the museum from the UW budget is indicative of a potentially systemic disregard for the inspiration of developing generations. We know the Jackson retreat where the budget cuts were hatched was contracted and nonrefundable; what the administration’s retort fails to acknowledge is that curtailing the administration’s mindset that produces these costs would save vastly more money than closing the museum.

Some advice to those who may still wield some leverage: for graduates of Wyoming high schools, think twice before falling back on UW; at second consideration, you may just manage to make it to the school of your dreams. Wealthy alums that feel indebted to give back to the good ol’ U of Wyo; hold onto it. Tell the tele-representative you’d like to see some changes in the administrative direction this place is taking and be specific. If it is by mail you send your potential contribution, replace the check with a heartfelt essay explaining the amount your envelope would contain if only certain changes were made.


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Dog Day Afternoon

The Friends of the S.H. Knight Geological Museum was at Dog Day Afternoon at Washington Park from 12:00- 4:00pm today.

We would like to thank all of the supporters who stopped by to chat, made donations and offered to write letters.

We still have T-shirts and wristbands for sale. Our next event will be Farmer's Market on Friday, August 21st.


If you are in or near Laramie, please join us at Dog Days in Washington Park this afternoon (Sunday, August 16). You can buy your new t-shirt there to show your support of the geological museum, and there will be goodies on hand for the kids.

I was just cruising the university website for upcoming events to share in an e-mail newsletter I am responsible for sending twice a week to a huge list of people, and I came across an article from May 29 that many of us have seen, but this is still on the website and it renewed my disappointment- and enthusiasm. Despite all the effort put into this book, and plans for expanding on the world famous Big Al display with more materials in the museum, the entire program was scrapped.

And despite public outcry from visitors, the paleo and educational and museum communities, we will have only a part-time museum when the semester begins, and no one thus far to lead tours or answer questions. We don't even know what the hours of operation will be.

The Friends has suggested a two-year plan to have the museum fully staffed and operational while the Geology Department works on a long-term plan. Despite warnings that this short-term solution would not be accepted, I personally sincerely hope that we will nonetheless approach the people who have the power to make it a reality and not just an idea, and that the public will see a fully functioning museum again sooner than 2 or 3 years down the road.

We can make this happen. See how much we all have done so far to keep the issue alive and the ball rolling. Please continue to show your support. Be at the museum on August 24 en masse. Buy a t-shirt to keep the museum visible. Write another letter to the editor, and to trustees and administrators if you have not yet done so.

Thanks for your support of this scientifically, educationally and historically significant Wyoming institution.

Respectfully, Lisa

On to the article that spurred my words:

Book to Tell Story of Big Al the Allosaurus

May 29, 2009 -- Young readers can learn all about Big Al, the most complete dinosaur ever found in Wyoming, by reading a new book about this Allosaurus who roamed Wyoming 145 million years ago.

"The Story of Big Al: Saving a Dinosaur for the Future" is an illustrated 71-page book released by the University of Wyoming Geological Museum, Wyoming State Geological Survey and the Museum of the Rockies. Copies cost $15 each.

It includes pictures designed especially for this book plus never-before-seen photos of Big Al's excavation, says Brent Breithaupt, UW Geological Museum director.

"This book presents a picture of the life and times of an important dinosaur and walks young readers through every aspect of the dinosaur discovery, collection, research, storage and display," Breithaupt says.

It shows some of the state-of-the-art research techniques done on Big Al and explains how the dinosaur, found on public lands, was saved for future generations by the Bureau of Land Management and a team of paleontologists, students and volunteers.

The long-awaited book has been in production for more than 10 years, says Breithaupt, and comes out 18 years after Big Al was discovered near Shell. Breithaupt and Pat Leiggi were the lead paleontologists in the excavation, made famous when it was featured on the BBC's "Walking with Dinosaurs."

A cast of Big Al can be seen at the UW Geological Museum, and several new Big Al displays are scheduled for this year.

The museum is open Monday-Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and weekends from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

To purchase a copy of "The Story of Big Al: Saving a Dinosaur for the Future," call Matt Friess at (307) 766-2286, go online at or visit the Geological Survey Building located just east of the UW Geological Museum.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Farmers Market Footage

Copy and paste the following to your browser to see the latest from Red State Road Trip on the Geological Museum. Thanks, Chris.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Dog Days Afternoon - Sunday August 16

Please stop by our booth at Dog Days Afternoon on Sunday, August 16th at Washington Park. Come out and show your support. Purchase a great shirt or wristband to support the re-opening of a fully reinstated S.H. Knight Geological Museum.

The event is from Noon to 4:00pm.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Show Your Support !!!

The posted items will be for sell at the following events; Dog Day Afternoon, Sunday August 16th from 12:00pm-4:00pm at Washington Park and at Farmer's Market Downtown, Friday August 21st from 3:00pm-7:00pm.

The price for the wristbands are $2.00 each
The prices for the T-Shirts are as follows:
Youth Sizes $12.00
Adult Sizes $15.00
XXL Size $17.00

Sizes available- Youth: small, medium, large and extra large
Adult: x-small, small, medium, large, extra large and XXL

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Final Tally

We just received the final tally on responses to the Casper Star Tribune's recent online poll concerning the fate of the Geological Museum. Here they are:

Here are the final poll results:
Yes, reopen it full time 4,488 votes (76 pct.)
Yes, open it part time 1,221 (21 pct.)
No, close it full time 119 (2 pct.)
Turn it into a skate park 94 (2 pct.)

Community Colleges Cut Spending, But

not one program is cut entirely, unlike what has happened with our only 4 year university.

See the story here:
to find how community colleges across Wyoming are handling state-imposed budget cuts without cutting entire programs.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Letter: Why Wait?

We are still waiting to hear from the University of Wyoming Board of Trustees to explain why the Geology Museum was summarily closed (part-time opening is not the answer.) Here are some points to consider:

1. Although "necessary budget cuts" was given as the reason for the closure, that is obviously not the case because offers from private parties to pay Brent Breithaupt's salary and to help with expenses at the museum were bluntly refused, with no explanation.

2. In the face of considerable public outcry and offers of financial help, according to an Associated Press article in last Sunday's Boomerang, UW President Buchanan, again bluntly stated that "--- Breithaupt isn't being hired back." Why, of the 45 positions eliminated, is only Breithaupt's being singled out for special comment?

3. It becomes increasingly obvious that this is a personal vendetta against the museum, its director, or the geology department itself.

4. This closure, along with other budget cuts, was done in an arrogant manner. Credit cards kept by staff members were cancelled without notice--- causing both embarrassment and financial hardship to all of those whose positions were cancelled. Why? Surely there was time to give at least a short notice of the closures.

5. This treatment of UW personnel will surely make it difficult to attract talented people in the future.

6. Obviously hard work was necessary on the part of the Board of Trustees to cut the budget of an entire universioty in the face of today's economy, but there is a vast difference between down sizing a department or service and closing a museum that is widely recognized for its excellence. The geology museum is an icon not only for UW, but for the city of Laramie and the state of Wyoming, displaying our unique, rich heritage of geology and paleontology. Closing it seems counterproductive, antagonizing both alumni and disappointed visitors, and this closure will have a significant effect on the economy of Laramie and the state. Seeing dinosaurs are (sic) at the top of many visitors' agendas when they visit Wyoming.

7. The University of Wyoming belongs to the people of Wyoming--- not the Board of Trustees. This board owes the people of the state an open accounting of their actions, which has not been forthcoming in this case. Is this board becoming too political? Perhaps the members of this board of trustees should be on our ballots, chosen by popular vote instead of being appointed by the governor.

8. Bottom line--- someone in the University hierarchy has accumulated enough power to force the decision to close the Geology Museum on the people of Wyoming without explanation--- this is unacceptable.

Amy M. Lawrence
UW graduate, BA Journalism, MA Historical Preservation

This letter was printed in today's Laramie Boomerang. We need more. Consider these points and hold leaders to task for a poor decision still unecxplained to the people who live in Wyoming and pay their taxes, and those who pay tuition to attend the University. Write the Board of Trustees, state and local political leaders, President Tom Buchanan, and newspaper editors. Friends of the SH Knight Geological Museum can provide contact lists. E-mail us at

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Story: Take money and rehire curator- Casper Star Aug. 2

Editor: The UW Geology Museum has been a treasure to the University of Wyoming, Wyoming, the United States, and the world for 122 years. For the last 29 years, it has been an outstanding place of knowledge purveyance, excitement, and research under the expert and excellent direction of its curator, Brent Breithaupt. He has the ability to excite students of all ages about science, and to arouse their desire to continue their learning (including current and future UW students). He has kept the museum fun, educational, and growing by acquiring many new exhibits and interpreting them with the most current facts and scientific research. His own outreach has brought much positive admiration and praise to UW from throughout Wyoming and the globe.

Now, one ridiculous decision follows another from the UW administration. The absurdity to cut Dr. Breithaupt's position and the support for the UW Geology Museum is now compounded by the insane not...

For more of this story, click on or type the URL below: