Aspiring Scientists Get a Hands-On Laboratory at Las Vegas Natural History Museum




The Richard Ditton Learning Lab to have its public grand opening on the

Museum’s observance of

“National Fossil Day,” Saturday, Oct. 8, 2016

LAS VEGAS, Nev. – The Las Vegas Natural History Museum is converting a 1,200 square-foot space into a working laboratory that will have three objectives; to serve as a paleontological and archaeological prep lab for college students, a research facility for science professionals and a live exhibit for Museum visitors of all ages. The Lab, the only one of its kind in Nevada, will align with the Museum’s mission to inspire, through educational exhibits and programs, a better understanding and appreciation of the natural world. A private cocktail reception with government officials will take place on Friday, Oct. 7 with the Lab opening to the public on Saturday, Oct. 8.

Last year, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) declared the Las Vegas Natural History Museum a federal repository for archeological and paleontological materials removed from BLM lands in southern Nevada. The Richard Ditton Learning Lab will house many of these excavated materials to be used for research and learning purposes as well as to be included in exhibits. Materials from Eureka and Clark County, as well as Valley of Fire, Lake Mead and Spring Mountain Ranch State Parks are being processed and examined at the Lab including various fossils and paleontological finds.

The Lab will connect students across southern Nevada, from youngsters entering public education to young adults entering the work force, to scientific discovery in action.  With the help of resident paleontologist and UNLV geo-science professor, Dr. Joshua Bonde, the Lab will give the public an opportunity to observe the process of science right before their eyes.

“The Museum is beginning to become involved in research in addition to its interpretive mission, so a public lab which allows visitors to observe ongoing research is exciting and shows the Museum’s level of engagement,” said Dr. Bonde. “Students can come to the Museum and learn the skills they need as aspiring paleontologists and together we can work to keep some of Southern Nevada’s natural treasures here in Southern Nevada.”

Opening to the general public on the Museum’s observance of “National Fossil Day,” Saturday, Oct. 8, 2016, the Learning Lab will closely engage audiences and aspiring scientists to share their passion and knowledge of natural history. The Fossil Day celebration will also feature the artwork from the 2nd annual Protectors of Tule Springs art contest: “Southern Nevada During the Pleistocene” hosted by the Las Vegas Natural History Museum.

The Las Vegas Natural History Museum opened in 1991 and is a private, non–profit institution dedicated to educating children, adults, and families in the natural sciences, both past and present.  Through its interactive exhibits, educational programs, and the preservation of its collections, the Museum strives to instill an understanding and appreciation of the world’s wildlife, ecosystems, and cultures. A Smithsonian Affiliate since 2002 and accredited by the American Alliance of Museums since 2013, the Museum was also declared a federal repository in 2015 allowing all archeological and paleontological finds in southern Nevada to be housed at the Museum. Please visit or call (702) 384–(DINO) 3466 for additional information.