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The Natural History Museum on BYUH campus

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Whether you’ve heard of it or not, the Museum of Natural History on the BYU-Hawaii campus is considered an “undiscovered jewel of BYUH,” according to Kerstin Orgill, sophomore biology major from Colorado.The museum is under the direction of Dr. Phillip L. Bruner, associate professor at BYUH, and is located right across from Hale 2 and next to the Security office by the biology classrooms. The museum was dedicated in 1978, and inside one can find the articulated and disarticulated skeletons of amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals, and liquid-preserved fish and invertebrates. The mission statement of the Museum of Natural History claims to support educational instruction at BYUH through interactive tours and lectures. Hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.“I really want the students here to know how cool the museum is and to come visit,” said Orgill, who works as the museum curator. In this position Orgill is responsible for museum tours and making sure everything is smooth sailing. The tours are for local schools and community members, but scientists also come to the museum as part of their research studies.Under the direction of Bruner, Orgill makes sure all goes according to plan. Part of the museum is a lab for biology students to do species preparation. This is part of skeletal research. In the back room of the museum, there is a collection of skin, bone, and shell identification and cataloging done by students who work for Dr. Roger Goodwill, a biology professor.Orgill said there is little advertisement for the Museum of Natural History even though she tries her best to encourage friends other people she meets to come visit. She said the main reason some come into the museum is for the cold air conditioning when it’s hot outside.Sara Lecheminant, a senior ICS major from Utah, said, ”I’ve never been to the museum. I didn’t even know about it until one of my roommates went there on a date.”The government and various hunters have donated the animal displays. Some of the displays include a gorilla head from Africa, a Chamois from Germany, a polar bear, a brown bear that stands over 8 feet tall, and a moose from Alaska. There are also several different birds for display, adding to the collection of unique animals not found in the Hawaiian Islands.Animals on display that are native to the islands include the Hawaiian Boar and Spanish Goat from the island of Molokai.Jessica Yuen, an accounting senior from Hong Kong who also works at the museum, said, “When the kids come from the elementary school, some of them have never seen a life-size moose. The kids get so excited that within the next few days they bring their families.” Yuen also said she enjoys working at the museum because there are animals, like the porcupine, she had never seen before.Uploaded Feb. 19, 2015.
Writer: Jessica Tautfest