Letter: Help fund the Museum at Dinosaur Junction
I am a 13-year-old who has spent much of my life researching the prehistoric world, having read countless books and visited two-dozen natural history museums across the continent. That is why my interest was piqued when I heard that a new dinosaur museum would be opening here in Eagle County and that the man in charge would be Billy Doran. Billy is a paleontologist who brings the prehistoric world alive with fabulous descriptions and storytelling. So far, his museum is terrific, featuring full skeletons of allosaurus, camarasaurus, and velociraptor. He also has skulls and footprints of many more species. But his museum has the potential to be much better with one simple step: funding.
During the Mesozoic era, a time of large continental shifts, Eagle county split time between being the ocean and land, always being along the shoreline. Due to this, the area is home to one of the richest and most diverse fossil beds in the world. A rare combination of creatures, including famous land animals like tyrannosaurus, triceratops and stegosaurus, along with sea giants like the mosasaur and elasmosaurus lived in Eagle County. This is why Billy’s small museum is special: it is like a time capsule that brings to life Eagle County’s incredible past.
So far, Billy has been receiving good donations, and he has built a solid museum. But in order to take it to the next level, Billy needs more money. The current museum is in the former cafeteria of the now-closed June Creek Elementary School. The room is large, but given the size of the dinosaurs Billy would like to display, he needs more space. The next step would be to rent out the auditorium, where he could display his breathtaking finds. Also, it is quite hard to display actual fossils: They are heavy, fragile, usually fragmented, and rare, making it so that usually it is expensive to put fossils on display, with a T-Rex skull alone costing $7,900. Also, at the moment, Billy is trying to get permits to remove eroding fossils from Bureau of Land Management property before the fossils get destroyed.
Billy himself is not only extremely friendly, but he’s also a great storyteller and a sublime educator. In the summer of 2021, I and two other people went to his dinosaur camp (Fossil Posse) in Wolcott. We loved it so much that my family later did a private tour of some fossil beds with Billy, which was a great experience for all of us. This past summer, we visited Billy’s newly opened museum for the first time. There, we were dazzled by fossils, and after a few minutes, Billy entered the museum and reunited with us. We talked for a while about the prehistoric world, and he also explained the difficulty and needs of his museum. Inspired by that, I am writing this piece and asking you to help fund the Museum at Dinosaur Junction.