City May Lose Dinosaur Museum

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Highlands Prehistoric Museum, with its impressive T. rex skeleton and other dinosaur fossils, may soon be leaving Cookeville, Tennessee, reports the Herald-Citizen. While this could be bad news for locals, another city may house the museum in future, as owner Jerry Jacene is currently considering an offer from a different Tennessee city as well as two offers from out of state.

The museum will soon feature a display on woolly rhino bones from China, lent by a private collector. A cast of the fossils will be made so the prehistoric bones could lead to a more permanent exhibit.

Visitors can also see paleontology in progress. Jacene and earth science students from Tennessee Tech are now excavating a 11x8 slab of Montana earth that contains multiple dinosaur fossils. The slab is at the museum, with a special viewing area that allows the public to watch the researchers extract the bones.

Most of the museum's 100-400 visitors per week come from out of state. It's hoped that a move would increase those numbers. But, for now, it sounds like Jacene is keeping all options open.
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