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UW geo museum getting a high-dollar rebuild
The University of Wyoming's familiar geology museum was closed briefly in 2009 for lack of funds but now has $700,000 on hand to begin long-awaited renovation. UW photo

On the rocks just 3 years ago, UW geo museum getting a high-dollar rebuild

May 1, 2012 - The Associated Press

LARAMIE -- The University of Wyoming Geological Museum will close on May 7 for its first significant renovation in decades.

The museum closed briefly in the summer of 2009 due to state budget cuts, drawing attention from fans of the museum from around the world. When the museum reopened in August 2009, it was with the help of private funds from the UW Foundation.

It now has an endowment fund of more than $1 million.

The renovation project aims to make the museum a focal point for student and faculty research, while giving the public an appreciation of Wyoming's geologic history and mineral resources.

Before it closes for the summer's worth of work, however, the public has a chance to grab one last look at the venerable museum -- and to get a glimpse of the facility's future.

The UW Geological Museum pre-renovation reception is scheduled Thursday, May 3, from 7-9 p.m. Activities begin with a presentation by Terry Chase, designer of the planned museum improvements, at 7 p.m. in the Berry Biodiversity Conservation Center auditorium. The group will then move to the Geological Museum to see its pre-renovation condition and learn about its future, including viewing mock-ups of some design ideas.

The museum closed briefly in the summer of 2009 due to state budget cuts, drawing attention from fans of the museum from around the world. When the museum reopened in August 2009, it was with the help of private funds from the UW Foundation. Shortly after that, noted UW supporters Brainerd "Nip" and Anne Mears donated $570,000 to support the museum. Matched by state funds, the endowment now totals $1.14 million.

A second fund, in memory of noted geologist S.H. Knight, was created later in 2009. With state matching dollars, it has reached $250,000, joining with the Mears endowment to generate operating money for the 56-year-old facility.

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