When saavy travelers hear “The Tate”, the first thoughts that often spring up in their minds are the very legendary and trendy galleries in Great Britain, including the Tate Britain and Tate Modern in London. Yet more than 5,000 miles to the west of these Tates which dot the British Isles resides another Tate venue. While this particular Tate isn’t connected to the four in jolly ol’ England, it houses collections of artifacts that are just as noteworthy, and pre-date the showpieces in the UK by millions of years!
Located on the campus of Casper College in Casper, Wyoming, the Tate Geological Museum was founded in 1980 through a generous gift by Marion and Inez Tate. Mr Tate had been a career oil geologist. The museum displays over 3,000 specimens of dinosaur fossils, minerals, and jade. Jade are semi-precious gemstones that come in different colors, from various shades of green to near white and near black.
One of the best aspects of the Tate Geological Museum is its very informative website: http://www.caspercollege.edu/tate/webpage.asp . It is here where future visitors to the museum can get a sneak peek of what is housed in the museum. A “virtual tour” of the Cottonwood Creek Dinosaur Trail, located in Alcova, Wyoming (30 miles southwest of Casper), is available. And those who want answers to questions like “What color were dinosaurs?” or “Wyoming used to be under the ocean, right?” can find explanations here.
The Tate’s gift shop has geological books and other publications for sale as well as fossil replicas, rocks, minerals, and dinosaur models for the Jurassic Park enthusiast.
Programs for children of all ages are available throughout the year, including fossil work in the Tate’s Prep Lab for ages 8-up. Contact the museum for up to date information on these programs.
The Tate’s address is: Tate Geological Museum, Casper College, 125 College Drive, Casper, Wyoming 82601. Phone: 307-268-2447. Website: http://www.caspercollege.edu/tate/webpage.asp. Admission is FREE! Like most museums, The Tate Geological Museum appreciates donations and volunteer help.
To get the most out of your visit to Casper, go to the Casper Area Convention and Visitor’s Bureau website, which is: http://www.casperwyoming.info. Address: 992 N. Poplar St., Casper, Wyoming 82601. Phone: 307-234-5362 or 1-800-852-1889 within the USA.
DID YOU KNOW: The first collection of geological finds that were publically displayed reportedly date back to 1622 when Francesco Calzolari of Verona, Italy, showcased his personal collection of plant, animal, and mineral specimens at his pharmacy called “The Golden Bell”. In 1683, The Ashmolean Museum (www.ashmol.ox.ac.uk) in Oxford, England, opened, and became instrumental in the teaching of natural sciences, showcasing geological finds as well. America’s oldest museum happens to be The Charleston Museum (www.charlestonmuseum.org), located in South Carolina. It opened in 1773, and from the beginning, displayed geological specimens from its surrounding areas.