Hometown Pride Tour: The Whiteside Museum of Natural History

Hometown Pride Tour: The Whiteside Museum of Natural History

Below the ground of Baylor County lies history from millions of years ago, history that's on display at the Whiteside Museum of Natural History.

"This museum is a gem, it's fantastic," said volunteer Darlene Sumerfelt.

But that wasn't always the case.

"Dating back to the 1890s, none of the fossils from this area really stayed here. They always went to the Smithsonian, Harvard, and Princeton so the community never really had a chance to learn about the incredible fossils here," said Museum Director Christopher Flis.

That's when Judge Clyde Whiteside stepped in.

"He had wanted a museum for many, many years and in the last decade or so he really saw the amount of paleontology work that was done here. Kind of gave him the push to get the museum going," said Flis.

The museum officially opened in 2014 but is just now debuting some of their bigger projects.

"The site we're digging is constantly producing incredible material. We're seeing new species, new genera, lots of new animals in general that have never been described before," said Flis.

The newest addition? Bonnie, a complete skeleton of a Dimetrodon.

"She's about 290 million years old and represents one of the earliest Synapsids which is something that is very closely related to mammals. So we're seeing some of the very distant, distant relatives of our own type of animal here in Seymour," said Flis.

Flis said this is the purpose of the museum, to show why this area is so special scientifically.

"Very rewarding to see that they are finally getting to experience this that has been here scientifically known for a hundred years but that's just now that they're getting to experience it and realize it's staying here and they can see it all the time," said Flis.

In addition to the fossils on display, there's live animal exhibits and a prep lab that you can tour and see what fossils are being cleaned to get ready for display.

"The prep lab is a big hit as well because kids can use the microscopes and actually see real paleontologists working on real fossils," said Flis.

The Whiteside Museum of Natural History is open Tuesday through Sunday and is located in downtown Seymour.

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