Skip navigation

Dinosaur Fossils at the University of Wyoming Geological Museum Will No Longer Be On Public Display So That The University Of Wyoming May Continue To Spend Millions Of Tax Dollars On Losing Athletic Teams

Dinosaur Fossils at the University of Wyoming Geological Museum Will No Longer Be On Public Display So That The University Of Wyoming May Continue To Spend Millions Of Tax Dollars On Losing Athletic Teams

As an alum of UW, and a PhD recipient from the Department of Geology and Geophysics, I am naturally and profoundly disturbed at news of the closing of the Geological Museum and firing of the curator, Brent Breithaupt. The museum is one of the outstanding assets of the University and one of its most highly-recognized attributes. Internationally-known and locally-beloved, it is a gem–and a boon to the sciences of Geology, Paleontology and Biology; it should be prized and treasured, not closed.  I am writing to ask that you loudly voice your support for keeping the University of Wyoming Geological Museum open.

In recent years as I have toured much of the Pacific Basin filming segments for my television show I have met literally hundreds of people who know UW only because of the Geological Museum, Curator Breithaupt and the paleontological collections. A University that can waste untold millions on, let’s be honest, fairly lousy athletic programs certainly can afford to continue funding one of its most outstanding outreach programs, most beloved icons and most visible academic successes, especially given the comparatively marginal cost to do so.

Closure of the Museum is short-sighted in so many ways.  Not only does closure represent a relatively minor savings for the University, but from a community standpoint, the Geological Museum is a huge focus of many tourist visits to Laramie—closure of the Museum will result in an enormous loss in tourist re-lated revenue for the town.  I doubt the local businesses recognize how many people come from all over the country just to see this museum…people who have no other reason to visit Laramie or spend money there.  Founded 122 years ago, the museum also is an integral part of the history of the University of Wyoming and Department of Geology and Geophysics; part of the grand tradition of American paleontology in general and Wyoming geological exploration in particular.  In addition, the museum and attendant paleontological research program are an amazing educational resource not just for Laramie but for the entire state of Wyoming.

When the museum is closed, an important part of Wyoming history will be shuttered and the people of Wyoming will lose a significant portion of their heritage. Once closed it will difficult if not impossible to regain the Geological Museums robust resources, vibrancy and panache or its prominence in the international community of museums. How can the UW Trustees and Administration justify squandering millions on lack-luster athletic programs while hoarding the relative pennies it takes to save this unique and beloved treasure, proven academic resource and important piece of Wyoming history?  How can they so blithely rob the people of Wyoming of such a stunning and important part of their legacy and birthright?

In a personal e-mail, University of Wyoming Provost Myron Allen assured me that Christian intolerance, religious superstitions and irrational creationist beliefs have played no part in the closing of the Museum.  However, a quick survey shows that such scientific illiteracy and non-reality-based belief systems are rife among many of the the UW Trustees as well as a sizable number of Members of the Wyoming State Senate and House of Representatives; perhaps this explains the lack of vociferous opposition to this obscene and perverse misallocation of University resources.

The fact that, in this day and age, in this state, so many University Trustees, Senators and Congressmen do not understand the value of a Museum, the fundamentals of science nor even subscribe to any modern notion of science, underlines emphatically and exactly why this University has an absolute ethical responsibility and urgent need to keep this museum open.

In summary, people from all over the world know and love Brent Breithaupt and appreciate the incredible job he does…no one, NO ONE outside Wyoming remembers Fenis Dembo or any other Wyoming athlete. My father has a saying that applies directly: “Put your good where it will do the most”–and your “good” does the “most” by bringing what ever influence you have to bear on the Trustees and Administration of the University of Wyoming to continue to fund and support the UW Geological Museum and Brent Breithaupt, the curator. Please contact everyone you can think of to support keeping the museum open; and please let me know what more I can do to help avert this travesty of funding misallocation.


Donald B. MacGowan, PhD

More information can be found here.

Please contact the following individuals and institutions:
Important UW email Addresses:
President of the University of Wyoming
Tom Buchannan

Provost of the University of Wyoming
Prof. Myron Allen, Provost

Chairman, Department of Geology and Geophysics
Prof. Art Snoke

State Geologist
Dr. Ronald C. Surdam

Governor of the State of Wyoming
Governor Dave Freudenthal

Letters to the Editor:

University of Wyoming Trustees:
Jim D. Neiman

Warren A. Lauer

Dave Bostrom

Dick Davis

Betty Fear

Taylor Haynes, M.D.

David F.  Palmerlee

Bradford S. Mead

Ann Rochelle

James Trosper

Ex Officio Trustees:
Jim McBride

Kelsey Day

Elected Officials:
Members of the Wyoming House of Representatives
Representative Rodney “Pete” Anderson

Representative George Bagby

Representative Joseph M. Barbuto

Representative Rosie Berger

Representative Stan Blake

Representative Dave Bonner, Jr.

Representative Bob Brechtel

Representative Kermit C. Brown

Representative Edward A. Buchanan

Representative James W. Byrd

Representative Richard L. Cannady

Representative Seth Carson

Representative Pat Childers

Representative Roy Cohee

Representative Cathy Connolly

Representative Bernadine Craft

Representative Kathy Davison

Representative Ross Diercks

Representative Amy L. Edmonds

Representative Ken A. Esquibel

Representative Mike Gilmore

Representative Keith Gingery

Representative W. Patrick Goggles

Representative Mary Hales

Representative Timothy P. Hallinan, M.D.

Representative Debbie Hammons

Representative Steve Harshman

Representative Elaine D. Harvey

Representative Peter S. Illoway

Representative Allen M. Jaggi

Representative Peter M. Jorgensen

Representative Jack Landon, Jr.

Representative Thomas A. Lockhart

Representative Thomas E. Lubnau, II

Representative Michael K. Madden

Representative Robert M. McKim

Representative Del McOmie

Representative Erin E. Mercer

Representative Saundra Meyer

Representative David R. Miller

Representative Lori Millin

Representative Glenn Moniz

Representative John W. Patton

Representative Frank Peasley

Representative Bryan K. Pedersen

Representative Owen Petersen

Representative Frank Philp

Representative Lorraine K. Quarberg

Representative Jim Roscoe

Representative Mark A. Semlek

Representative Lisa A. Shepperson

Representative Colin M. Simpson

Representative William “Jeb” Steward

Representative Tim Stubson

Representative Matt Teeters

Representative Bill Thompson

Representative Mary Throne

Representative Sue Wallis

Representative Dan Zwonitzer

Representative David L. Zwonitzer

Members of the Wyoming State Senate
Senator Jim Anderson

Senator Eli D. Bebout

Senator Bruce Burns

Senator Cale Case, Ph.D

Senator Henry H.R. “Hank” Coe

Senator Stan Cooper

Senator Dan Dockstader
Senator Floyd A. Esquibel

Senator Gerald E. Geis

Senator John M. Hastert

Senator John J. Hines

Senator Rick Hunnicutt

Senator Kit Jennings

Senator Wayne H. Johnson

Senator Bill Landen

Senator Grant Larson

Senator Marty Martin

Senator Mike Massie

Senator Curt Meier

Senator Phil Nicholas

Senator Drew A. Perkins

Senator R. Ray Peterson

Senator Tony Ross

Senator John C. Schiffer

Senator Charles K. Scott

Senator Kathryn Sessions

Senator Charles Townsend

Senator Bill Vasey

Senator Michael Von Flatern

US Senator John Barrasso

US Senator Mike Enzi

US Congresswoman Cynthia Lummis

3 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] « Sunny West Hawaii Beaches: Beaches of South Kohala and the Kona Coast Wyoming Favors Athletics Over Academics: Univeristy of Wyoming Geological Museum To Close So That Wy… […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: