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Stetson’s Gillespie Museum Celebrates Science during Smithsonian Museum Day

The Gillespie Museum on Stetson University’s campus will be participating in Smithsonian Magazine’s Museum Day during its free Science Saturday on Saturday, Sept. 21, 10 a.m.-noon. Museum Day brings together museums, zoos and cultural centers from all 50 states to offer free admission, a national commitment to access, equity and inclusion.

Visitors view the Gillespie Museum's rock and mineral collections.
Visitors view the Gillespie Museum’s rock and mineral collections.

Visitors will have an opportunity to view the museum’s collections and displays, including a sneak peek of the “Agatized Coral and Other Silicified Fossils of Florida” exhibit. Agatized coral was chosen by the state legislature in 1970 as Florida’s state rock. The display is a stunning and diverse assemblage from the personal collections of Florida geologists Sam Upchurch, PhD, Professor Emeritus of geology and former geology department chair at the University of South Florida, and Gary Maddox, a state hydrogeologist and co-owner of Apalachee Minerals.

Young scientists will have a chance to study agatized and silicified corals and other marine fossils from the Econfina and Withlacoochee Rivers, Ballast Point and Nutall Rise in Florida.

Science Saturday will include hands-on activities for learning how fossils are formed and identifying how the color and structure of the fossils vary by location with lab experiments, microscopic observations and coloring pages.

The Gillespie Museum hosts Science Saturday activities once a month during the academic year and includes a range of topics from fossils, silicates and fluorescent minerals to pollination and native ecosystems. Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

-Sandra Carr