Architect’s rendition of the completed College of Eastern Utah Prehistoric Museum and Mesozoic Gardens.
At a time when creationists are dumping money into so-called prehistoric “museums” that tell lies to the public about evolution, it is refreshing to see a real museum gain more monetary support and prominence, especially in a “red state”. An official home has been found for the world’s most extensive evolutionary botanic gardens, which also includes an expansion of the College of Eastern Utah (CEU) Prehistoric Museum, in Price, Utah.
At a recent groundbreaking ceremony, entrepreneur Marc Bingham of the Phone Directories Company turned the first shovel of soil that will lead to the construction of a world class museum that will feature not only dinosaurs, but the flora that the surrounded the prehistoric creatures.
“Imagine what it will be like,” said Reece Barrick, director of the present museum. “Live plants with the fossils and reproductions of the creatures that lived during the period.”
Bingham donated nearly 20 acres of prime real estate to the project and the first phase of CEU Prehistoric Museum’s ambitious expansion will begin in 2007. Construction of the new building began with the Mesozoic Gardens, a half-acre botanical conservatory that will house the most complete collection of Gondwanan and other Mesozoic-traceable plants in the world. In fact, these living fossil plants comprise one of the few paleobotanical gardens anywhere in the West. Hundreds of species of plants will be housed within a large glass pyramid that will also include research laboratories.
A new CEU Prehistoric Museum will be constructed alongside the pyramidal gardens, where the entire complex will be highly visible from U.S. Highway 6 — the main thoroughfare from Salt Lake City — thereby attracting passing motorists.
“I always thought this was a great spot for an office because of the view,” said Bingham, who donated the property to the college. “Now it will be the site of a great museum.”
According to Sinan Oguan, managing director of the Global Studies Institute, the area has the perfect soil to grow a complete Mesozoic garden of anywhere in the world. Additionally, eastern Utah and Carbon County boast a rich Mesozoic history, complete with uncovered shorelines and geology.
The complex and its supporting facilities could become a classic place to study ancient times and could also become the breeding ground for plants of all kinds that could be exported around the world.
The projected opening for the Mesozoic Gardens is slated for spring 2009, and the completion of museum expansion is expected in 2012.
Sun Advocate (quotes)