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The educational values of the University of California Museum of Paleontology

Author(s): Susumu Tomiya | Brian A. Swartz | Mariska Batavia

Journal: University Museums and Collections Journal
ISSN 2071-7229

Volume: 3;
Start page: 61;
Date: 2010;
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Keywords: Museum collection | Evolution education | Outreach

The University of California Museum of Paleontology (UCMP) maintains the largest university museum fossil collection in the world and promotes research and education at its home, University of California, Berkeley, and far beyond. The museum supplies crucial materials and intellectual resources to a wide variety of university courses, where graduate and undergraduate students gain first-hand experiences in studying fossil specimens in laboratory exercises and class projects. Our specimen-based approach generates greater interest in the subjects and uniquely enhances students’ understanding of biological diversity and evolution. Discovery-oriented class projects often pave the way for scientific publications in professional journals, which contribute to the research mission of the museum. For grades K-12, the museum offers hands-on learning experiences to the public through museum tours and outreach programs at local schools. Further, the highly successful UCMP website relies on the fossil collection to make educational resources in paleontology and evolutionary biology accessible to students of all ages around the world. The museum’s fossil collection is vital to educational programs that disseminate paleontological knowledge and cultivate scientific literacy.