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Author Archives: Graham Young

Secrets in Stone: Finding Fossils in Manitoba’s Limestones

Tyndall Stone contains many beautiful fossil corals. (MM-I-3407) By Dr. Graham Young, Curator of Geology and Paleontology, Manitoba Museum   When you hear the word “fossil”, you probably think of giant dinosaurs, or perhaps marine reptiles such as Morden’s “Bruce”, but fossils actually include all evidence of past life. Fossils may be the remains of plants or animals, such as leaves or bones, and they also can be tracks or…

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Blockbuster exhibit opens at the Manitoba Museum

See giants like Giganotosaurus and other rarely seen dinosaurs from the other side of the world. By Dr. Graham Young, Curator of Geology & Paleontology   Several years ago, as a part of my efforts to keep in touch with other evolutionary scientists, I attended a paleontology conference at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. During that conference, I visited a new exhibition developed by ROM scientists, showing dinosaurs that…

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A Bison Rubbing Stone in the Prairies Gallery: How Did That Boulder Get There?

Bison rubbing stones are icons of the prairies. These large stones were originally transported south by Ice Age glaciers, then left behind on the prairies when the glaciers melted and receded roughly 12,000 years ago. They are therefore considered to be a form of fieldstone, and such large blocks of fieldstone are commonly called glacial erratics. In the millennia since the glaciers left this region, rubbing stones have undergone a…

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Building Blocks of the Plains: A Fieldstone Wall in the Prairies Gallery

Beginning in 2012, The Museum’s curators worked together to plan exhibits for the Bringing Our Stories Forward project (BOSF). As we travelled around the grasslands region to prepare ideas for our new Prairies Gallery, we developed a list of topics that would be essential for a representation of this region. We rapidly agreed on some things that had to go into the Gallery: prairie vegetation, the importance of wind, Indigenous…

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Finding the Impossible, Part 1: Getting There

  This year, our Museum foyer has featured an exhibit of unusual fossils in the New Acquisitions Case. This exhibit, Finding the Impossible: Unique Tropical Fossils from William Lake, Manitoba, included a video “slide show” that documented the expeditions during which we collected these fossils. My colleague remarked to me the other day that this slide show should be shared widely using the Museum blog; this post, and some subsequent ones,…

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Weird Tasks: Moving the Glyptodont

As we have worked our way through the pliosaur exhibit project, we have come up against a series of problems that have required novel solutions. About a month ago we carried out a very strange task, and one that none of us had ever had to do before: we needed to move the glyptodont. Before I explain how we did this, perhaps I had better backtrack a bit, as you probably…

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Pliosaur Progress: We’ve Been Busy!

As you may know if you look at this page occasionally, for the past couple of years we have been working with a beautiful fossil of a pliosaurid plesiosaur, which was collected by Wayne Buckley from western Manitoba. We are now at the stage of preparing a permanent exhibit of the fossil, which will be installed in the Earth History Gallery this summer. So we have been very busy in…

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Flipping the Skull

The plesiosaur skull, as it appeared in our temporary exhibit last winter. It is exciting and interesting to work with the fossils of large vertebrate creatures, but this is a field with many complexities. During the fossilization of most vertebrates, the bone was replaced by other minerals, which makes the skeletal components both heavier and more brittle than they were during the animal’s life. For those of us working in the “back rooms”…

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Cleaning Week: Filing Trilos

Last week was the Museum’s “cleaning week”, during which we were closed to the public so that we could focus on getting our house in order. There was much recycling of paper, moving of old furniture, and scrubbing of walls in many parts of the Museum. Here in the Geology and Paleontology lab, we decided that this was the ideal time to file some of the fossils that had been…

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Left Behind in Airport Cove

If you think about how Museum paleontologists get fossils, you might guess that we go out and find where the fossils are, extract all of them from the rock and sediment, and return them to the Museum. Certainly that is what we do where fossils are scarce, but in many instances our job really consists of deciding what to leave behind. Our specialists at the Manitoba Museum are called curators,…

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