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The Michigan State University Museum presents its annual Darwin Discovery Day on Sunday, Feb. 12, 2012, 1-5 p.m., with an afternoon of discovery inviting young and old alike to explore backyard curiosities and extraordinary natural science specimens from around the globe.
Activities, tours and collections on all three floors:
o Darwin Discovery Day marks the opening of a new exhibit in the Heritage Gallery: “It Started with a Rock Collection: Charles Darwin, Geologist.”
o “Darwin rocks!” is the theme of the day, and the MSU Museum has received a collection of rocks from the Shropshire Geological Society in England, where young Charles Darwin started his collection and scientific investigations.
o Also new: MSU Department of Geological Sciences will demonstrate a working seismograph, which locates and measures earthquakes and volcanic eruptions; and Central Michigan Lapidary and Mineral Society display and giveaways of Michigan Gypsum (while supplies last).
Plus more discovery, delight:
o Rich Bellon, MSU Darwin scholar, will answer questions about Darwin's life and work.
o Live critters with the MSU Herpetology Club and MSU Museum's naturalist, Jim Harding the Critterguy.
o Tours of the MSU Museum's "Bug Room," where beetles help clean animal skeletons.
o Rare, behind-the-scenes tours of MSU Museum research collections.
o Interesting and unusual specimens from the museum's collections and dinosaur casts in Habitat Hall.
o Activities for kids with MSU 4-H Children's Garden and Department of Horticulture.
o Books and educational resources at the Museum Store.
o Birthday cake! Refreshments will be served in celebration of Charles Darwin's birthday -- which is Feb. 12, 1809!
Curious? Bring in a backyard find and ask the experts:
A favorite tradition of the day continues: visitors can bring in a rock, bone, fossil, tooth or other natural object for museum curators and faculty members to identify. (The MSU Museum cannot provide estimates on the commercial value of any specimen nor provide expertise on human-made artifacts at this program.)
The program is presented free of charge.
Researchers and graduate students from all across MSU are taking part in Darwin Discovery Day to help share their research and education with the public.
Also of interest :
Special MSU Libraries Film Series showing of “Journey to the Center of the Earth” (1959), on Tuesday, Feb. 7 at 7 p.m., at the Main Library, with a discussion following.
Science institutions worldwide have created special programs around Darwin's birthday each year that help promote an appreciation for the benefits of scientific knowledge acquired through human curiosity and ingenuity. Research and education departments from across MSU are taking part in Darwin Discovery Day at the MSU Museum.  Learn more at the International Darwin Day Organization, and to see all of the MSU Museum's Darwin-related events
The Michigan State University Museum features three floors of natural science and culture collections and changing exhibits. The Museum is located on West Circle Drive, next to Beaumont Tower on the MSU campus and is open free of charge (donations encouraged) seven days a week: Monday - Friday 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., Saturday, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., and Sunday 1-5 p.m. The MSU Museum is accessible to persons with disabilities.  Parking is available with limited visitor spots in front of the MSU Museum and at metered spaces in the Grand River Ave. ramp, at the corner of Grand River Ave. and Charles St.  For more information call (517) 355-2370.