Last month I visited the Gilboa Museum for its annual open house. I had been to the previous event and thoroughly enjoyed it – a wonderful celebration of small town America and local pride. The Museum itself, while originated and run by local volunteers, is not simply of local importance. Despite its limited hours of operation (mostly on weekends in the Summer), a quick look at the guestbook shows the many visitors and the surprising distances traveled. Gilboa in fact is known internationally.
In 1870, quarry workers discovered fossilized remains of tree stumps nearby. The geology community has long been aware of those findings. But it was very recently that discoveries have led to the charting of the oldest known forest floor anywhere. People come from all over to see the fossils and gain an understanding of the significance of the area. And were it not for the local volunteers, all the visitors would find is a quiet country road. The locals have much to be proud of and the Museum is a fine representation of that.
To me, the best part of the visit is always the fossil exhibit. Many more fossils have been added since last year. Hurricane Irene stirred the ground and has uncovered many new and interesting fossils. In fact, the fossils on display (most from the immediate area) are donations from friends and neighbors. Put all together, they form a unique and excellent collection that would make any major museum jealous!
So, let’s just look at some of the gems of the collection.
Although the Museum is small, it is packed with fossils and artifacts of local life from the past. The final image shows the wonderful centerpiece of the displays. It is a painting that illustrates what is believed to be the area during the Devonian Period when the local forest thrived. Based on the most recent discoveries, this stunning painting was produced by the multitalented Ms Kristen Wycoff, who runs herd over this operation.
Ms Wycoff, it turns out, is as much a local treasure as the fossils themselves. If you visit, you will probably run into her. She is a most genial and well informed ambassador for all the good folks of Gilboa.
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Thank you as always for visiting. More images at www.artmurphy.com