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Cruisin' the Washington Fossil Freeway

... with Artist Ray Troll and paleontologist Kirk Johnson, organized by the Burke Museum of Natural HIstory and Culture.

Image credit: “Cruisin’ the Fossil Freeway” by Ray Troll. Illustration from the book of the same title by Kirk Johnson and Ray Troll.

Click below for a list of activities.

Leaves of the Apocalypse by Ray Troll.

February 1-April 13 the Burke Museum’s traveling exhibit Cruisin’ the Washington Fossil Freeway will be on display at the Port Angeles Main Library. The exhibit brings together the fossil-inspired artwork of celebrated artist Ray Troll, and the insightful texts of paleontologist Kirk Johnson, to explore questions about evolution, extinction, and early life on Earth. The Washington version of the traveling exhibit, which features a specially commissioned Washington fossil map by Troll, addresses these key questions and explores the abundance of fossils in our midst.

Cruisin' the Fossil Freeway follows the travels of paleontologist Kirk Johnson and Alaskan artist Ray Troll as they drove across the American West in search of cool and inspiring fossils. Throughout their 5,000 mile journey, they encountered "paleo-nerds" like themselves, men and women searching for everything from suburban T-rexes to giant killer-pigs, to ancient fossilized forests. Much of their travel time was spent in remote places few people visit; there they discovered small-town museums packed with paleontological treasures, rock quarries that have yielded hundreds of fossilized bones, and the remains of ancient seashores covered with the footprints of dinosaurs. It soon became evident that fossils are everywhere; if you know where to look, you can find them—even when travelling at 65 miles per hour.

Throughout February and March, the Port Angeles Main Library will host a series of geology-related events and displays. Events include an opening celebration with a talk by Ray Troll and music by Vocal Unlimited, an art class led by Ray Troll, an interactive program by the Burke Museum Education Staff, and a lecture by University of Washington Assistant Professor Gregory Wilson about the extinction of the dinosaurs. All events are free and open to the public.

Cruisin’ the Washington Fossil Freeway was organized by the Burke Museum at the University of Washington, Seattle, in collaboration with Ray Troll and Kirk Johnson. The Washington tour was generously sponsored by Wells Fargo. Exhibit development was supported by Microsoft Corporation, the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, and the Pendleton and Elisabeth Carey Miller Charitable Foundation. Exhibit activities at the Port Angeles Main Library are made possible by the generous support of the Port Angeles Friends of the Library.