Saturday, 16 August 2014

Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum

On Saturday August 9, I was privileged to attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the soon-to-be-completed Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum. It is located near Grande Prairie, Alberta (roughly a five-hour drive north-west of Edmonton). This 41,000 square foot (roughly 4,000 square meters) will open to the public in March or April 2015. Alberta is a treasure trove of fossils, and the museum is another crown jewel in the province's rich paleontology tourist offerings.

Of special interest to me is the name of the museum. All too often, public places are named after people once they die. Philip Currie, Professor of Paleontology in the Faculty of Science at the University of Alberta, is the world's premier dinosaur hunter. He has spent his career in Alberta and made many groundbreaking discoveries using fossils uncovered in Alberta. Thus it is a fitting tribute to an amazing person that it was decided to name the museum after a living scientist. Congratulations Phil!

What follows are some pictures from the event, including some illustrious names from Hollywood and business.
I like having a personal memento for major events I attend. Here I have a chessboard and am asking the celebrities to each sign a square. To my left is Dan Aykroyd (Saturday Night Live; Ghostbusters; Blues Brothers); to my right signing the board is Fran Dresher (The Nanny).
A parade of 650 motorcycles ended at the Museum. Dan Aykroyd (not shown above) was at the head of the procession.
The famous Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) had a presence.
Getting ready for the ribbon cutting. On the left: Eva Koppelhus (Phil's wife) in red, Dan Aykroyd (with ball cap). On the right: Phil Currie (beside the pdium), Donna Dixon-Aykroyd (Dan's wife).
On your mark, get set, cut!
The Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum. This picture of one end of the building does not capture the enormity of the structure. The building has a design that from a dsiatnce makes it resemble the outline of a dinosaur.
Dan Aykroyd and Donna Dixon-Aykroyd at the podium. The Aykroyds were generous sponsors of the museum.
Phil gave a wonderful speech. Eva and Phil are a team, but Eva shuns the spotlight.
Dan Aykroyd singing the blues was the featured entertainer, bringing back memories of him on film and stage with his Blues Brothers partner John Belushi.
Aykroyd is 62 years old, but can still belt out the tunes like he was 30 years younger.
John Paul DeJoria (Paul Mitchell hair products; Patron liquor), a multi-billionaire attendee.

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