Event Archive

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Museum of Geosciences

Academic Year 2018-2019 Programs and Events

Events are free and take place in the Museum of Geosciences, 2062 Derring Hall, unless noted otherwise. No parking permit needed after 5:00 or on weekends. Handicap spaces located adjacent to the building.

Fall 2018

The fall schedule includes youth programs, graduate student communicating science seminars, public lectures, alumni events, student exhibits, Earth Science Week, and Women in Geosciences events.


Research a la Mode* (RALM): science communication seminar--with ice cream! Journey to the Center of an Active Volcano: Why is Deep Sea Drilling Science Important?  Kannikha Kolandaivelu. VT Geosciences. Wednesday, August 29, 2018, 5-6 pm, in the Museum, 2062 Derring. RALM is by grad students, for grad students, also appropriate for K-12 teachers and Master Naturalists. Free. (26 VT)


Fossil Unwrapping Party

Wednesday, September 26, 2018. 6:30-8:00. Starts at NCB 360, then Derring 2062.

A fall tradition with our paleontologists Dr. Nesbitt and Dr. Stocker--hear about their summer field season then help unpack some of the fossils the team collected. This is an unusual opportunity to participate in an active scientific research project. They found bones from reptiles 215 million years old from Arizona!

We will start with a brief presentation at 6:30 in Room 360, New Classroom Building (NCB, 1455 Perry St). Then at about 7:15 we will go to the building next door to unwrap the fossils in the Museum, 2062 Derring (926 West Campus Dr).

This free museum program is open to the public, and is appropriate for VT students, K-12 teachers, community members, and families bringing kids over age 7.

Please pre-register by emailing mogs@vt.edu with how many adults and kids, and your name and email in case we need to contact you about program changes. We can also let you know about future programs! (90 at lecture; prereg xx adults and xx kids)


Research a la Mode* (RALM): science communication seminar--with ice cream!

Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018. 5:00-6:00 pm in the Museum, 2062 Derring. Wildlife Conservation. 12 VT attended.


GeoFair and Mineral Sale

Saturday, October 13, 2018. 10:00 am - 4:00 pm. 2062 Derring Hall.

Join us for this popular event: hands-on family-friendly activities, learning stations about geosciences, and beautiful minerals for sale priced for teachers and students (cash or check best). Open to the public and Family Day visitors. Free admission and parking.


Research a la Mode* (RALM): science communication seminar--with ice cream!

Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018. 5:00pm-6:00pm in the Museum, 2062 Derring.

Gluing your broken heart back together: How a new peptide recharges the heart’s batteries after a heart attack. Mitchell Allen, VT HNFE. (12 VT)

Your body is powered by millions of tiny batteries. These batteries, called mitochondria, give us the energy we need to get out of bed, walk to class, or go on an afternoon run. Unfortunately, during heart disease our mitochondria become ill, fall apart, and are unable to make the energy we need to function. Come hear PhD candidate Mitchell Allen talk about his research on developing a  medicine to treat sick mitochondria and restore energy production after a heart attack. (7 adults)

Plate Tectonics in Action:  Breaking up the African Continent!  
Dr. D. Sarah Stamps, VT Geosciences.

Thursday, October 18, 2018, in Derring Hall.

Reception 6:00-7:00 in room 2062. Lecture 7:00-8:00 in room 4069.

The African continent is slowly breaking up on its eastern side along the East African Rift System. In millions of years we expect to have a new ocean forming, which is already partly underway in Ethiopia. This talk will address the topics of why and how Africa is breaking up and how geoscientists use technology to study the process.

In advance of the lecture, join us for a reception in the Museum where you can meet the scientists and see some of their geodetic instruments.

Appropriate for VT students, K-12 teachers, Master Naturalists, and community members interested in Earth Sciences. (


“Dream Big” Day with MCPS 7th grade and The Graduate School at Virginia Tech.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018. (10:00), 11:00, 1:00. in the Museum

Grad students in our Hydrology program and 7th graders from Montgomery County Public Schools explore how hydrology fits into geosciences. This program is to help introduce careers and fields of study before the students choose high school courses. Stacey Law, Grady Konzen, Rick Jayne, Josh Benton.


VT Science Festival at the Moss Arts Center in downtown Blacksburg.

Saturday, October 27, 2018 from 10:00-4:00pm. Free.

Plenty of Geoscience: the Museum, the Geology Club, the MEDL, and the Geodesy Lab will have exhibits as part of this big event. Come see us!


Natural History Collections Club

Tuesday, November 6, 2018. 6:30-7:30.

Workshop on casting techniques with paleontology PhD student Devin Hoffman. (16 VT)


Connecting to Collections Care Webinar group viewing in Museum.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018. 2:00-3:30 pm.
Making a Good End: Closing a Museum. There is also an Arctos webinar on Georeferencing at 3:00.


Connecting to Collections Care Webinar group viewing in Museum.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018. 2:00-3:30 pm.

Looking at Plastics: An Introduction to Caring for Plastics

Spring 2019:

This semester a new course was offered in the Museum -- Natural History Collections & Curation (Geos 4384)! We hosted a public lecture and a very special public event: the world premiere of a new dinosaur. There were our usual school group visits, a Hokiesaurus Presents: youth program, 5th grade campus expeditions with Kindergarten-to-College, Tazewell 4H 4th grade visits, an Alumni Open House, and other activities our students invented. Follow @hokiesaurus on twitter for quick reminders!



Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019 from 8:00-4:00. McBryde Hall and Squires Student Center.

Paleo grad students Morrison Nolan, Dana Kornesiel, and Khanh To will be conducting the "Fossil Competition" and "Glacial Competition" sections for High School students from the region. Our grad students also developed the test items that are used here at the Virginia Tech Contest. Events like the Science Olympiad are a good way for interested high school students to learn more about Virginia Tech Geosciences. (120 high school kids, 15 adults)


International Darwin Day

Tuesday, February 12, 2019


Kindergarten-to-College (K2C)

February, March, April dates on Mondays and Fridays.

K2C brings over 1200 5th graders and 220 teachers from all over Virginia to campus to explore college and encourage learning. They visit activities in small groups of 10-20. The Museum of Geosciences is always a favorite because of our enthusiastic Geosciences student hosts.


Hokiesaurus Presents*: Where does our water come from?

    Wednesday, April 10, 2019, 4:30-5:30 pm in the Museum, 2062 Derring

    Leaders: Erin Kelly and Katie Krueger

Youth program for upper elementary age (10-12 years old).

Free. Kids must have an accompanying adult.

Please pre-register with erink25@vt.edu, limit 12 kids.

Lots of citizens in Montgomery County have wells,while others get their water from the New River. We will explore where drinking water resources come from and why it is important to keep them clean. We will talk about runoff from farms and how it can affect our lakes and rivers. We will also talk about how pollution can get into our groundwater and travel to our wells. This will be a fun filled event with hands-on models of aquifers and surface waters. (12 kids, 10 adults)


Beeks Library Book Festival: Dinosaurs!

Wednesday, April 10, 2019, 5:00-6:30,

Margaret Beeks Elementary School, Airport Road, Blacksburg

The Book Festival theme this year is Dinosaurs and they invited us to participate. The Museum will have a table at the Festival Open House, staffed by Sarah Ulrich (PhD candidate). Materials and activities from the Museum collections and the Paleobiology Research Group spark the interest of over 150 kids.


Tazewell 4-H elementary school visits.

April 8, 15 and 17, 2019, various times.

All Tazewell County 4th grade students visit Virginia Tech over several days, offering over 300 kids exposure to campus and participation in activities and STEM learning. Geosciences students will lead interactive programs for many of their groups who visit the Museum during this event.


Museum Public Lecture

Coastal Detectives: reading the clues from earthquakes and tsunamis in coastal deposits.

Dr. Tina Dura, VT Geosciences.

    Thursday, April 18, 2019, 7:00-8:30 pm in Derring Hall.

Lecture 7:00-8:00 pm in room 4069 Derring, followed by a meet-the-scientists reception from 8:00-8:30 in the Museum, 2062 Derring.

    Dr. Tina Dura recently joined the VT Geosciences department. Dr. Dura's research explores subduction zone earthquake and tsunami records over many seismic cycles (thousands of years). To extend these earthquake and tsunami records, Dr. Dura applies stratigraphic, sedimentary, and microfossil (diatom) methods to coastal sedimentary sequences to identify changes in ancient environments. Some of these changes can be recognized as signals of past faulting and tsunami flooding. This captures the variation of the largest events over space and time to help assess current and future hazards for coastal areas. (96 attended; 50 at reception)


Giles STEMposium

Wednesday, April 24, 2019, 6:00-8:00 at Giles High School, Pearisburg.

STEMposium offers different hands-on, interactive STEM exhibits. In 2018 we had an Earthquake exhibit, in 2019 the Hydro group took groundwater flow models. (70 kids, 50 adults)



Monday, May 6, 2019 from 10:00-4:00 at the Moss Arts Center.

Museum Public Event: New Dinosaur Discovery
Monday May 6, 2019, 7:00-8:00 in Derring 4069.   Flyer
World Premiere of the only fossil remains of a new species of a carnivorous DINOSAUR (we can't tell you more yet, until the official publication comes out on May 6th). Dr. Sterling Nesbitt and our Virginia Tech paleontologists are offering this unusual opportunity for you to be among the first in the world to see this discovery in person!
The event will be on Monday, May 6, 2019 starting at 7:00 in room 4069 Derring, then moving downstairs to the Museum room 2062 for a meet-the-scientists reception. Flyer. Help us plan by registering on this form.

Geosciences Graduation Open House

Saturday, May 18, 2019, 11:00-2:00 pm in the Museum, 2062 Derring.

An opportunity for students to bring their families by the Museum. Many students have studied and done group work for classes in the Museum, some have also worked on exhibits, conducted outreach programs, or led group visits, and they like sharing this with their loved ones. (

Memorial Open House for friends and colleagues of Dr. Bob Tracy

Saturday, May 25, 2019 from 10:30-12:00, presentation at 11:00.

A recognition and celebration of Bob’s service and impact as the Director of the Museum of Geosciences from 2009-2019. (30 adults)


Alumni Open House at the Museum of Geosciences

Friday, June 7, 2019 from 2:00-4:00 pm.

In cooperation with the Virginia Tech Alumni Reunion, join us for an open house at the Museum in 2062 Derring Hall. See some of our new exhibits and acquisitions and talk with geoscientists about their research. Dr. Sarah Stamps and the Geodesy and Tectonphysics Laboratory will have family-friendly presentations of their research on earthquakes and volcanoes.


*Research a la Mode (RALM) is a monthly venue for graduate students from different departments to come together and hear a talk by one of their peers. The main idea is to give graduate students an opportunity to practice communicating their research to an audience that is unfamiliar with their discipline in order to cut down on reliance on jargon and to simplify and clarify their presentation skills. RALM aims to help graduate students become better teachers, researchers, and communicators. Founded by Geosciences PhD candidate Lisa Whalen in 2015, in cooperation with the Center for Communicating Science.

*Hokiesaurus Presents: Youth programs led by geosciences majors that give kids a chance to do hands-on activities, meet a geoscientist, and learn more about geosciences as an academic and career path. Our Geosciences students decide topics and activities that are exciting to them, then work on their presentation in consultation with Museum staff.