Tag Archives: fossils

Summer at the Museum

I was originally just going to throw some fun screen grabs from these early time machine  Phineas and Ferb episodes up on the Paleo Porch facebook page and be done. While going through the episodes for the shots though I noticed there was more to say and show about the museum than just the “back-in-time-with-dinosaurs” trope.

Backing up a bit, if you haven’t watched Phineas and Ferb before, or in a while, you should add it to your queue because it is well written , clever, and even the angular animation style is less offensive than its contemporaries.

The time machine arc here actually spans two episodes across two seasons. The first one, episode 21 “Out of Time” aired over 10 years ago now (!) has them fixing the time machine in the museum and going back in time.  The establishing shots and setup are great though:

Gags, and chronologically challenged fossils aside, the backgrounds and the animation inside this museum are great. They really capture the essence of the Natural History Museum as it exists in our collective consciousness. Who wouldn’t love to see a hall of gadgets through the ages permanent exhibit?

Once they get the time machine working and end up in the past, chaos ensues in the predictable manner, what is brilliant is the continued cuts to the modern ichnology display at the museum as it changes from alterations (altercations) in the past/it’s present.

Now, if you are into your dinosaurs you are thinking that a T-rex really gives away the geography of the show, but I am going out on a limb here and considering that this T-rex is actually called a “Tri-State rex.”

Once Phineas recognizing the track, their problems are all but solved. Taking a stick he quickly draws out a message to the others at the museum. Be thankful that there is a time travel section in the Fireside Girls Handbook. 

Isabella and the troop arrive to save the day, only the Tri-State Rex comes back too. This is a longer clip as it wraps everything up, and if you aren’t familiar with the series the talkshow/secret agent cut will be a little confusing, but just roll with it, because “Fossils. *da, duh, dahn.*”

Again, just taking a few seconds to stop in on the interior of the museum as it rolls under a chase scene, and it is a great collection, even if the fish, pteranodon, and protoceratops thing (and the coprolite?) are a threepeat run sequence.

One of the best things about this show was how well the writing meshed across its entirety. Not just within an episode but across episodes and even seasons. It was built as a coherent universe and the obvious and subtle running gags really play in to reward the viewer. The “It’s About Time” episode arcs all the way into early season two  when the time machine comes back into play plot and in “Quantum Boogaloo” we  see the museum and the Tri-State area 20 years in the future.

Something quietly reassuring that the museum of the future, which we are halfway to now is pretty much the same.

In the end, not only was this a fun museum/dinosaur/time travel episode. It was one of the best written time-travel stories written for any medium. It doesn’t complicate itself with 473 different paradoxes, it plays out well in the 22 minutes the episode was given, and ties in pretty seamlessly with itself the following year and a half later when the second episode aired.

Have Bones Will Travel

Stepping out into the well tested waters of crowd funding for science. It’s at least well tested for others, I have never done it. But, as part of the indiegogo project, I wanted to attach it to this blog as well as the Paleo Porch facebook page.

When I was working in the Vertebrate Paleontology Lab at Lamar University we had a collection of replicas and fossils that we could take to the local elementary classrooms to give a little workshop. Now that I am no longer there, I do not have access to the lab or the collection, so I have decided to collect my own and start again. That is where the appeal for donations comes in.

I actually starter with Kickstarter to, well, kickstart this collection. After going through all the motions to get it activated they rejected the idea. They said the projects that have a proven track record are more likely to get funded. Here I had the definition of a kickstart all wrong. After working on things throughout the summer I decided to try again with an indiegogo attempt.

As part of the transparency pledge and group involvement, I will be sharing all the purchases and all the  talks that I do on here as well as on the facebook page. I have high expectations for what I will be able to do with this little traveling museum. Mainly I will focus on giving talks at local schools during the school year, and working with public libraries during the summers.

My hope is that this will not be just located to within a few hours drive time of where we live. That might require a little more work. Since we now live in Oklahoma, I have a base of students and schools up here to work with. But, we still have family in Texas that we will end up visiting at one time or another, and I will always have my stuff with us when traveling.

My wife and I have also thought about taking them with us when we go on vacation. If we do go somewhere for a few days, as soon as we hit where we would stay we would contact the local library, or similar public foray and see if we would be able to set up there near the end of our trip. So, on paper it looks like the gift that keeps on giving (maybe).

I don’t expect any really large donations, but a lot of a few dollars at a time. The perks aren’t anything greatly spectacular, but they are part of what makes us, well, us. Above you see our logo, that will be on the magnet and the T-shirt. Below is the logo icon that will be on the stickers.

Finally, the real payoff for doing stuff like this is getting science into the hands of school kids that may never get the opportunity to go to a museum. Coming from a small school, I know how big of an ordeal it was to even plan a trip to the Natural History Museum. Sharing the wonders of science, and the history of science with kids, just may keep them interested in science. If it doesn’t do anything else, it might help kids to think beyond their little community and ask more questions. 
Turns out the kids are usually really grateful that you took the time to share this stuff with them. I will wrap up here and share just a small smackeral sampling of the “Thank You” letters I have received in the past from giving these talks. As I get more I will share them as part of the posts to let everyone who has been gracious enough to support this project now that the have helped make a difference or at least an impact on some child’s education. 
and, just as the letters attest, Thank You for stopping by, taking the time to read, and possibly helping fund such an endeavor. If you are interested in helping me out, or just want to know more, please check  out my Indiegogo project and see what it’s all about. Please donate and spread the word.