Geological Find

Hanover College to hold open house
at its Natural History Museum

The Science Center collection features
a wide array of items

(March 2015) –Recently named one of the “20 Most Beautiful College Campuses” in the country by the Princeton Review, Hanover College is often recognized for its picturesque campus and classic architecture. But perhaps one of the college’s most interesting and valuable features is often overlooked.
In 2000, the Hanover College Museum of Natural History was opened – otherwise known as the Science Center, where students attend classes on a daily basis surrounded by the museum’s displays. The “halls and walls” museum is open to the public year-round, but on Saturday, March 7, the Science Center will play host to an open house from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“We’ll have museum tours that take about an hour, or you can do self-guided tours,” explains Stan Totten, the founder and curator of the Hanover College Museum of Natural History. “We’ll have activities going on through all four hours.”
Totten, 78, was a professor of geology for 40 years at Hanover before becoming an integral part of the construction of the Science Center.

Stan Totten

Photo by Alyssa DelPrete

Retired Hanover College geology professor Stan Totten poses in one of the upstairs lounges of the Ice Age exhibit at the college’s Museum of Natural History. He is an integral part of the creation of the museum.

Totten describes the unique nature of the museum. “It was part of the plan from the beginning to have a ‘halls and walls’ museum. We just saw space that could be created in the hallways and lobby and lounges.”
Walk into the expansive lobby of the building and you can instantly see what Totten is talking about. Two display cases line the left and right walls of the lobby. The left case contains colorful minerals, including a large black opal from Australia, malachite from Africa and quartz geodes from southern Indiana. The case on the right exhibits rare fossils, including a CT scan showing an intact, fully developed embryo in a duckbill dinosaur egg.
Continuing through the halls and lounges of the building, you will encounter even more impressive exhibits, including a massive prehistoric titanothere skull, wooly mammoth tusks and mounted mammals.
“Our exhibits are mostly biology and geology,” Totten said, “but we also have anthropology displays, Native American artifacts and other cultural displays. We also have some Hanover history on display.”
Each display has its own story.
“Some were purchased, some were donated, some are what students and faculty have gathered,” Totten said. “There are a variety of sources.”
For more information on the Hanover College Museum of Natural History, you can watch a YouTube video titled, “Center of Light” at the following link: www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2pqJku9Nys.
The open house will be the museum’s second.
“The first one was a great success,” Totten said. “We hope to have it annually.”
Totten sees the open house as an opportunity for anyone interested in the sciences or for those wanting to see the impressive facility.
“We really cater to all ages of kids, but it’s something that whole families will enjoy,” Totten said. “This museum has been very highly regarded.
“It’s one of the best kept secrets in the state. But what we want to get people excited about is the science part of the building. The museum is nice, and they can come see that anytime, but this is a great opportunity to see science in action and talk to scientists and be in labs and see science happening.”
Celeste Sutter, who worked at Hanover College for 25 years and was part of the process of the building of the Science Center, adds, “Part of the push for broadening the scope of the open house was for prospective students, such as area high school students who are interested in Hanover or the sciences. Its a good opportunity to see our facilities.”
Sutter, 52, is currently the director of environmental health and safety at Hanover College and has worked with Totten in organizing both open houses for the museum.
“I think I’d also like to promote the open house as community outreach,” Sutter said. “We want the community to feel welcome coming to our museum. Its an educational opportunity.”
In addition to tours, the open house will include various demonstrations in fields such as biology, geology, physics and psychology that will feature Hanover College faculty. These demonstrations will include one by Brian Gall from the biology department titled, “Don’t Hate Us Because We’re Slimy.” From the geology department, Ken Bevis will lead a session called “I’ll Let the Pictures Do the Talking: The Art of Geology.” Bill Tereshko will give a demonstration on body composition determination using the BodPod.
Hanover’s Geology Club will have a table in the lobby, and there will be free brochures available to provide information on the museum for those doing self-guided tours.
Guided tours are available for area schools, groups and organizations.

• To schedule a tour, contact Stan Totten (totten@hanover.edu) or Celeste Sutter (sutterc@hanover.edu). You can also contact Stan Totten by calling (812) 599-9015 or (812) 866-3110.

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