UNLV student team with prior donation box. 3-D skeleton awaits case. Museum director Dennis McBride stands with Peter Barton, administrator of the Nevada Division of Museums and History.

  1) ‘Fish lizard’ takes up residence at museum

     On Feb. 16, the Nevada State Museum, Las Vegas welcomed a new interactive donation box. UNLV engineering students under the direction of Dr. Si Jung Kim designed, built and installed the donation box funded by the Friends. Its primary feature is a three-dimensional model of an ichthyosaur skeleton. The animal’s name is Greek for “fish lizard.”

     The ichthyosaur, now extinct, is a marine reptile that lived before the dinosaurs. Nevada’s state fossil is the ichthysaur Shonisaurus popularis, which had a long, flexible body with flippers, like a dolphin, but a long jaw of sharp teeth like some reptiles. It was air-breathing and delivered its young live, rather than from eggs.
     In the Triassic period, Nevada was underwater, and ichthyosaurs as long and wide as school buses roamed that sea. Nevada’s species was among the largest – other species that lived elsewhere and more recently than the Triassic can be much smaller, fossils show. Today many of Nevada’s popularis fossils can be seen, exposed but undisturbed, at Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park in northwest Nye County.
     UNLV graduate Alex Gao, owner of Moment 3D, printed and donated the three-dimensional model that is the focus of the donation box. The box also has several tracks on which visitors can race coins into the box’s donation tank.

The video shows the last bit of the box’s assembly in the museum’s main corridor.

2) Friends vote to approve WIFI spending

     At our Feb. 15 meeting, Friends voted 22-1 in favor to fund installation of WIFI on the public floor of the NV State Museum, LV, contingent upon the donation by Hyper Networks of half the cost of the hardware, free installation, and free maintenance for three years.  With several large donations earmarked for WIFI, the Friends board continues to pursue donors for its portion of the funding.