The Museum of the Earth: Ithaca's Earth Science Destination

Are you a science-minded individual?  Do you love discovering how the earth and its life were formed, and the effects of atmosphere and earth changes to humanity?  If so, you’ll enjoy a visit to The Paleontological Research Institution’s Museum of the Earth in Ithaca.  Just a 10-minute drive from The Inn at Gothic Eves, this is a great day-trip during your bed and breakfast getaway, no matter what time of year!

The Museum of the Earth is a natural history and science museum, located at 1259 Trumansburg Road in Ithaca, where all can learn more about the earth through both permanent and rotating exhibits, hands-on displays and sci-art.  The museum also offers events and programs on specific topics for a more in-depth learning experience.


Permanent exhibits include:
  • PRI Fossil Exhibit – samples of our 3-million specimen collection
  • NEW Glacier Exhibit – a tour through an ice cave where you will learn about glaciers
  • North American Right Whale #2030 – a huge skeletal whale and exhibition of whale species and evolution.
  • Coral Reef Exhibit – a Indo-Pacific Reef Aquarium, and a Caribbean Reef Aquarium
  • ‘A Journey Through Time’ – the main part of the museum features this walking tour of life from the Earth’s beginning through today, including the Hyde Park Mastodon!
  • Rock of Ages, Sands of Time: A Look Back with Barbara Page: Starting November 7, 2013, see an astounding 544 3-dimensional paintings, each representing one million years, by Barbara Page.  You can also see her notes, sketches, and more that helped bring this work to light.  If you happen to be coming for a long weekend this weekend, you can MEET Ms. Page at the opening reception, starting at 5:30 pm on the 7th.
Current temporary exhibits include:
  • Moving Carbon, Changing Earth – the effects of carbon on the earth and our atmosphere 
Throughout the year, the Museum offers free courses/presentations. The current complimentary evening course offerings revolve around The History of Life, a set of presentations about life on Earth during its 4 billion years in existence.
There are currently two topics left before the History of Life feature ends on November 18, 2013:
  • Arms Race in the Sea on November 4: all about ocean life
  • Mammals Rule! A World of Change on November 18: all about… us! (And other mammals as well.)

The History of Life courses are offered from 5:30-6:30pm.

The upcoming Lecture Series topic is Glaciers, beginning on November 17, 2013.  This series is a cooperative between the Museum of the Earth, and Cayuga Nature Center, and does require a $10 admission fee per night.
  • November 17, 2pm at the Museum of the Earth: Watching Glacers Change From Space with Dr. Matthew Pritchard of Cornell University.
  • January 26, 2pm at the Cayuga Nature Center: The Deglacion of the Ithaca Area with Dr. Daniel King of Cornell University.
  • February 23, 2014, 2pm at the Museum of the Earth: Scientific Progress Goes ‘Boink’ (about the Earth’s spring-like motions caused by glaciers), with Dr. Mike Willis of the University of NC – Chapel Hill.
  • March 16, 2pm at the Cayuga Nature Center: What We’re Learning from a 3400-meter, West Antartic Ice Core with John Fegyveresi of Penn State University.
  • April 18, 6:30pm at the Museum of the Earth: Climate Change Overload with Laura Faye Tenenbaum of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Earth Science Communications Tea


Other upcoming activities include:
  • Thursday, December 5 at 6pm: A reading and book-signing with John Gurche, author of Shaping Humanity.  John is our very own resident paleo-artist who, for this work, used forensic reconstruction to create realistic and accurate models of our human ancestors’ faces, using skulls (or skull casts) as a base.  John is also a paleo-painter, illustrator, and animator – you can see his work in the film Jurassic Park and on the 1989 USPS Dinosaur Stamp series.


Have you ever been wandering and found a rock with puzzling fossils?  The museum offers Fossil ID Day, every second Saturday of the month between 10am and noon.  Bring that rock along and find out exactly what has been captured in its depths!

There is so much to see and do at the Museum of the Earth that you may have trouble fitting it into just one visit!  Current Winter Hours are Monday-Saturday 10am-5pm, and Sunday 11am-5pm, closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve.  Admission is reasonable at $8 per adult, $5 per senior and college student (with ID), $3 for youth, and free for children 3 and under.

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