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Welcome To Fort Wallace Museum
Preserving the History of the Smoky Hill River Basin
Home of the "Fightin'est Fort in the West"


Chuck Warner will discuss his new book Birds, Bones, and Beetles: The Improbable Career and Remarkable Legacy of University of Kansas Naturalist Charles D. Bunker

 

Ft. Wallace Museum, Saturday, November 2 at 2:00 pm MDT

The book spans the lifetime and accomplishments of an early pioneer and naturalist at the University of Kansas Natural History Museum, who had important ties to the fossil fields of western Kansas. 

On July 2, 1911, Charles Bunker labored under a scorching sun as he carefully picked at the outcropping of a dry creek bed near the Smoky Hill River a few miles south of Wallace, Kansas.   After several hours of slow and meticulous handwork, a four-foot jawbone containing three and four-inch teeth was fully exposed.  It would turn out to be from a 45-foot sea serpent that would have ruled the shallow sea that covered western Kansas some 65 million years ago.   For Bunk, a nickname he acquired from his colleagues at the museum, finding this prize was quite unexpected since the mission of his field trip was to collect bird and mammal specimens and not fossils. 

Because the specimen was so large and much of the fossil bones were imbedded in rock, paleontologists disagreed on the species until the 1960s.  Finally, it was determined that Bunker’s sea serpent was a mosasaur and the largest Tylosaurus proriger found in North America.  In 2014 the species was recognized as the State of Kansas Marine Fossil and today this centerpiece of the museum’s fossil collection hangs over the entryway of Dyche Hall to greet all visitors to the KU Natural History Museum.

Bunker



New Exhibit
Sculpture of Dr. Turner by Melissa Rau
 Dr. Theophilus Turner and William Comstock found the skelton of a plesiosaur east of Fort Wallace
TurnerTurner Figurethof's dargon





Fort Wallace Museum
2655 Highway 40
Wallace, KS 67761
(785) 891-3564
www.ftwallace.com
museum@ftwallace.com
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Fort Wallace Memorial Association  is  501(c)3 organization set up to run the Fort Wallace Museum.
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Thank You for Donations.
Free admission with a suggested donation of $7 per adult.
Winter hours  [1st  Sunday of Nov. - 2nd  Sunday of March] 10 am-4 pm Thurs.- Sat.
as weather  permits.
Summer hours  [March 16 - Oct.]  9am-5 pm Mon. -Sat. and 1-5 pm Sunday
*Note: All times are Mountain Time*