Dr. Andy Farke – Museum Director, Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology

Dreaming Big

A category of one! Singular! These are catch phrases repeated here and elsewhere when describing the uniqueness of the Alf Museum at The Webb Schools. In fact, it is the only accredited museum of paleontology on a secondary school campus anywhere in the world, and likely will be for the next 100 years and beyond.

“The program for Webb students is at the core of our museum, and a pretty clear case illustrating that striving for excellence in one area helps bolster success in the other. For instance, a paleontology museum’s reputation is built upon not just its fossil discoveries, but how clearly and accurately these fossil discoveries are interpreted and relayed to the scientific community as well as the broader world,” Museum Director Dr. Andy Farke explained.

Webb students are integral to the interpretation and sharing Farke describes. Their work, contributions and experiences go way beyond camping trips and fossil digs.

“The Alf Museum has an amazing fossil collection—and it’s even more amazing when you think about the new scientific knowledge that has sprung from the collection, particularly through collaborations between faculty, staff, and students. A fossil picked up by one Webb student on a summer peccary trip can be studied by another student that fall in the advanced research class, and then published a year later in a peer reviewed international journal!” Farke said.

The opportunities Farke notes in turn provide an unparalleled experience for Webb students, not just in pursuing their educational goals but also in modeling a love for discovery and lifelong learning.

“We’re all dreaming big—but big dreams take time, and they take resources. The sooner those resources are in hand, the sooner we can get down to the work of elevating Webb’s facilities, people, and program up to the next level I’m so excited about what could be next, and I can’t wait to get there!” Farke said.




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