Delta College's Clever Planetarium is no more. However, two dinosaur skulls from its Earth Science Center fossil collection, and Earth's crust mural display have found a new home — Lodi’s World of Wonders "WOW" Science Museum. Delta’s Board of Trustees approved the donation at their June 20 meeting.
The mission of the WOW Museum is to offer hands-on, science-based exhibits and programs to stimulate discovery for all ages. Indeed, a wonderful match for Delta's displays. "The fossil displays and reproductions were prominently featured at the Clever Planetarium for decades," says Assistant Superintendent/Vice President, Dr. Matt Wetstein. "It's my hope that these exhibits will spark the imagination of students, fans of geology, archaeology, and patrons of the WOW Museum for years to come."
Be afraid . . . be very afraid. The fossil donations feature a full size replica of a Tyrannosaurus Rexskull, serrated incisors and all! In addition, the museum will receive the skull of Deinosuchus, an extinct relative of the alligator that lived 80 million years ago. It's thought that Deinosuchus could have taken down a Tyrannosaur. The ancient gator grew up to 40 feet and weight 9 tons.
WOW Museum Education Director, Nick Gray, is excited about the donations. "Both the T. Rex and Deinosuchus skulls will be displayed on the museum's exhibit floor for visitors to enjoy. The WOW Museum is grateful Delta College has given us the opportunity to breathe new life into these displays."
The dinosaur skulls aren't the only displays being donated. Among the science displays is a large wall-mounted ceramic relief mural of the Earth’s crust called, Genesis. The Genesis mural wrapped around the Clever Planetarium lobby wall – visitors were encouraged to touch its features.
Artist and Stockton resident, Charlene Lauderdale, created Genesis specifically for the planetarium. After meticulous geologic research and many grueling months crafting the mural in Delta's ceramics shop, Genesis was installed in 1986. Charlene admits she wasn't sure if the Genesis sculpture still existed. “I’m extremely happy Genesis found a new home at the WOW Museum. The public can enjoy the work and understand that the Earth's crust is a living thing."
Delta students enjoy Lauderdale's artistic talents each day as they walk to and from class. She created the relief murals that adorn Delta's Shima building next to the Horton Art Gallery
Nick Gray points out that the museum is developing a "game plan" with Charlene Lauderdale's son, Fred, to prepare and mount Genesis. "However, I expect that the dinosaur skulls will be floor-ready in the next 2–3 weeks. See you at the WOW Museum!"
The World of Wonders Science Museum is located at 2 North Sacramento Street, Lodi, and open Wednesday–Monday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.