Ed Clark Museum - Rolla
Edward L. Clark Museum of Missouri Geology Minerals, rocks, fossils, mammoth tusks, maps and more!
Visit us at 111 Fairgrounds Road
Missouri's Official Dinosaur
The museum boasts a small cast of the state dinosaur, Hypsibema missouriensis. Hypsibema missouriensis was first discovered in 1942 when Dan Stewart, one of our geologists was working near the town of Glen Allen in Bollinger County. Dan was investigating clay deposits in the area when a local family told him about clay they had encountered in a recently dug well. When Dan arrived at the location, he was shown several bones that had been found in the clay. These bones were sold to the Smithsonian but it was not until the 1980s that the dinosaur was correctly identified as a hadrosaur or “duck billed” dinosaur. The herbivore (a plant eating dinosaur) had jaws that contained more than 1,000 teeth. Hypsibema had evolved specialized teeth to handle the tough, fibrous vegetation of the time. Hypsibema lived in Missouri during the late Cretaceous period around 75 million years ago and became the state’s official dinosaur on July 9, 2004. Learn more about the official state dinosaur from the Bollinger County Museum of Natural History website. Other state symbols may be found on the Secretary of State’s website. Read more about the official state dinosaur and other state symbols in our Missouri Resources Magazine.
Visitors Packing Rocks
Children and adults often bring rocks and other items to our museum and ask for a geologist who can examine and properly identify them. We encourage visitors to stop by so we can help. We are open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Rolla resident Meghan Cox, her sister Sammee, and her grandmother visited the musuen and Meghan (who wants to be a paleontologist), brought a number of rocks and fossils to be identified by Dave Bridges, MGS geologist. One special rock, made of chert, contained the fossil of a crinoid, the Missouri state fossil. Read more about it and other fossils. Download a full-color booklet that describes the most common rocks in Missouri, and learn about their uses.
Nine-year-old Joseph Daniel "J.D." James, Slater, and his grandmother Nadra Curtis, Edgar Springs brought a large piece of chert they believed contained a fossil. J.D., a third-grade student, found the specimen in Hannibal. Nadra told Hylan Beydler, MGS Information Officer that J.D. has wanted to be a paleontologist since the age of five years. The boy was delighted when Pat Mulvany, MGS geologist, told them it was a fossil. His eyes seemed to grow larger as Mulvany and Dave Bridges, MGS geologist, described the fossil as a Crinoid, Missouri’s official state fossil. Mulvany told J.D. the width of the fossil was very impressive and when he indicated it was the largest (width-wise) he had ever seen J.D. was understandably ecstatic! Read more about it and other fossils. Download a full-color booklet that describes the most common rocks in Missouri, and learn about their uses.
Rolla residents Kelly Angst and her son Trustin Richards arrived with what looked like a portion of a finger or toe. Thankfully, the rock was identified by Pat Mulvany, MGS geologist, as quartz. Kelly told staff she found the rock in western Colorado and was very happy to have it properly identified. Download a full-color booklet that describes the most common rocks in Missouri, and learn about their uses.
Plan Your Visit
The museum also provides a background for Survey staff to share with both adults and children the importance of our state's natural resources and highlights the fossils, rocks and minerals that are found in our state and identifies the role that the Survey plays in the management and protection of these resources. The museum is named for Edward L. Clark, State Geologist from 1944 to 1955.
Want to delight your favorite rock enthusiast? Consider giving a Missouri Rock and MineralSet. Accompanyingthe set is a full-color 16-page booklet that describes each rock and mineral and its uses. This set is available for purchase when visiting the museum (or online). Learn more about this and other educational items from the Missouri Geology Store.
Self-guided tours are available to the public weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free! Closed Holidays.
Missouri Department of Natural Resources
Missouri Geological Survey
111 Fairgrounds Road, Rolla
Take I-44 Exit 184 and continue through both roundabouts to Kingshighway. Turn left on to Fairgrounds Road (will pass Buehler Park). We are located just beyond the park and car wash, across from the automobile dealership.
The work of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources teaches environmental stewardship and wise use of our precious natural resources through a broad understanding and appreciation for Missouri’s natural, cultural and energy resources. Read about recent activities, watch some of our educational videos. Thanks for visiting us during Earth Science Week 2012 to learn about fossils, geologic mapping and more! See our Governor's Proclamation.