The Dragon Research Collaborative at Roanoke College has received a $20,000 grant from the Virginia Humanities to assist in the creation of a child-focused exhibit connecting the natural history of Appalachia to the stories of other areas and cultures. The museum exhibition, Fossil Tales, opened to the public on Oct. 28 at Wonder Universe in Christiansburg.
The DRC includes a culmination of 10 years of interdisciplinary research led by Lisa Stoneman, associate professor of education, and DorothyBelle Poli, professor of biology. The DRC’s aim is to use a scientific approach with dragons as a research focus across diverse disciplines of plant biology, history, literature, computer sciences, business, environmental science and more. The exhibit will permanently house an exploration of the DRC’s plant fossil-folklore hypothesis of a link between Lepidodendron plants and the lore of dragons. This display will include pieces of work collected or donated since the program’s inception in 2013.
A Renaissance festival-themed opening event, from 12-2 p.m. on Oct. 28, featured special guests Vikings of the Valley, a group that shares history, culture and heritage of the Vikings. Costumes were encouraged. Children’s authors Anna Denisch, Lydia Weltmann and Rebecca Conter were in attendance to do readings and sign books for attendees. A portion of the grant will be used to purchase books to give to all children at the opening, allowing them to bring the stories home and continue the inspiration and learning.
Wonder Universe is located at New River Valley Mall at 782 New River Road in Christiansburg.
-The Salem Times-Register