HISTORY AND MANAGEMENT
Learn about our story
The history of the museum begins in 2000, when local optometrist, Dr. Sheldon Johnson, was leveling a hill on his property. After removing several feet of topsoil, he came across a thick sandstone layer. This layer was the “paleontological jackpot”: dinosaur footprints! Dr. Johnson and his wife, LaVerna, decided to share the tracks with the world, opening their farm to the public. Within a few months, trained paleontologists from around the state, plus hundreds of volunteers, helped uncover thousands of fossils. Utah Paleontologist, Jim Kirkland has said, “The St. George track site is not only the oldest Jurassic dinosaur site in Utah, it is the best basal Jurassic track site in western North America.” Together with scientists, businesses, and government officials on the local, state, and national levels, the Johnsons and the DinosaurAH!torium Foundation raised enough funds to build a museum. In 2005, the St. George Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnson Farm opened its doors and has served over 500,000 visitors.
The DinosaurAH!torium Foundation
The DinosaurAH!torium Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. And in partnership with the City of St. George, manages and operates the museum and gift shop. Additionally, the foundation raises money through granting agencies and private donors for various exhibits and projects.
WHY WE EXIST
To research, preserve, interpret, and exhibit the fossil resources of the area and the story of this specific site for the benefit, education, and enjoyment of our valued communities and the scientific world.
THE IMPACT WE STRIVE TO HAVE
Be an anchor for the Earth Sciences in the southern Utah region. Through our exhibitions and programs, the Museum strives to inspire critical thinking, awaken curiosity, and deepen understanding about the natural world and humanity’s place in it. Through our collections, the Museum aims to pursue excellence in scientific research.
WHAT WE DO
Present compelling exhibitions and programs that link the local geology and paleontological story of our site to broader Earth science and natural history concepts.
Deliver educational programs and learning experiences to our visitors.
Generate and share new knowledge and research through exhibitions and publications.
Collect, preserve, and interpret fossil resources from the southern Utah region and strive to partner with scientists from around the world to further these goals
CORE BELIEFS THAT GUIDE OUR CONDUCT
Inclusion. We are welcome and friendly to persons of all abilities, we serve a diverse audience, and aim to include a variety of scientific approaches to our interpretation and research.
Curiosity. We never stop learning or thinking; we continually push boundaries and explore new territory.
Stewardship. The Museum will serve the community in perpetuity; to ensure this: we build and care for our collections, make intelligent and thoughtful use of our financial resources, and continually invest in our future.