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Fryxell Geology Museum

One of the largest and finest collections of rocks, minerals and fossils in the Midwest.

Visiting the museum
Dr. William Hammer
Visitors are greeted by a 22-foot-long skeleton of a Cryolophosaurus, a large carnivorous dinosaur discovered in Antarctica in 1991 by Dr. William Hammer.

Fall Open House Oct. 28

The Fryxell Geology Museum and the John Deere Planetarium will be open to the public from 7:30-9 p.m. Oct. 28.

The museum features one of the best collections of minerals and fossils in the Midwest. Highlights include a wall of glowing, fluorescent rocks, a cast of a Tyrannosaurus rex skull, and a complete 22-foot long skeleton of Cryolophosaurus, a large crested carnivorous dinosaur discovered in Antarctica.

Indoor and outdoor programs will be led by planetarium director Dr. Lee Carkner. Admission is free.

The evening’s events will include a planetarium show where the wonders of the night sky will be presented on the facility’s 30-foot dome with the Spitz A3P projector. Views of astronomical objects, including the planet Saturn and the first quarter moon will be provided via the telescopes of the Carl Gamble Observatory.

The observing areas are unheated, so dress appropriately for the weather. In the event of cloudy conditions, telescope views may not be possible but the indoor programs will still be offered.

About the museum

The Fryxell Geology Museum is named after Dr. Fritiof Fryxell, began in the late 1880s with a modest natural history collection. Today it has more than 1,500 rock, mineral, and fossil specimens and a fluorescent mineral display.

Admission is free. 

School field trips generally are scheduled between 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Friday during the academic year. For specific times and dates for field trips, call 309-794-7318 in advance.


Hours are 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday and 1-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday when classes are in session.


The museum is housed in the Swenson Hall of Geosciences, adjacent to Founder's Hall and Ascension Chapel.

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