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Fryxell Geology Museum

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

Schedule a free field trip
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.

The Fryxell Geology Museum features one of the best collections of minerals and fossils in the Midwest. Admission is free. 

School field trips

Free school field trips generally are scheduled between 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Friday during the academic year.

The staff provides a guided tour and various 30-minute programs, depending on the age of the visiting group. Teachers should plan about one hour and 15 minutes for a visit.

Students participate in the hands-on program while the host directs exploration of rocks, minerals, and fossils through observation and physical property tests and a game in which students work together to match natural resources (i.e. ores, minerals, and fossil fuel) to their human-made products.

School visits also can be scheduled in conjunction with a free 45-minute planetarium show for third grade and above. 

For specific times and dates for field trips, call 309-794-7318 in advance or email Jennifer Milner.

The collection

The museum is named after Dr. Fritiof Fryxell, professor of geology from 1929-1973. It began in the late 1880s with a modest natural history collection. Today, the collection holds over 20,000 rock, mineral and fossil specimens, with 1,500 on display.

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.


Due to COVID-19 precautions, the museum is open by appointment only to individual families. No group tours are available.

Call 309-794-7318 between 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. weekdays to schedule an appointment.


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

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