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Museum of Osteology
A midget skeleton and other skeletal deformities were in this case. 7.00 Oklahoma ratingStar
Museum of Osteology guyonthego

The Museum of Osteology features a diverse display of bones and skeletons. The museum touts its collection as the largest private one in the world; there are over 300 different animal skeletons on exhibit, and more than 5,000 skeletons overall. The exhibit space is a deceptively large 7,000 square foot facility with an open interior. Next to the exhibit area is a small gift shop; a picnic pavilion is located out back. While you may be tempted to purchase a skeleton souvenir after a visit, whether you will feel like having a picnic after looking at moderately creepy skeletons is an open question.

The museum was founded by Jay Villemarette who has had a lifelong interest in skulls and bones. He started collecting local animal skulls as a child. His collection and his interest grew over the years and morphed from a hobby into a business. A store was opened in 1990 and then relocated to its present location in 2000. The museum opened in 2010 and is next to the store and a processing facility called Skulls Unlimited.

The visit took place on a weekend in July, and the museum was surprisingly crowded, especially families with younger children. While it’s not inappropriate to bring kids here, it would not be the first place that comes to mind for an excursion for kids in summertime. Also, the location is somewhat remote and rural. The layout is straightforward though with a large interior space that has sizable skeletons, such as a whale and an elephant, and various glass panels around the walls with a host of additional smaller skeletons and related displays like shells and exoskeletons. It’s the type of place you can walk back and forth and to and fro, without feeling like you are seeing things out of order. This is fortunate because with all the people, it was simpler to visit less popular displays, until the crowds thinned out around other exhibits. There was just enough signage and information about the skeletons to provided useful background and some insight. More would have been helpful though. A film shown upstairs about the museum and bones collection was watched for a few minutes and was reasonably interesting. Also, an exhibit case by the entrance was full of voracious dermestid beetles cleaning off a bear’s skull. These beetles are evidently how a skull gets “cleaned.” Definitely this was a sight to see, but not for the faint of heart.

Overall, this museum turned out to be better than expected and more interesting as well. Skeletons are a slightly odd and somewhat unsettling collection theme, but the exhibits were well presented and quite memorable. Once you forget you are looking at animal skeletons (including humans) you can better appreciate the information provided about anatomy and biology and also admire the diversity of life on this planet. If you can arrange to visit at a less busy time, such as on a weekday afternoon during the school year, it should enhance the experience with a quieter atmosphere.
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June 2018
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