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Volunteer Newsletter


March 14th, 2018
Welcome to the 3rd Volume of our Volunteer Digital Newsletter, V3!  We have a lot of information packed into this newsletter.  Our Museum is an incredibly busy place and we couldn’t do the quality work we do without ALL of our Volunteers.  Thank YOU!

We have another long read, so you best get started!

The Living History Farm is gearing up for the 2018 season out on the farm!  We could still use a few gardeners, but we will take all interested persons and try to find you a role that best fits YOU! Feel free to share this information with friends and family who you think might be interested!

Training for LHF will be held on Tuesday nights from 6-8PM.  The classes will run on April 3rd, 10th, and 17th and May 1st, 8th, and 15th.  If you are interested in being involved in the LHF, please let Christina know as soon as possible if you haven’t already.  christinabarbachano@montana.edu 

Julius Caesar: Military Genius & Mighty Machines opened to the public on February 17th.  Tours for schools have begun and are in full swing!  More tours are being added each day, so if you are a Docent, please do check back frequently to the Docent Calendar.  Also, if and when you know you have cancel a tour that you have signed up for, please just email Christina and she can take you off.  If you have already found a sub, she can do that as well!

GUITAR: The Instrument that Rocked the World
This exciting exhibit will open to the public on May 26th and will be a wonderful summer blockbuster for our community.  Diane Crawner and Christina Barbachano have been working hard on some very special programming for this exhibit.

Music Mondays 

Mondays, June 11 – August 13  |  10 a.m. – 4 p.m.  |  Included with admission

In the music industry, Bozeman is world-renown for its acoustic guitars. From the Gibson Guitar factory to individual guitar craftsman, guitars made in Bozeman are played by famous musicians around the world. Celebrate Montana's guitar builders and local musicians in weekly events for all ages, all summer long.

10 a.m. – Noon  |  Make Your Own Recycled Guitar
Using recycled materials, explore how different materials, shapes, and structures change the sound an instrument makes. 

 Noon – 1:30 p.m.  |  Music on the Plaza*
Each Music Monday will feature local performers strumming their guitars on the Plaza. Bring your lunch or buy one from the Fork in the Road Food Truck and soak in the music from a variety of excellent Bozeman performers. This program is free to the public. Museum admission is not required. 

*In the case of inclement weather, these performances will take place in the Hager Auditorium with space for lunch available in the Lower Lobby.  Unfortunately, food and drinks are not allowed in the auditorium. 

1:45 – 2:45 p.m.  |  Guided Tour of GUITAR: The Instrument That Rocked The World
Our renowned docents will expertly guide you through the GUITAR exhibition and bring it to life each day.

2 – 4 p.m.  |  Inside a Guitar
Join Gibson Guitars every week along with other guitar artisans to explore how acoustic guitars are made. 

 GUITAR: An Evening with an Expert

June 18, July 2, July 23, & August 13  |  6 – 8:30 p.m.  |  $8/member & $12/non-member

Price includes admission to the GUITAR exhibition & light appetizers

Tickets are limited. Advanced registration recommended at museumoftherockies.org/guitar

Meet the some of the experts, collectors, builders, and performers that have made Bozeman's guitar industry what it is today. Hear their stories, learn about the nuances that make each guitar unique, and listen to their handmade guitars. After the presentation in the auditorium, enjoy light appetizers in the Main Lobby and explore the GUITAR exhibition. Visit museumoftherockies.org/guitar for the line-up of expert performers and registration.

When: Thursday, March 29th from 12noon-1pm
Where: Classroom
Presenter: Dr. Craig Lee

Just as the technological development of the aqualung and submersibles opened the oceans to archaeology and other research opportunities, global warming is opening the cryosphere as a new research frontier. The discovery of rare, unique and important artifacts and paleobiological specimens at melting ice patches holds the potential to revolutionize anthropological theories and concepts pertaining to human adaptation and utilization of the Alpine.  Today’s talk will convey some of the exciting results stemming from ice patch research in the Greater Yellowstone and beyond.

Dr. Craig M. Lee is a is a Research Scientist II/Associate Professor at the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR), an Adjunct Instructor in the Department of Sociology & Anthropology at Montana State University, and a Principal Investigator at Metcalf Archaeological Consultants.  He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Colorado at Boulder, an M.A. from the University of Wyoming, and a B.S. from Montana State University.  He serves on the boards of directors for the PaleoCultural Research Group and the Lamb Spring Archaeological Preserve and volunteers with numerous organizations, including Montana's Site Stewardship Advisory Council.  His research interests include the human ecology and landscape archaeology of alpine and high latitude environments with an emphasis on sharing the process and results with numerous audiences, including the professional scientific community, descendant Native American communities, and the public.  Dr. Lee’s research has been published in numerous venues, including Antiquity, American Antiquity, Arctic, and The Holocene.

April 2nd from 12noon 1pm in the Classroom, the Volunteer Board will host their annual meeting to vote on the slate of candidates for the upcoming Volunteer Board.  The Officer nominees are as follows:
President: Kristi Menix
Vice President: RO Meyer
Secretary: Trish Rice

The Volunteer Board will also have amendments to the organization’s bylaws to vote on and lastly there will be refreshments and social time.

The Dino Cart is an interpretive and educational outreach program that we have in the Dinosaur Halls to supplement our exhibits.  It is a fun way to show off what you know and how you feel about all things fossils.  The Dino Cart Volunteers work 2 hour shifts at a time and choose the paleo items/theme they would like to bring to life for our visitors.  Training is easy, especially if you are already a Docent or work in the Paleo department in a different capacity.  If you are interested in more information or signing up, please contact Christina at Christinabarbachano@montana.edu or 994-6611 or just come visit with her down in her office.

We are in need of a few more Dino Cart Volunteers for the following times:

We have several Family Days coming up at which we will need Volunteers for various activities and tasks.  If you are interested in any of the Family Days, please contact Dillon at Dillon.Warn@montana.edu and let him know which dates you might be interested in helping out. 

Julius Caesar Family Day – March 24th
Astronomy & Aerospace Day – April 14th
Junior Archeology Family Day – April 28th

Thank you to ALL the Docents who have been doing so many Julius Caesar tours!

THANK YOU to Diane Brawner for all the work and dedication to developing our Guitars programming.  We have some great things happening this summer and all due to her hard work and passion for music!

We have been asked how we “choose” who the next Rockstars will be.  We have asked for nominations for both and we go from there.  So if you have any nominations for either the next Rockstar Volunteer or Rockstar Docent, please feel free to email christinabarbachano@montana.edu. 

Without further ado, we bring you Rockstar Volunteer Jamie Jette and Rockstar Docent Maury Irvine. 

Isabel Leong interviewed them this month and did a great job of writing up their interviews in an article format. Isabel is a lifelong learner and lover of all things educational.  She likes volunteering at the Museum of the Rockies because she meets interesting people and gets to revisit her favorite exhibits. Isabel also enjoys reading, listening to podcasts, hiking around Bozeman, and practicing yoga in her spare time. 



Jamie Jette wanted to be a paleontologist at a time when many of her teachers didn't even know how to spell it. In fact, she fell in love with paleontology before many of them even knew the field existed. Jamie was five years old when her father took her to the Smithsonian for the first time. He had a hard time convincing his young daughter that the bones she was seeing were once real, live animals, larger than anything she'd ever seen before. Living in Washington, DC had exposed Jamie to many larger than life statues around the city. She thought her father was pulling her leg when he told her that dinosaurs were real and their bones reflected their true size. When it was apparent that the dinosaurs really were that large once upon a time, Jamie's lifelong passion for paleo was born.

Jamie attended the University Of Maryland where she earned her degree in English Literature with a focus on the medieval period. She began a master's degree, but dropped out to get married. Despite her interest in science, Jamie was discouraged from taking science classes that would put her on the path to the paleontology field. Eventually Jamie went back to school and earned a degree in accounting. She went on to become the business manager for a private school for fifteen years. When they retired, Jamie's husband wanted to return to his home state of Montana.

They moved to Bozeman in 1996 during a harsh winter. Jamie looked into taking classes at MSU and thought she would have to go in on bended knee to ask for a position working at the Museum. Instead, she read an advertisement in the newspaper calling for volunteers. Her 5 year old dreams became a reality when she began working in the Fossil Bank (now, the Viewing Lab). One day, she ran into a roadblock; the equipment upstairs was not sophisticated enough for the piece she was working on. Jack Horner invited her downstairs to work with higher tech equipment. Jamie's happily remained there for the past 20 years and counting. As she puts it, "she has the dino dust in her blood."

One of the most interesting creatures Jamie worked on was the Daspletosaurus, an ancestor of the T-Rex. She's been working off and on on the Daspletosaurus since 1999. Currently, she is working on the hip assembly, and the project is nearing completion.

Another highlight Jamie experienced from her time at the Museum has been meeting the many visitors that come through the doors. She helps give tours to groups from all over the world, including celebrities, Japanese exchange students, and visiting scientists. The Museum has also helped put together several Make-a-Wish experiences, which have allowed children to feel what it's like to go on a paleontology dig. Jamie helped prep the bones they work on.

Thank you for sharing your story with us, Jamie!


If you're ever in the Siebel Dinosaur Complex at the same time as Maury, you might have seen him giving an impromptu tour to some lucky patrons. Not only is he an accomplished docent, Maury's involvement with the Museum has taken him all over the world.

Maury's journey began many years ago in the Mission District of San Francisco. He was born and raised there until age 8, when his family moved back to Montana. The former city boy took well to Big Sky Country. He rode his horse 5 miles to school each way and studied with the children of ranchers and miners in a one room schoolhouse. Maury had just graduated high school when he joined the Merchant Marines and went off to fight in WWII. His job took him all over the Mediterranean, including several stops in Italy, where he visited Naples, Rome, and Pompeii. Current exhibit, Julius Caesar: Military Genius & Mighty Machines, has been especially interesting because of his time spent there.

Although he was not eligible for the GI Bill (Merchant Marines were not considered veterans until 1988), Maury knew he needed an education after he got out. He moved to Bozeman to attend Montana State University (Class of '50), where he picked up "a degree and a wife." Together they moved to Pennsylvania, where Maury attended Lehigh University, getting both his Master's and PhD in Physics. In order to help pay for his schooling, Maury taught while completing his degrees. He discovered a life long passion for teaching, which serves him well on his tours, especially with the schoolchildren. After graduating from Lehigh, Maury went on to work for Bell Telephone Laboratories in New Jersey. There he was part of many important and exciting projects, including the development of the first flyable transistor computer and several early Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Defense Systems.

After retiring, Maury and his wife temporarily moved back to Bozeman. Maury saw an ad in the newspaper looking for Museum volunteers and decided to apply. Initially Maury was interested in volunteering at the Planetarium, but a staff member suggested he go through docent training, which he thoroughly enjoyed. Just as training ended however, so did Maury's time in Bozeman. He and his wife returned to New Jersey, where Maury jokes that as soon as they got there, the traffic made them turn right back around to Montana!

After officially moving back to Bozeman and settling into their new house, Maury came back to the Museum and through training once again. As he puts it, he went through docent training in 1988, but didn't give his first tour until 1990!

While at the Museum, Maury met Jack Horner. He modestly describes his initial involvement as "tagging along" on Horner's trip to Outer Mongolia to research dinosaurs. Eventually Maury would go on to accompany Horner all over the globe, including Patagonia, The Galapagos Islands, and Tanzania.

Maury's favorite permanent exhibits are, of course, the dinosaurs. He also remembers many travelling exhibits with fondness, such as Tutankhamun: Wonderful Things From The Pharaoh’s Tomb, Leonardo da Vinci: Machines in Motion, and Treasures of Napoleon.

Thank you for taking the time to speak with us, Maury!

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