Fossil museum celebrates National Fossil Day

Published 6:06 pm Monday, October 9, 2017

AURORA — The words, “Happy Fossil Day to you,” echoed through the learning center at the Aurora Fossil Museum as visitors sung loudly — and in the distance, Cynthia Crane sang along, an ear-to-ear grin growing across her face.

Crane, the director at the Aurora Fossil Museum, spent the majority of this past Saturday watching children dig up fossils, playing fossil jeopardy and sharing a love of science — all a part of the museum’s National Fossil Day celebration.

“I just can’t help smiling about the support of this museum by all the different organizations,” Crane said.

Crane said the day was the product of a lot of work from only a small group of people, but she’s beyond excited that they pulled it off. The community showed tremendous support, and many people were already asking about next year.

The celebration welcomed about 2,000 people, according to Crane. It was the third National Fossil Day celebration under her watch as director, and the event has grown every year. The first one, featuring the North Carolina Fossil Club, brought a few visitors; during the second event in 2016, the Aurora Community Watch performing a “Jam in the Park” recruited a few more visitors; and Saturday’s event brought 2,000 people from all over to Aurora. Crane said organizers shut down Main Street, the local chamber of commerce set up a yard sale and organizations came out to set up tents.

Crane said when board members suggested the museum hold a big event in the fall, a National Fossil Day event seemed like a no-brainer.

“What is better than to tie (the day) in with an event? I thought, ‘This is it. That’s what we need to do,’” Crane recalled.

The day brought more than just a good time to Aurora and the organization, however. The museum reached a yearly milestone — 17,000 visitors in 2017 — with about three months to spare. Crane said in 2016, the museum didn’t reach its goal of 16,000 visitors until mid-December.

“Hitting that goal during that day was just beyond-words exciting,” Crane said. “It’s a great feeling to know that people are coming out here to Aurora to celebrate the museum and what it has to offer.”

Now, Crane said the museum will push for 18,000 visitors in 2018, and it is already planning on growing the National Fossil Day event.