Fossil Museum and Estuarium receive grants over $100,000

Published 10:49 am Friday, October 14, 2022

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Aurora Fossil Museum Foundation, Inc., and the North Carolina Estuarium will benefit from grants given through the North Carolina Science Museums Grant Program. The fossil museum is receiving $173,163.02 and the Estuarium is receiving $129,395.62. 

The Aurora Fossil Museum and the Estuarium are two of a total 55 science centers across North Carolina receiving grant money from the grant program which was established under the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. The $6.3 million program is funded through the American Rescue Plan Act, but is distributed by the department. “Grants were awarded based on state legislated criteria that promote the priorities of state government, with a primary goal of enhancing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education opportunities for the public, particularly in low-resource communities,” according to the department. 

“The great work of these museums continues to place our state at the forefront of informal science education nationally and these grants support that endeavor,” Darrell Stover, Head of the North Carolina Science Museums Grant Program at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences said in a press release from The North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

The Aurora Fossil Museum is a 501(c)(3) science education resource center that educates the public about paleontology as well as the natural and cultural history of Eastern North Carolina. They have exhibits, interactive activities, and host events throughout the year like their Fossil Festival held annually on Memorial Day weekend.  During the fall and winter, the museum is open Wednesday through Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. It is located at 400 Main Street in Aurora. Admission is free, but donations are appreciated as well as purchases made in the gift shop, according to their website. 

The Fossil Museum is celebrating National Fossil Day on Saturday, Oct. 15 from 10 a.m to 4 p.m. Admission is free. 

The North Carolina Estuarium is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and an environmental education center focused on teaching the public about estuaries in North Carolina. They offer exhibits, aquariums with estuarine life, interactive displays, artwork, artifacts from the Pamlico River, river boat tours and programs on natural and cultural heritage, according to the Partnership for the Sounds website. The Estuarium is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tickets cost $3 for children K-12, but $5 for adults. Tickets are free for children under the age of five, unless with a group. The Estuarium is located at 223 E. Water Street in Washington.