Montana State University

MSU presents "Dinosaurs under Montana's Big Sky" at 2012 Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C.

June 25, 2012 -- MSU News Service

United States Secretary of Education Arne Duncan listens as MSU paleontologist Jack Horner urges more integration between elementary, high school and university systems during a panel discussion on June 26, 2012. Horner and Duncan were speaking on the future of education during a celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Morrill Act in Washington, D.C., hosted by the Assocation of Public and Land-Grant Universities. MSU photo by Kelly Gorham.   High-Res Available

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MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571
Montana State University, the state's first land-grant university, is participating in the 2012 Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C. celebrating the 150th anniversary of the nation's land-grant university system and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The Festival takes place Wednesday, June 27, through Sunday, July 1, and Wednesday, July 4, through Sunday, July 8, outdoors on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. All events are free. Festival hours are 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. each day, with special evening events such as concerts and dance parties beginning at 5:30 p.m. The festival is co-sponsored by the National Park Service.

Montana State University and its Museum of the Rockies are presenting a public exhibit titled "Dinosaurs Under Montana's Big Sky," an interactive look at its world-class paleontology program. Museum staff will talk with visitors about what it's like to be a paleontologist and explain the work being done in the field, labs, classrooms and abroad.

Visitors to the exhibit will see live demonstrations of dinosaur fossil preparation and have the opportunity to touch real dinosaur bones and participate in family-oriented teaching activities. The exhibit will focus on the Folklife Festival sub-theme of "Transforming Communities," including information on ways in which research at MSU is transforming communities in Montana and around the globe through outreach programs, traveling exhibitions and more.

In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed legislation to establish the land-grant university system and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Today, the land-grant mission of "knowledge with public purpose," is evident in research, learning and community engagement projects that make the world safer, healthier and more sustainable. The 2012 Folklife Festival program "Campus and Community: Public and Land-grant Universities and the USDA at 150" celebrates 150 years of partnership between universities, the USDA and communities.

"I can't tell you how pleased I am Montana State University will be among the premier land-grant universities in the nation celebrating the creation of the land-grant university system. This was a truly historic accomplishment in the nation's history; one that transformed America by making higher education accessible to the sons and daughters of working families throughout the United States," said MSU President Waded Cruzado.

"Campus and Community" will focus on four themes that reflect the current work of public and land-grant universities and the USDA: reinventing agriculture, sustainable solutions, transforming communities and building on tradition. Each theme will allow visitors to interact with university and USDA staff, professors, students and community members highlighting exciting research and engagement projects. From master gardeners to Hawaiian traditional healing, from managing invasive species to helping communities recover from natural disasters, the program will cover an array of ways universities and the USDA put research into action every day.

The program will also feature Smithsonian U., where visitors can listen to short informative talks by master teachers; the Test Kitchen, which will include cooking demonstrations using ingredients raised or researched at agricultural experiment stations; The Commons, an area promoting dialogue about important issues affecting universities, the USDA and communities; The Justin S. Morrill Performing Arts Center, a large stage where student groups and other regional groups will showcase world class music and dance, from mariachi to Hawaiian hula; the Learning Laboratory Family Activities Center, where families can experience hands-on art and science activities; and Alumni Hall, an area for graduates of public and land-grant universities and USDA programs to reconnect with each other and share memories. Visitors will also be able to visit the Festival Marketplace to purchase crafts, food items and popular books and recordings relating to the universities and the USDA.

More than twenty-five land-grant and public universities will participate in this year's festival, including a consortia of Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Tribal Colleges in the land-grant system and Hispanic Serving Institutions.

"Campus and Community: Public and Land-grant Universities and the USDA at 150" is produced in partnership with the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Participating universities include the University of California, Davis; the University of Florida; the University of Hawaii; the University of Illinois; Indiana University; Iowa State University; the University of Maryland; Michigan State University; Mississippi State University; the University of Missouri; Montana State University; Oregon State University; the University of Tennessee; Texas A&M University; Washington State University and West Virginia University. The University of Vermont is a contributing university.

About the Festival:
The Smithsonian Folklife Festival, inaugurated in 1967, honors tradition bearers from across the United States and around the world. With approximately 1 million visitors each year, the festival unites performers and visitors in the nation's capital to celebrate the diversity of cultural traditions. It is produced by the Smithsonian's Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. The festival's website is

Contact: Tom Calcagni, MSU Communications,, (406) 994-4571