ISMD launches 2015 crowdfunding campaign: Bring the Dinosaur Museum to the Gobi

Short Summary:

Mongolia is known across the world for the amazing dinosaur skeletons found from its Gobi Desert. Skeletons of such well known species asTarbosaurus, Velociraptor, and Protoceratops are exhibited is museums in New York, Warsaw, Moscow, but as shocking as it might seem, no dinosaur museum exists in the Gobi Desert. As a result most Mongolian kids know little about their dinosaurs and do not have the opportunity to see these stunning specimens. We have acquired a state-of-the art mobile dinosaur museum and have brought it to Ulaanbaatar, the capital city of Mongolia with support of Gerry Ohstrom and Epicurus Fund. Help us prepare the museum for the long trek to the Gobi and get Mongolian kids excited about dinosaurs and science.

Campaign Description:

About the Project

The moveable dinosaur museum is a state-of-the art, walk-in, 37-foot long, handicap accessible vehicle. Inside are exhibits with scientifically accurate dinosaur casts, reconstructions, and videos, many of which feature Mongolian dinosaurs like Velociraptor and Protoceratops. Since 2005 the moveable museum has reached thousands of school kids while traveling throughout the New York City area. Now it is time to move this important moveable museum to the Gobi Desert of Mongolia!

Our Goal

Our campaign goal of $7900 will fund transportation expenses for the moveable dinosaur museum, educational supplies, snacks for students, staff salaries and the transportation, and room and board for the staff members. We estimate that it will cost $1300 in gasoline and tolls round trip to bring the moveable dinosaur museum to the Gobi, and an additional $700 will cover registration and insurance for this vehicle. Educational supplies will cost $350, including the drafting and printing of educational activities, multiple copies of children’s dinosaur books, and the lamination of dinosaur cards for repeated use. The salaries of four staff members (scientist, educator, coordinator, and driver) for a total of 10 days will cost $3400. The staff members room and board for 10 days will cost $1650. The transportation for the staff members will cost $500.

Impact

If you ask Mongolian kids to name one Mongolian dinosaur, most of them struggle. Unlike kids in the US, they just do not have access to books and TV shows on dinosaurs in their native language. We will change all that. Our 10-day program should reach 120 Mongolian school kids: 30 kids from Bulgan town (just a few miles from the famous Flaming Cliffs dinosaur locality), 60 kids from Dalanzadgad (provincial capital of the Flaming Cliffs locality) and 30 kids from Mandalgovi (provincial capital of Dundgovi). We anticipate that once we establish a solid track record of education with the moveable museum in Mongolia with support from this Indiegogo campaign, we will be well positioned to ask for additional funding from several grant agencies to bring the museum to other parts of Mongolia. Eventually, we anticipate that the museum will be able to visit 88 schools, 16 summer camps, and reach 15,000 children every year, and will completely change the landscape of k-12 science education on Mongolia. Our project will build on a growing interest in dinosaurs in Mongolia that follows the repatriation of many stolen dinosaur skeletons. Mongolian and International media has been covering these repatriations, and the return of these dinosaurs has become a major point of Mongolian pride.

Who We Are

The Institute for the Study of Mongolian Dinosaurs (ISMD) was established by Dr. Bolortsetseg Minjin in 2007 as a non-profit, non-government institution. Dr. Bolortsetseg is an accomplished Mongolian paleontologist who has been recognized as an “Emerging Explorer” by National Geographic and explorer of the Wings WorldQuest. She established the ISMD to promote Mongolian paleontology with an emphasis on educational outreach and professional training for aspiring paleontologists.

The ISMD, with the support of the Museum of the Rockies, launched the first dinosaur-focused educational outreach project in Mongolia in 2009. This project reached 32 rural and nomadic kids who live near some of the most famous dinosaur localities in the world. A news story about this project can be found at the following link:http://www.cbc.ca/player/Radio/More+Shows/Dispatches/2009/ID/1470583471/

Since then, the ISMD has continued to conduct educational outreach programs in the Gobi desert and Ulaanbaatar, the capital city of Mongolia, and since 2012 they expanded their activities to the US so that they could reach Mongolian children living abroad. The ISMD, with the help of several generous donors, has provided financial support to Mongolian students pursuing graduate degrees in paleontology and geology. Most recently the ISMD worked closely with the Mongolian government to bring illegally exported Mongolian dinosaurs back home. Details of these efforts can be found at the following link:http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2013/01/28/130128fa_fact_williams

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