Oakes Museum of Natural History Centennial Exhibits
Bygone Times and Bedrock
The Oakes Museum of Natural History is pleased to present Bygone Times and Bedrock (October 3, 2009 – July 15, 2010), two special exhibits for the Centennial Celebration at Messiah College. Thematically, these exhibits are designed to show how Messiah’s campus has changed over the decades, introduce some fascinating artifacts, and provide little known facts about the rock formations beneath Messiah College.
This exhibit is an eclectic collection of facts, maps, pictures and artifacts depicting the history of Messiah College. Extraordinary among the artifacts is S.R. Smith’s telescope. Dr. Morris Sider notes in his book, Messiah College, A History, that “Smith had a deep interest in science and astronomy. By 1871, he had, in the words of his journal, ‘the idea of inventing an instrument admitting the revolving heavens containing the sun and the eight primary planets with their secondaries revolving around them constituting a system of 20 secondary and eight primary planets all at once performing their revolution around the sun ..’”
Along with Smith’s telescope are eighteen photographs telling the story of Messiah’s history through old photos, aerial shots of the campus as it grew, and enrollment growth.
Also featured, is Old Zeke. Zeke is a human skeleton that was willed to the Messiah Orphanage Home from the estate of Benjamin Gish. Mr. Gish was a teacher “in hygiene and studied the human body considerably in his life time.” Zeke has been used in Messiah classes from 1909 through the Fall of 1998. Old Zeke will be in the Oakes Museum just hanging around waiting for everyone to stop in to say hello.
Is Messiah College built on the proverbial firm foundation? Former geology professor, Mark Wolgemuth, found that Messiah College is built upon six different rock formations. The Oakes Museum’s Curator of Geology, Ed Charles says, “most colleges across the state may be built on two or three different rock layers, but to be on top of six layers is amazing. The college community can rest easy, assured that the college is built on a firm foundation in two ways!” Central to the new exhibit is the geology map of campus Mark Wolgemuth drew in the early 1960s. All six types of rock are on display.