Students shed winter blues by visiting W.H. Over Museum

Students shed winter blues by visiting W.H. Over Museum Classes visiting the W.H. Over Museum have been treated by seeing some of the rare and unusual specimens of animals that are housed by the museum.

The long, cold and snowy winter has brought out the albino animals and mutants which are unusually pale, almost white, as well as an ermine, which is one of the few mammals that changes color during the winter.

These animals were given to the museum during the term of Dr. William H. Over, 1913-48. They have been housed in the animal storage area of the museum during the past 35 years or more.

Among the white and pale animals on exhibit until spring are a western skunk, an opossum, a muskrat, several pheasants, a cottontail, a western jack rabbit and an ermine, known as a weasel in the warm months of the year when its coat is brown. All of these animals on exhibit were caught in central to eastern South Dakota.

In addition to these unusual creatures, visitors to the museum have the privilege of seeing a collection of animals which illustrate the animals which were described by the Lewis and Clark expedition in the journals kept of their trip through our area in 1804 -1806. In the accompanying photograph, Maxine Johnson, president of the Friends of the Museum, talks to a group of third graders from Jolley School about these animals and their habitats.

Classes are scheduled throughout the late winter and spring months to tour the museum. It is possible to arrange for a guided tour for any group, large or small, by calling the museum office (677-5228) at least two weeks in advance.

On Saturday mornings at 9:30 a.m., classes are offered as a way to get acquainted with the natural world and the cultural history of our region. These classes, open to the public of all ages, are free.

On Saturday, March 3, Julie Strathman, of the nursery From the Ground Up, will teach attendees how to be successful at starting plants indoors from seed.

In the ensuing weeks, class attendees will learn more about the history of Spirit Mound and about the effort to make it into a public access area with Kent Scribner and Larry Monfore. On March 24, musician Mary Green Vickrey will play songs that may have been sung by members of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

Anyone who has a topic that is directly or indirectly related to the focus of the Over Museum, natural and/or cultural history, is invited to volunteer to share his or her interest in this way. Please call the museum, 677-5228, and leave a message for Karen Mahood, education chair of the Friends.

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