Throughout its 20 years under the dome on the east side of Hays, Sternberg Museum of Natural History has shown many students the wonders of the natural world from fossils creatures that once swam the great ocean to those that walk, crawl and slither across the plains today.
Many of those students returned to the museum in their college studies and then to careers in paleontology and biology.
Although she’s not planning a career in the sciences, Rachel Unruh is just as excited to be working at Sternberg.
“I have always loved the museum, even when I was little. My mom would drive us over from Colby and we would visit the Sternberg,” the Fort Hays State University senior said.
She began working the reception desk as a student manager in 2016, and now she in interning as the museum’s marketing and public relations assistant.
She was a fan of the “Jurassic Park” movies as a child, she said.
“This was close to working at Jurassic Park in my opinion,” she said.
“I was glad that I was able to mix my major in with the museum,” she said.
Marketing seemed like a good mix for her interests, Unruh said.
“I’ve always loved talking to people, and I love helping them out and I also love writing as well,” she said.
She plans to graduate in May, and said while she’s willing to go whichever way Kansas’ winds might blow, staying at Sternberg “would be the dream,” she said.
Part of her duties in the marketing position have been planning the museum’s 20th anniversary celebration, which will be form 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday.
During that time, the museum will charge its opening day admission price of $4, and the gift shop will offer a 20 percent discount.
A talk by Collections Manager Curtis Schmidt and photographer Marilyn Wasinger will be the main event of the afternoon.
“They’re going to talk about their experience in Southern Africa. Curtis just did some research down there and Marilyn did some photography,” Unruh said.
After their talk, Sternberg employees and volunteers will share some of their experiences at the museum.
Visitors on Sunday can also explore the museum’s exhibits, which include Wasinger’s photo safari, “Magalodon: The Largest Shark that Ever Lived” and “Rattlerssss: From Fear to Fascination,” as well as the museum’s collections and Discovery Room.