The Montana Department of Commerce has awarded a $53,700 tourism grant to Two Medicine Dinosaur Center in Bynum. The staff of Two Medicine Dinosaur Center is using their grant to install climate control and fire suppression systems in their building. The work would include adding humidifiers, dehumidifiers and fire sprinklers.

“All of these projects are geared toward getting us permission to work on public lands. … That way we don’t have to ship specimens all over the country,” said TMDC Director Cory Coverdell.

Under federal law, paleontological resources (including bones and other specimens) from public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management must be housed in certain environments to protect and maintain their physical condition for years to come. The new equipment would allow TMDC to measure up to these environmental standards, so the staff could expand their dig areas and collections.

Coverdell said he expects the work to begin this fall, and to be completed by the end of 2020.

TMDC is part of Montana’s Dinosaur Trail, a group of 14 dinosaur museums that attract visitors both from in and out of state to explore Montana’s great paleontological resources. (Choteau’s Old Trail Museum is also a stop on the trail.) In addition to the museum, TMDC is one of three museums in the state to offer public field expeditions, in which museum staff members train people to properly excavate and clean fossils, and then take them to help work on an active dig site. Coverdell says the museum gets about 5,000 visitors, and takes about 400 people on field expeditions each year.