The “Egidio Feruglio” Paleontology Museum turns 25 years old
Today, the Mef celebrates 25 years since it was first open, at an old building in downtown Trelew, Patagonia. From that moment, this Institution has grown beyond its exhibitions, becoming an internationally recognized center of scientific activities considered unique of its type in South America.
Patagonia is a land worldwide known for its fossil fields, so vast and rich, that have been of interest for generations of paleontologists. And it is here, in Trelew city, where the MEF has taken, for the last 25 years, the commitment of protecting, investigating and sharing Patagonia´s paleontological richness.
The Museum´s History
The story begins in 1988, when the authorities from the City Hall in Trelew create the “Egidio Feruglio” Museum of Natural Sciences, giving it an institutional support together with the National Research Council Scientific and Technical (CONICET in Spanish). In September 1990, the “Egidio Feruglio” Foundation is created, with the aim of supporting and promoting science through the Museum´s work, and towards the consolidation of Patagonia´s paleontology as a whole. Thus, with great effort from these Institutions, the first Museum headquarters were inaugurated in December 28th the same year, at an old building in downtown Trelew (today, home to the City Cultural Center).
Since that moment, the Museum kept growing and gaining experience; hence, it came the time to foresee a whole renewal of the Institution, which got crystallized in 1999 whit the inauguration of its current headquarters, equipped with laboratories, offices, a library, a modern Auditorium and a wide exhibition area.
The year after that, the Mef signs an agreement with the Secretary of Culture from Chubut Province which provides the regulations for paleontological collecting and research, and by middle 2004, the Mef is recognized as an Associated Unit with the National Research Council Scientific and Technical (CONICET). These facts reinforce the Institutional support for the Museum´s work, placing it as a mentor in paleontological research from Patagonia.
Mef: reference for scientific development and dissemination.
Researchers, scholars and students dedicate to investigation in different disciplines, teaming up with specialized Technicians and the international scientific community. Due to this interaction, and the numerous field trips developed, the scientific knowledge of Patagonia keeps growing. An example to this, and also one of the most important discoveries made in the last 20 years, are the fossils from the largest dinosaur known in the world until the present, recently found in Chubut Province.
The Mef Collection currently holds 27000 fossil pieces collected during a bit more than 2 decades, being one of the Collections with the fastest growing rate in the country, and a faithful exponent of the Museum´s continuous work. Its permanent exhibition, designed under a modern conception, has become a touristic attraction which congregates hundreds of visitors from different parts of the country and the world, enhancing the dissemination of the Mef scientific achievements.
These past 25 years have developed through hundreds of field trips made in Patagonia and other parts of the world, the organization of conferences, lectures and scientific meetings, travelling exhibitions, educational activities for schools and entertaining ones for the family, special visits and countless scientific and institutional achievements. Assembling public resources with a self-governing model, and attracting support from different organizations and corporations, the “Egidio Feruglio” Paleontology Museum is today a reference for scientific development and dissemination, having set the basis to project itself towards the future.