About Me

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Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada
I am a lawyer in Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada who enjoys reading, especially mysteries. Since 2000 I have been writing personal book reviews. This blog includes my reviews, information on and interviews with authors and descriptions of mystery bookstores I have visited. I strive to review all Saskatchewan mysteries. Other Canadian mysteries are listed under the Rest of Canada. As a lawyer I am always interested in legal mysteries. I have a separate page for legal mysteries. Occasionally my reviews of legal mysteries comment on the legal reality of the mystery. You can follow the progression of my favourite authors with up to 15 reviews. Each year I select my favourites in "Bill's Best of ----". As well as current reviews I am posting reviews from 2000 to 2011. Below my most recent couple of posts are the posts of Saskatchewan mysteries I have reviewed alphabetically by author. If you only want a sentence or two description of the book and my recommendation when deciding whether to read the book look at the bold portion of the review. If you would like to email me the link to my email is on the profile page.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Behind the Exhibits at the Royal Tyrrell Museum

In my last post, a review of Bones To Pick by Suzanne North, the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller, Alberta was the setting for murder. 
The Royal Tyrrell Museum is one of the world’s great dinosaur museums. More scientifically inclined would focus on its immense collection of fossils. Having raised two sons the Royal Tyrell was all about dinosaurs.

Set within the river valley winding through the Badlands just outside Drumheller the museum is in a perfect setting for a dinosaur museum. The striated valley walls show the geological history of the area for eons. The building is contured to the landscape.

Inside there are lifesize replicas of various dinosaurs who roamed the area millions of years ago.

When my sons, Jonathan and Michael, were young boys it was the one museum that entranced them. They happily spent hours looking at and reading about the dinosaurs.

The Tyranosaurus Rex with its fierce appearance was always a favourite. The three horned Tricertatops was appealing. They took note of the Albertosaurus as it is named for being found in Alberta.

The history and language of dinosaurs was learned far better by them during those visits than from any book or television show.

At the end of each visit they would pour over the miniature dinosaurs in the gift shop assessing which dinosaur they could take home with them.

When we have had visiting guests and are driving to Calgary we always stop at the museum. The Royal Tyrrell never disappoints.
Our family and a family we know well in Calgary had a special visit to the museum almost 20 years ago. I received an invitation to have a private tour which would take us into the non-public areas of the museum. I had grown up at Meskanaw with the father of the family in Calgary. They had been generous in their hospitality to us and I had never had a real way to reciprocate before that day. I was able to invite them to join us on the tour and they promptly arranged for their children to skip a day of school for this unique opportunity.

It was like going into a hidden world as we ventured into the back rooms, workshops and labs. The description in the book of the storage area and work labs brought back memories of our backstage visit.

On our tour we were surprised by the extent of fossils stored for study and potentially future display. They will never run out of study material.

To see the workshops let us understand the imagination used by the staff in the creation of the wonderful exhibits.

In the labs we saw staff carefully working to extract fossils from excavated earth. We were seeing fossils emerge from the ground in which they had been buried for millions of years.

The museum came alive for us in ways never possible when we were limited to looking at the public displays.
Should you be in Alberta, the Royal Tyrrell is a museum that persons of every age will enjoy.


  1. It sounds like an absolutely fascinating place, Bill! You're fortunate to have such a great museum within 'striking distance.' And I know what you mean about learning from from a place like that than from a book or television show. I think my daughter learned more about 19th Century life on the US prairie from visiting the Laura Ingalls Wilder homes than she learned from a textbook or TV special. It's wonderful too that you got a 'backstage pass.'

    1. Margot: Thanks for the comment. I did not know Walnut Grove, Minnesota was a real town until, a few years ago, Sharon and I stopped there so Sharon could visit a craft store. I enjoyed a visit to the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum.

  2. Bill, thanks for taking us through the Royal Tyrrell Museum. I find museums fascinating and sometimes unbelievable for the kind of exhibits and manuscripts that are on display. It's like a magical world, our own little Jurassic Park. My first trip to a museum as a kid was to the Prince of Wales Museum in south Bombay. While it is nothing like the Royal Tyrrell Museum, the collection of artefacts, manuscripts, and stuffed animals never fails to impress. Children stare at the stuffed animals in absolute wonder, perhaps wondering if they'll suddenly come alive. A book library or bookstore, an art gallery, and a museum are places I enjoy visiting. Who wouldn't?

    1. Prashant: Thanks for the comment. With life size dinosaurs you have a real sense of life in the age of dinosaurs. I never tire of the museum.

  3. That sounds like one wonderful museum, Bill, and lucky you to have the chance to see behind the scenes.

    1. Moira: Thanks for the comment. I did feel lucky to have been behind the scenes.