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Museum of Natural History and Science celebrates 30th anniversary with a year of special exhibits

Margie Marino always wanted to come back to New Mexico while she lived in Denver.

As she has now returned, Marino is at the helm of the 30th anniversary celebration at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science.

“I never dreamed that I would have this opportunity,” she says. “It’s wonderful to have a milestone anniversary to see what we can do.”

Marino, the executive director of the museum, says throughout the year, there will be various exhibits to celebrate.

One project she is looking forward to is the completion of the education wing, which has taken six years.

“There’s a lot of new technology there,” she says.

In addition, the museum also entered an affiliation with the Smithsonian Institution.

This will allow the museum to get some of the exhibits that the Washington D.C.-based museum curates.

“It’s very useful,” she says. “We can take some of the great work that the Smithsonian does and we can build on their cutting-edge work to drive our programs and exhibits.”

The first in the series is the displaying of Post Diamond Tiara, donated by Mrs. Marjorie Merriweather Post in 1973.

The Post Diamond Tiara was made around 1840. The flower petals and leaves are pavé set with 1,198 old mine and rose cut diamonds. The tiara is made of silver and gold, as commonly seen in early Victorian jewelry.

The tiara is believed to have been made in France.

“It was purchased at auction for the Smithsonian by Marjorie Merriweather,” she says.

Marino says the affiliation with the Smithsonian will also enable the museum to get some iconic pieces for the local community to see.

“This gives the community the chance to see it at our museum,” she says. “Traveling can be expensive, and by the Smithsonian helping with some of the exhibits, they are extending their reach as well.”

The State Office of Cultural Affairs opened the museum in 1986. It was created to give residents and visitors the opportunity to experience, explore and understand the deep paleontological history of the Land of Enchantment.

Although the museum remains rooted to its paleontology beginnings – and the more than 100,000 fossils in its collections – the museum has since added programs that more broadly introduce visitors to what is now known as STEM: science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

With the theme of “Honoring our Past and Investigating the Future,” the museum will reflect on its first 30 years and begin a discussion with the community to create a sustainable vision for the next 30 years.

“There’s so much we want to show the community,” she says. “The celebration is only the beginning.”

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