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A new facility near Riverbluff Cave just south of Springfield will give the public a chance to learn about the natural history of the Ozarks. KSMU’s Matt Evans reports on Tuesday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony.
The new Field House Annex for the Riverbluff Cave is now open to the public. The annex offers visitors a step back in time with Ice Age fossils and other prehistoric exhibits. Matt Forir is the Executive Director of the Missouri Institute of Natural Science and an environmental specialist with Greene County.
"It [the field house annex] is phase two of the Missouri Institute of Natural Science’s plan of putting a natural history museum in Missouri," said Forir.
Forir says there are plans to add onto the annex as soon as money is raised with the eventual goal of opening a larger facility to house artifacts. Forir says he thinks of the annex as a smaller version of the bigger facility.
"It's a museum that houses rocks, fossils, and minerals from all over the world," said Forir, "Every continent on this planet is represented in those four walls over there."
Forir hopes to attract a wide array of visitors ranging from tour bus groups to school groups. He admits the existing buildings wouldn’t even house enough space for the entry way into one of the Smithsonian Museums, but the Riverbluff Cave offers something the Smithsonian can’t.
"A lot of times, I'm going to take a fossil out of the case and let you touch it, let you hold it, let you really look at it and study it. You can't do that anywhere else and that's what sets us apart from everybody else," said Forir.
The museum is located at 2327 W. Farm Road 190 in Springfield. Forir plans to have the facility open from 8:30 to 4:30 Monday through Friday and some on the weekends. For more information call 883-0594. For KSMU news, I’m Matt Evans.