July 31, 2020
Carter County Museum’s Shindig had a different look and feel this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, staff found a way to pull it off, and they were even able to participate in it a little more than usual.
All of Saturday’s talks were live-streamed for the first time. One hundred fifty-seven participants signed up for “Shindig Island” to access all of the content. Twenty-one people sat in spaced out chairs at St. Elizabeth Lutheran Church to watch the virtual presentations on TV. They were also on display at the museum and a stream was set up at Dahl Memorial for long-term care residents to watch for free. Marketing and Communications Coordinator Jenn Hall said that the virtual component of the Shindig is something they plan to continue to do in the coming years.
Twenty people attended the celebration at Medicine Rocks State Park on Sunday and around fifteen went on a bat walk on Saturday night.
Thirty-eight individuals attended the field expedition this year. Instead of going to the same dig site, participants headed to 3 different locations. This not only helped to keep people distanced, but also allowed for more staff attention to be given to each individual. Using multiple dig sites is something that organizers also hope to continue doing at future Shindigs.
This year’s auction took place online and raised over $3,100. The highest selling auction item was a weekend getaway to a local home near Opechee which went for $575.
One highlight this year was a fireside chat between Museum Director Sabre Moore, Adjunct Curator Nathan Carroll and Director of the National Museum of Natural History Kirk Johnson. The video has over 300 views online.
Other highlights included an update on a Carter County plesiosaur that was discovered back in 2016, the first ever paleoart talk and a presentation from Moore about how the museum is turning the current challenge created by COVID-19 into an opportunity.
Carter County Disaster and Emergency Services provided masks during the limited activities that took place on the museum lawn for local families on Saturday. ZooMontana was on location and Sydney, a Laughing Kookaburra bird hatched in 2011, was a popular attraction.
“I would call it a wild success,” Hall said about the 8th Annual Shindig. “We were all delightfully surprised.”
Museum staff will now beginning preparations for the 9th Annual Dino Shindig next July.