PORT HURON – St. Clair County Community College’s 16,000-square-foot Experience Center continues to evolve, recently enhancing interactive learning opportunities in its Innovation Center and welcoming “Fossils of the Michigan Basin,” a traveling exhibit by paleontologist, author and storyteller Joseph “PaleoJoe” Kchodl.
The Innovation Center — located within the Experience Center — is now home to a growing number of STEAM-based interactive displays, 3-D pens and technology, a circuit center, a coding station and a virtual reality simulation that make learning fun for students of all ages.
“Fossils of the Michigan Basin” is a Michigan-based traveling exhibit featuring fossils of creatures that lived in the Devonian Period of Michigan, long before the age of dinosaurs. It includes Brachiopods, Gastropods, Cephalopods, Prehistoric armor-plated fish and corals, and even a piece of limestone from the thumb region that was touched by a glacier in the last ice age. The exhibit is located in the Experience Center’s Dr. Bassam H. Nasr Natural Science Museum, which is home to the largest collection of fossil artifacts in the Michigan thumb region.
“Michigan at one time was the bottom of an ancient salt water sea,” says PaleoJoe. “Visitors to this exhibit can go back in time when Michigan abounded with creatures of the sea — a time when certain fish species grew to more than 30 feet long, and a time when coral reefs broke the surface of the water creating lagoons filled with life. It is a wonderful way to introduce the public to fossils that can be found right here in our state.”
Opened in the fall of 2018, the Experience Center is a hands-on STEAM center that features unique and evolving exhibits, an augmented reality sandbox, a live sturgeon exhibit and more. Recently, SC4 and the Community Foundation of St. Clair County announced a Tarbosauras skeleton cast gift from the SC4 Foundation and two Community Foundation donor advised funds. The Tarbosauras skeleton cast will join a collection that includes a woolly rhinoceros skeleton replica, and T-Rex and Mastodon skull replicas.
The Experience Center is open to the public and is a growing regional field trip destination thanks to a collaborative partnership with the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum and its Unity in Learning initiative. For more information on scheduling a visit, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.