Smithsonian director to speak April 23

· 2 min read

Smithsonian director to speak April 23

Kirk Johnson

Kirk Johnson, Sant Director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, will discuss the importance of Nebraska’s fossil record and its contribution to the story of life on Earth on April 23.

The presentation, “From Fossils to Freeways and from Shovel-Tuskers to Cornhuskers,” will begin at 4 p.m. in the Nebraska Union. This event is free and open to the public.

The lecture celebrates the University of Nebraska State Museum’s designation as a Smithsonian Affiliate. In the lecture, Johnson will discuss his appreciation for the paleontology of Nebraska and for the unique stories that it tells. Johnson’s research has involved work at hundreds of fossil sites in the American West. While at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, he curated the “Prehistoric Journey” exhibition and wrote the book, “Cruisin’ the Fossil Freeway: An Epoch Tale of a Scientist and an Artist on the Ultimate 5,000-mile Paleo Road Trip.” Johnson will make a case for the importance of Nebraska’s fossils in the global narrative of the evolution of life through time.

Since October 2012, Johnson has been the Sant Director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, where he supervises the renovation of the National Fossil Hall. His research focuses on fossil plants, the extinction of the dinosaurs and methods for dating rocks and fossils. He is known for his scientific books and articles, museum exhibits, presentations and collaborations with artists. In 2010-11, Johnson led the Snowmastodon Project, the excavation of an ice age site near Snowmass Village, Colo., featured in the NOVA documentary, “Ice Age Death Trap.”

For more information, go to

Recent News