FHSU Profile – Museums
Fort Hays State University owns a premier natural history museum, the Sternberg Museum of Natural History, located in northeast Hays. The museum has a long history at Fort Hays State, beginning as a small collection of donated hunting trophies and other collections in the institution's earliest days.
The Sternberg opened in its current home in 1999 after an $11 million renovation of a unique dome and attached building built as a health spa. The facility was donated to the University. The museum has grown in a century into a popular museum revolving around spectacular collections of fossils from the Cretaceous Period of 100 million years ago, when the Great Plains from the Rockies east were a vast inland sea.
The museum is also a world-class research facility, home to international collections in the fields of paleontology, paleobotany, geology, botany, entomology, ichthyology, ornithology, herpetology and mammalogy.
The Sternberg is also the manager of the Kansas Wetlands Education Center, near Great Bend, 60 miles southeast of Hays. The Center overlooks Cheyenne Bottoms, the largest inland marsh in the United States and designated by the Ramsar International Convention as a Wetland of International Importance. The Center, and Cheyenne Bottoms, are also adjacent to the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge.
Hays also has the Ellis County Historical Society Museum and Fort Hays Kansas Historic Site. The University and its farm are on ground that once belonged to the U.S. military installation known as Fort Hays.
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