Escondido, CA

As the dinosaurs passed away, so will the dinosaur museum


It’s a very sad thing to lose a precious educational resource like the Roynon Museum of Earth Science & Paleontology, which announced this week that it would be closing at the end of June. It was only open on Grand Avenue for about four years, but it’s a pretty good bet that once it’s gone it will be missed for much, much longer.

It is the victim of time and the river. Just as those creatures whose fossils have filled its halls for the few short years passed away and were covered by the clay and became part of the chronicle of the earth’s history. The museum has fallen prey to the ravages of that thing that claims us all. 

When something like this happens, you thrash about mentally, wondering if there could be someone, something, that could come to the aid of this wonderful institution and save it so that future generations of Escondido residents can continue to, as the poem says, “Behold the mighty dinosaur.”

It would be fabulous if they did do something to save the collection. Although that’s probably a forlorn hope.  Nevertheless, one cannot help thinking how, with an infusion of cash from some benefactor that the collection could be whisked to another location where future generations could enjoy it. But that would take money. And as we know from sad experience, money for the things that make us homo sapiens (“wise man”) is often in the shortest supply. 

There’s money for war, and potholes (although not THAT much,) homeless people, crazy people, complaining people, money for telling people what to do with their property, money to tell people how to think, but much less money for helping people to think for themselves. And that last part is where things like dusty dinosaur bone collections come in handy. Helping people, especially young people, to think and reason and, when they are old enough, appreciate just how immense our planet’s history is.

Having said that, the residents of the City of Escondido, and neighboring communities, and everyone who has ever visited the Roynon Museum owes Keith Roynon a debt of gratitude for being such a collector over the years. Like the dinosaurs themselves, everything is fleeting. Even, or maybe especially, museums that help us to appreciate that very fact. 

*Note: Opinions expressed by columnists and letter writers are those of the writers and not necessarily those of the newspaper.

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