Paleontologist George Blasing had a two-pronged vision: Bring a mobile dinosaur exhibit to underprivileged kids who might never see a museum and to people who live in rural areas.
Sponsored by the Harker Heights Chamber of Commerce, Blasing’s Dinosaur George Exhibit will stop in Killeen today and Saturday at Central Texas College’s Anderson Center.
Along with a presentation and a variety of models of prehistoric creatures, the display will feature one of the biggest Tyrannosaurus rex skulls on earth.
“He’s a disturbing creature,” Blasing said. “You’re talking about an animal who could bite off and swallow 500 pounds per bite. Some people stand in awe of this kid screaming and running.” Because the original fossil weighs almost two tons, Blasing said he made a cast replica to use in his exhibit.
Blasing said the idea for the exhibit occurred to him 18 years ago after a speaking gig at a San Antonio school that educated low-income students. A parent of one of the children wrote him an inspiring letter stating that the exhibit might have changed a kid’s life, motivating the child to pursue a career in science instead of a life on the streets.
“I decided to find a way to spend more of my time to teach kids and give more to society,” Blasing said.
In the years ahead, he focused on completing his collection, and expanded his vision to include smaller communities. “We can get booked in cities all day long, but those cities have museums,” he said. “It’s the outlying communities I want to focus on.”
The entire exhibit will fill about 5,000 square feet at Central Texas College, said Gina Pence, Heights Chamber of Commerce membership director.
Event-goers can walk through everything in about an hour. Blasing will deliver a multimedia presentation focusing on new discoveries and weird dinosaurs. “We’re really going to focus on the strange and unusual,” he said.
The exhibit also features fossils from prehistoric creatures who roamed the Killeen area. Killeen is a “treasure trove of fossils,” Blasing said. “We focus on Texas as much as we can.”