U-M Museum of Natural History Kicks off ‘Mammoth’ Crowdfunding Effort

ANN ARBOR—When Jim Bristle discovered the remains of a mammoth on his farm near Chelsea, Michigan last fall, excitement was felt throughout the community.

The University of Michigan Museum of Natural History now plans to draw on this excitement to raise funds so that the partial remains of the mammoth can be exhibited where the public can view them and learn what U-M scientists have discovered about prehistoric Michigan.

From April 15 through May 1, the museum will ask the public to help raise $12,000 through Crowdrise, a fundraising site for charitable and personal causes.

“We thought it would be fun to use 21st-century methods to raise funds for this ancient animal,” said Amy Harris, director of the Museum. “Additionally, crowdsourcing provides a way for people to be part of the mammoth story.”

The Bristle Mammoth, (pronounced brist-lee) named for the farmer who found it and donated it to the university, was a large male, about 45 years old, and is estimated to have lived between 11,700 and 15,000 years ago. U-M paleontologists have also determined that it was probably a hybrid between a woolly mammoth and a Columbian mammoth. There is also strong evidence that he was butchered by humans and the meat was stored in what was once a pond.

The museum raised funds last year to hire an expert to develop the Bristle Mammoth exhibit. The $12,000 would be used to include elements such as:

  • Interactive 3-D digital models of selected mammoth bones.
  • Full-size casts of tusks that visitors can touch.
  • Programs for school children visiting the exhibit on field trips.

It will be several more months before the mammoth is ready for display because the bones need to dry and the scientists want to complete their initial research.

All donors to the Bristle Mammoth fund will be invited to attend a preview reception and meet the U-M scientists who are studying the mammoth. Exhibit donors of $250 and up will be invited to the exhibit unveiling breakfast. Donors contributing $500 or more will also be recognized on a donor plaque and will be invited to a behind-the-scenes tour of U-M Museum of Paleontology to see the mammoth exhibit preparations. Breakfast and tour are limited to two people per household.

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