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Dakota Dinosaur Museum featuring crystals skulls and gemstone folklore

A collection of crystal skulls is shown at the Dakota Dinosaur Museum.

Dickinson's Dakota Dinosaur Museum, which opened May 1 for the season, is featuring two temporary exhibits.

The first exhibit displays minerals and crystals carved into the shape of human skulls, said Curator Larry League.

"This exhibit, brought back by popular demand, contains new and larger skulls never seen before," he said.

The latest Indiana Jones movie, "The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" and the recent doomsday 2012 predictions have made crystal skulls very popular, he said.

The legend of skulls extends much farther back in time --the Greeks made reference to the crystal skulls of Atlantis; skull carvings abound in the Mayan civilization and skulls are also an important part of the Native American culture, he said.

"Today, skulls take on different meanings depending on the eye of the beholder," he said. "Some see them as evil symbols, others view them as bringing peace and joy to the world. Some believe in using skulls as healing tools and for communicating with the past and the future."

Mr. Happy -- a skull carved from coral -- will make you laugh with his mysterious grin, he said.

Then there is a skull carved from a meteorite and Jolly Roger -- a white jade pirate skull. View a rare skull carved from a single block of amber. Others have names such as "Cool Dude," "Geronimo" and "Punk Rock Kid."

The museum's second temporary exhibit reveals minerals used for centuries as healing stones by many cultures as described in their folklore, said League.

These minerals are displayed as natural minerals, polished stones, massage wands, skulls, spheres, eggs, pillows, hearts and jewelry.

"You may find a healing mineral is actually your birthstone or maybe it's been a favorite mineral of yours for years," he said.

Some people believe stones work miracles, while others see no medical benefit, he said.

"Whatever your belief, world cultures and religions through the ages have provided us with many interesting folklore stories about minerals and their healing properties," League added.

May also brings numerous school field trips to the museum, said Director Alice League. To schedule a tour, visit the education page on the website at or call 701-225-3466.

Annual memberships at several levels are available for unlimited visits during the season. The museum is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily through Labor Day.