The Whiteside Museum

of Natural History

Whiteside Emblem 125

Whiteside Museum News

Courtesy of The Baylor County Banner

By Cliff Porter

An energetic and ambitious young couple has been engaged to operate and expand the Whiteside Museum of Natural History. This writer was impressed by the professional and dedicated demeanor expressed by this couple.

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Christopher J. Flis has assumed the responsibilities of being the Director of the Museum. Chris, as he prefers to be called, was born in Midland, Texas. His father was a geologist for the oil industry and as such traveled much of the world. Early in life chris experienced the different cultures of London, England, and Dublin, Ireland. Although he was very young at the time, he was still old enough to be aware of the differences in home, Texas, and the foreign countries. His father's travels returned them to Midland, Texas, for his early schooling years. During his high school, New Orleans, Louisiana, was the family home. After high school in New Orleans, Chris obtained a Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree with emphasis on English from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He also has additional studies in geology from the same university. Chris' travels then led him to the University of Houston where he became involved in the study of geology and paleontology. This is an ongoing process for him.

Mallori Hass has been named the curator for the Museum in charge of collections and exhibits. Mallori was born in San Antonio, Texas. She attended public schools there and graduated from Churchill High School in San Antonio. After high school she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology from Texas Tech University. She also has a minor in biology and forensic anthropology. Mallori would like to pursue additional studies concentrating on paleontology as it concerns the pathology of ancient human and animal remains. Now in cowboy language, this means she would like to try to determine what illnesses and other afflictions beset our ancestors and their animals. Her interest in this area was triggered by travels in Italy. As could be expected, the Roman culture excited her curiosity in this area of study.

Chris stated that he felt the main mission of the Museum should be to educate the local, national and international communities on the unique importance of the scientific discoveries in Baylor County. He has been coming to Seymour for the last eight years to work on the dig out at the Craddock Ranch. He has been personally involved in the discovery of the Finback and other Permian age fossils. He believes his hands on experience at the dig will help in promotion of the mission of the Museum.

Mallori is in charge of collecting and exhibiting the Permian fossils that have been found locally. She intends to do this with interesting dioramas and exhibits of actual fossils. At present, a full-scale model of the Finback is all that is available. The real, actual fossil is expected to be available soon. She also hopes to be able to involve children and youths of all ages in activities at the Museum.

This writer asked Chris and Mallori when they hoped to finish their work with the Museum. Their answer was, "We don't consider this a job. It is our passion, and it will go on throuh our lives." They both added that Seymour has been very vfriendly to them and that they were looking or a long stay here.

Thursday, March 6, 2014 - Vol. 118, No. 39