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TLO Field Trip: Museum of Osteology

When you think family fun spots, I bet the Museum of Osteology on Sunnylane probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind, but it totally should – ‘Cause kids love dead stuff. Well, at least I did. One of my earliest memories is chasing my cousins with a severed deer hoof during the annual family post-hunting meat-packing get-together. My parents didn't let me keep it even though I promised to spray it with Lysol every day.

The museum opened in 2010, but parent organization Skulls Unlimited has existed since 1990. Just like Jobs and Wozniak, Jay and Kim Jay Villemarette started the museum as an in-home industry that continues to serve collectors and hunters. My parents claimed to have taken me to the original shop back when it was on Shields (they were hipsters before it was cool), but I do not have any memory or photographic evidence to this claim.

My husband and I visited on a Saturday afternoon, and at first the place seemed as empty and hollow as an old skull. Within ten minutes, however, it was packed. The many skulls/bones/complete skeletons the museum is able to display in this place all at once will amaze you. Everything you are seeing in these photos are not replicas, but actual bones, as the many “Yes, they’re real” stickers will emphasize as you walk around the collection.

The first floor offers what the weirdo in all of us wants right off the bat – human body parts, deformed skulls, and scavenger hunt worksheets for both children and adults:

As you start going counter-clockwise around the room, things seem average museum-y enough. A case lines the wall, filled with invertebrates and their exoskeletons. And then two feet later you come eyeball-to-eyesocket with a skeleton of a woman who suffered severe kyphosis (hunchbackness). The forensic pathology case features skulls at different stages development (even fetal) and shows what can go wrong in development with various maladies and deformations. More importantly, they have several two-headed cows.

We quickly move on from this sideshow aspect of the collection to the the heart of the museum  – skeletal structures and comparative anatomy.

Once you make it upstairs, you finally get to touch some real freakin’ skulls. The Explorer’s Corner has a matching game where you get to guess what skull belongs to what animal. Or, if your feet are starting to get a little tired, you can have a sit and watch America’s Sweetheart and favorite truck-commercial narrator, Mike Rowe, in the episode of Dirty Jobs filmed with Skulls Unlimited.

TBH, I don’t think Rowe was as enamored with the flesh eating beetles as he should have been, but what do I know? I’m just some girl who thought hitting her relatives with butchered animal parts was hilarious.

The gift shop is almost as exciting as the museum. Since the museum is an extension of the retail store Skulls Unlimited, you can buy some bones to take home! Now I have seen all five seasons of the reality show Oddities, which I am sure that makes me an expert on the laws regarding the selling and selling of body parts. I feel confident in telling everything purchasable in this shop is legal and on the up and up. They have been doing this for almost thirty years, so they probably know the laws.

Even if you weren’t a weekend backwoods kid, you will have a good time at the Museum of Osteology. All the smelly stuff you see Mike Rowe gagging about is in the building across the street. Instead, you can see the skeletons animals that are exotic or extinct, even a Tasmanian wolf (a marsupial that looks like a dog)! A visit to the museum is a great way to spend part of your afternoon while supporting an Oklahoma business.

Overall Rating: 4.5 Severed Deer Legs!

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