The creation of the Dinosaur Museum is a major part of Mesalands Community College’s goal of providing “quality community service programs responding to the diverse needs of the region.” A significant result of that process has been the partnership between the College and the community in recognizing, owning, and promoting the geographical region’s rich heritage as one of the earth’s premier deposits of fossilized ancient life.
A museum advisory committee was formed in 1997 to determine the location, explore financing, and project the impact on the local economy. The Mesalands Community College Foundation was initially formed in order to launch a major capital campaign to raise the funds to build the museum. By 1999, 90% of the funds needed were raised through local businesses, organizations, and individuals, including elementary students in the area collecting loose change, with about 10% of the initial cost of the Museum contributed by the State of New Mexico.
The community has also donated considerable time, energy, and material resources for remodeling the facility and cataloging specimens. Individuals have contributed numerous privately owned fossils for placement on exhibit or as teaching specimens.