Campus Connection: Orton Hall Adds a New Attraction to Historic Museum

By Jake Anderson on September 20, 2018 at 7:25 pm
Orton Hall in the Fall

Welcome to Campus Connection, where new campus hot-spots and underappreciated organizations get their time in the spotlight.

On a campus as big as Ohio State's, some buildings are bound to stand out. With its stone exterior and conic steeple, Orton Hall on the Oval is one of the most photogenic sights in Columbus.

Orton Hall was named for Ohio State’s first president and longtime geology professor Dr. Edward Orton Sr. The Hall finished construction in 1893, making it the second-oldest building on campus.

Orton Hall’s exterior features stones from all across Ohio, fitting for a building that houses Ohio State’s Geology department. The stones are arranged in stratigraphic order, where the youngest rocks are placed on top of the older ones.

Orton Hall added a bell tower in 1915. Every 15 minutes, students can hear 12 tolls ring out, typically to the tune of either Westminister Quarters or Carmen Ohio.

While Orton Hall is home to the Geology Department, it also hosts the Geology Library and the Orton Geological Museum, which includes over 10,000 of Dr. Orton’s fossils.

The Orton library contains over 200,000 geological maps and records are available for students. The library is the oldest on campus and covers all fields related to earth sciences.

The museum serves as both a public attraction and an academic resource. Both undergraduate and graduate students have access to the records for class and research purposes. 

Visitors to Orton Hall will soon be greeted by Cryolophosaurus ellioti, a pre-Jurassic dinosaur whose remains were found by former Ohio State professor David Elliot. The skeleton, whose remains were unearthed in Antartica, is 22 feet long and over 175 million years old. 

The dinosaur figures to be an educational outreach point for the geology and a focal point of the university to engage with Columbus and surrounding communities.

"We call dinosaurs the ‘gateway drug’ to science,” Dale Gnidovec, the Orton Hall Museum Curator, told The Lantern. “It’s a lot of kids’ first exposure to real science.”

Orton Hall offers educational programs and tours of the museum, which you can find here

View 19 Comments