Friday, April 04, 2008

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Fifth-Grader Corrects Error at the Smithsonian Museum
Created: 4/4/2008 2:15:25 PM
Last updated: 4/4/2008 5:14:50 PM

(NBC) -- A Michigan fifth-grader received a letter of thanks from the Smithsonian last week for correcting a mistake in one of the museum's exhibits.

Kenton Stufflebeam and his family went to the Smithsonian Institution's Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C. during his school's winter break.

The 11-year-old student noticed that a display in the "Tower of Time" exhibit identified the Precambrian as an "era." Stufflebeam said his earth-science teacher had emphasized the word "era" did not apply to the Precambrian.

"And I knew it was wrong," Stufflebeam said. "The Precambrian is not an era, it's just the Precambrian."

Stufflebeam pointed out the error on a comment card and the museum responded with a letter acknowledging the mistake.

The letter read, in part, "The Precambrian is a dimensionless unit of time, which embraces all the time between the origin of earth and the beginning of the Cambrian period of geologic time."

And Stufflebeam pointed out his name and hometown were misspelled in the letter.

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