In the fall of 1983, University of Michigan freshman Jim Bahen heard about a campus job that involved dinosaurs. He walked past the pumas, into the Rotunda and became a UMMNH student docent. He would later describe it as “one of his best Michigan experiences.”

While it was fun learning about all of the different exhibits in the Museum, the tours were the most enjoyable part for Jim. He fondly remembers the school kids who found the Museum boring, and those who knew more than he did. As with many student docents, Jim’s favorite part of tours was presenting the hands-on materials such as a mammoth tooth, a trilobite, and of course, the coprolites.

In honor of his time as a docent, Jim and his wife have established the James C. and Tracey J. Bahen Student Docent Enrichment Fund will support annual enrichment opportunities and training for U-M Museum of Natural History student docents. Jim and Tracey’s generous gift will provide support in perpetuity for docent field trips, specialized training, hands-on objects, and much more.“

When I think back to the numerous tours I gave during my time at the ‘Exhibit Museum,’ I like to think there’s at least one kid out there who got bitten by the science bug and looks back and asks, ‘Remember when that guy made us touch dinosaur poop?’” said Jim. “I want to ensure that there will always be docents who can inspire kids by sharing a bit of that poop."

Read more of Jim Bahen’s time as a student docent on our Museum Memories page.