Michael A. Fleeman- Founder & DirectorAs a young boy of 8 years old,I began collecting fossils and minerals. I remember tagging along with my father Larry Gene Fleeman, to mineral shows and exhibits. Little did I know what a huge impact this would have on my life, as his passion for collecting would later become the driving force behind my collecting and set up of the LGF Foundation, dedicated to his memory.
When the shows would come to the surrounding towns, I would gather all the money I had collected from allowances, which wasn't much, and count it over and over, dreaming about what I would buy the day of the show! The small specimens I bought with the little allowance money I saved seemed like treasures of far off places; the glimmer of the crystals in the light, the intense colors they held, intrigued me to no avail.
My relationship with my father flourished as our mutual interest in minerals and the natural world grew. His passion was contagious! My dad's primary focus was a small collection he had acquired over the years and his lapidary work. I'll always remember how he loved making jewelry for my mom. Over the years he taught my brothers and I how to cut and polish the stones for display and jewelry, hoping to have his sons carry on the tradition with their own families. For many years he continued with his passions, diligently working away on his pieces, until he passed away in 1999.
Through the years my intrigue and interest grew from minerals to the fossils of years past. As technology improved and the scientific field developed, we learn more and more about the animals and ancestors of our past. The significance of the archeological digs and finds over the years became relevant, and more accessible for the general public to see and experience. I knew I wanted to be part of this world.
As time progressed I went on to receive my Bachelors of Science Degree in Biology at the University of Michigan. Never once did I waver from my dream of opening a natural history museum. I wanted it to focus on education and research, to help expose the people of all ages to our past, and the natural elements that surround us. I continued growing my personal collection to heights and standards I never dreamed possible.
With the expansion of my collection through the years, I have come to acquire several extremely rare pieces. My collection includes a complete Stygimoloch Spinifer Skull with a head reproduction from Cycad productions; a complete Dire Wolf skull from the La Brea tar pits; the only known complete Agriotherium sp skull, several rare dinosaur claws and teeth, over 3500 primitive human tools & artifacts; 43 meteorite main masses; a 90 pound silver ingot from the spanish shipwreck Nuestra Senora De Atocha, and most recently, a complete Tyrannosaurus hind leg, standing over 7 feet tall. My personal collections cover a wide variety of natural history items from various eras, including fossils, minerals, meteorites, Roman Byzantine weapons & tools, and many primitive and prehistoric human tools and weapons.
I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoy collecting them. It is a pleasure to be able to reach my goal and share it with you.