The exciting process of renovating the Paleo Halls at NMNH began this week with the closing of the Life in the Ancient Seas exhibit. Our collections management team is posting photos and explaining the de-installation work in this exhibit as it progresses.
Although it is very small compared to the Dinosaur Hall next door, the Life in the Ancient Seas exhibit holds nearly 1,000 specimens, from tiny trilobites to the skeletons of giant sea creatures. Over the next few months, all of these fossils must be moved to collection storage, where they will stay for the duration of the Paleo Hall renovations. The skeletons must be disassembled into individual bones, and each object will be labeled, photographed, catalogued, and placed in archival storage. Time on exhibit can be hard on fossils, so we'll be checking them for damage and making necessary repairs, as well.
The closing of Ancient Seas is the first step of many on a journey toward building a brand new Hall of Fossils. The new hall will be the largest and most complex renovation in the museum's history. It will feature specimens from the museum's unrivaled collection of 46 million fossils and present the latest scientific research in paleobiology. The existing dinosaur hall will remain open until spring 2014, when it will close to the public to begin construction. Selected dinosaur fossils will remain on view in other public areas of the museum until the new hall opens in 2019.