When the Smithsonian's National Fossil Halls closed on April 27th for a five year renovation, the complicated task of removing the many mounted skeletons from the Halls kicked into high gear. The work is organized around the need to have the largest specimens, including the big dinosaurs and the mammoth, mastodon and ground sloths, ready to be disassembled for conservation by the time the equipment and extra personnel needed to move them arrive on site later this summer. That means removing railings, exhibit cases and other, smaller, fossils that block access to the big mounts, and demolishing exhibit flooring where it covers the structures that support them. For most of the mounts, we have a couple of months, or more, to get the work done, but our mounted cast of Triceratops, shown below, and our cast of Tyrannosaurus rex are on the fast track for a move to the second floor of the Museum. There, the Triceratops will be exhibited throughout the summer, and both of these spectacular dinosaurs will anchor a new exhibit, "The Last American Dinosaurs," which will open in November.
This series of photos show highlights from the work of getting the Triceratops, called Hatcher, ready to move.
What happens next? Sturdy wheels built into the base of the mount will allow us to roll Hatcher through the Mammals Hall and then onto a very large freight elevator for the trip to the second floor. Stay tuned for a report on that trip!
All photos by Abby Telfer.
"Building a Dinosaur" is an article about how this cast, the first anatomically accurate "Digital Dinosaur" was rendered from fossils collected in the late 1800s and exhibited since 1905.