Photos by Elizabeth Daniels We love historic rotundas and whale-skeleton-inspired pedestrian bridges--they're great, but there's just not a lot of competing with big galleries full of dinosaur skeletons. Today the Natural History Museum opened up its brand new Dinosaur Hall to the press (Do journalists and other adults go totally nuts in new dinosaur exhibits? Not really!)--it'll open to the public on July 16 and marks the halfway point in the museum's major transformation project. The 14,000 square foot hall is twice as big as the NHM's old dinosaur exhibit and spans both the old 1913 building (recently restored) and the 1920s building. It includes more than 300 fossils, 85% of which are real, not casts (you can even touch one!).
Dinosaur Hall's first gallery, in the 1920s building, opens with a Triceratops in your face, a 68 foot long Mamenchisaurus, and a wall of fossils ranging from eggs to footprints to coprolites. On the other side of the room, there's info on the ocean that once covered California and the sea creatures who swam in it. Back in the 1913 gallery, the centerpiece is the T. Rex growth series--a two year old, a 13 year old, and a 17 year old--while the mezzanine focuses on the science behind excavation and fossils (like how scientists can tell that one of the T. Rexes might've had a tumor). The 1913 building's second level connects to a new mezzanine in the 1920s building that looks down on the first gallery.
The exhibition was designed by Evidence Design, with graphics by Kim Baer Design Associates, and renovation and seismic work by CO Architects. The lead curator for the Hall is Dr. Luis Chiappe, a paleontologist who leads the NHM's Dinosaur Institute.
· Dinosaur Hall [NHMLA]
· Natural History Museum Shows Off its Renovated Beaux-Arts Self [Curbed LA]