How Do You Move a Dinosaur?

As you may have heard, the U-M Museum of Natural History re-opened to the public on April 14 in a brand new building. Have you ever thought how the dinosaur bones and fossil collection migrated from the old museum at Ruthven?

Construction Services staff from Architecture, Engineering and Construction played a role.

Relocating the exhibits required removing thousands of artifacts from their display cases and carefully packaging them to be moved. (And you thought moving to a new house was hard!)

One major and very fragile dinosaur exhibit (the Edmontosaurus skeleton) presented a special challenge. This specimen is between 66 million and 77 million years old and contains the most complete Edmontosaurus skull in existence. The skull weighs nearly 200 pounds and has become very fragile.

A Construction Services team designed and built a crate for the move. It took nearly a week of careful measuring, cutting and installing before the curators were satisfied that the skull was secure in the crate. Fifteen gallons of expanding foam was poured into the crate to further stabilize the skull.

Once the skull was fully encapsulated, the lid was installed and the team carefully transported it to its new home. Check out LSA’s video about moving the Edmontosaurus!

In addition to moving the Edmontosaurus skull, Construction Services contributed to:

  • Installing the lighting tracks for the new interactive Tree of Life exhibit
  • Fabrication and installation of shelving in the Museum Store
  • Exhibit cabinetry detail trim work as well as installing plugs and switches

When you visit, know that this team is one of many that contributed to creating such a fabulous new Museum of Natural History!