A History of Science Museum’s ‘Dinosaur’ exhibition
Posted On June 19, 2021
The National Museum of the United States Navy is one of a handful of institutions that exhibits a large-scale replica of the famed “Dinosaur” at the Science Museum in Washington, D.C. The exhibit, which opens on Thursday, features more than 30 original dinosaur bones, including a skull and vertebrae that date back to the early Triassic Period, when dinosaurs roamed the earth.
The museum has been hosting an exhibition of its own for nearly 20 years, which is often criticized as outdated and antiquated.
The Smithsonian has taken steps to modernize its exhibit, with a new set of digital displays that incorporate photos and videos.
But the museum says the new digital exhibit will also highlight new technologies that will be in use today.
One new project is a “virtual dinosaur,” which can be seen in the museum’s new digital display, called “Dinosaurs: The First 200 Million Years.”
This virtual dinosaur is used to show the timeline of the evolution of dinosaurs and the evolutionary relationships between living species.
Other new projects include a new interactive exhibit that will show images of the early Earth from the perspective of a flying saucer, a virtual dinosaur exhibit that lets visitors see how dinosaurs evolved, and a video of a dinosaur that’s been preserved in a special tank at the Smithsonian’s National Museum.
While the display is not yet open to the public, it’s available to view in person from Nov. 18 through Dec. 1.
A museum spokesperson told Science that the exhibit will include new animations and interactive video, but the project’s creators are still deciding whether to go ahead with that, too.
“Our intention is to have it open for the public on December 1,” the spokesperson said.
The “Dino Adventure” project is part of a larger program at the museum called “Science Museum of Discovery.”
That program is aimed at bringing scientific information to students and the public through interactive experiences, which also include new displays.
But there’s another project that’s about to open.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is building a giant “DINOSAUR” replica of an asteroid named Dione.
The project, which the Smithsonian will unveil on Dec. 7, was funded through the National Science Center’s asteroid resource grant program, which includes $1.5 million in NSF funds.
That grant was first announced in December, and the project has been in the works for months.
“Dione” was named for a mythical monster in Greek mythology who supposedly killed a giant fish and buried it on an asteroid, according to an online description of the project.
The replica, which will be 6 feet tall, will be displayed in a hangar at the National Air and Space Museum.
It will be the largest of its kind at the Museum, which has about 1,400 acres of land and an air force base.
The $1 billion project is the largest in NSM’s history, with $800 million in grant funding.
“It’s a project that we know will create a sense of awe and curiosity, and it’s also an opportunity to inspire people and give them an appreciation for our planet,” David Hirsch, the Smithsonian Director of Public Affairs, told Science.
“We’re very pleased to be part of this effort and I’m confident that the public will enjoy this exhibit.”
It will also allow visitors to learn about dinosaurs’ early history, as well as how their extinction led to their evolution into today’s species.
“The dinosaur we see here is one that lived in a different time and place, and one that evolved in a very different environment,” Hirsch said.
“There are things about this exhibit that we don’t really see in museums, and that’s why we’re excited to be able to bring it out to the world.”