Media Relations Manager
TO BECOME HOME TO WORLD'S
PITTSBURGH ... Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh announced today plans to dramatically expand historic Dinosaur Hall, part of Carnegie Museum of Natural History. The expansion will be the museum's most significant project since Andrew Carnegie built Dinosaur Hall 100 years ago to house Diplodocus carnegii (a.k.a. "Dippy"), the first dinosaur skeleton discovered by Carnegie scientists.
Carnegie Museum of Natural History already houses one of the world's best collections of dinosaur fossils, as well as one of the most extensive fossil collections of mammals, invertebrates, fish, and plants from the Age of Dinosaurs. The museum plans to use its collections to create a group of dynamic new exhibition called Dinosaurs in Their Time, which for the first time will integrate dinosaurs into the environments of their respective time periods.
"This is an incredibly exciting time for Carnegie Museums and for western Pennsylvania," said Ellsworth Brown, president of Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh. "The discovery and display of dinosaurs are rich parts of our history, and they are among Andrew Carnegie's most enduring legacies to Pittsburgh and the world. With this expansion, we will continue to carry out his vision of serving our communities regionally, nationally, and internationally by leading rather than following."
"Our collection of dinosaurs-many of which have never been seen by the public-is truly a world treasure, and we are committed to using that collection to become the best place in the world to see and learn about dinosaurs," said Bill DeWalt, then-director of Carnegie Museum of Natural History. "This is a project 200 million years in the making, and it will attract dinosaur enthusiasts from around the world."
Carnegie Museum of Natural History's Dinosaur Hall currently features 15 dinosaur skeletons in a space originally built for one. Several of those dinosaurs are among the world's most famous and most complete specimens-among them, Diplodocus carnegii, or "Dippy," named after Andrew Carnegie, and Tyrannosaurus rex, or "T. rex," which was the first of its species ever found.
"T. rex is actually closer to us in time than it is to Dippy since these two species of dinosaurs roamed the earth more than 75 million years apart," explained DeWalt. "Our expanded dinosaur exhibition, which will consist of two halls within a newly constructed atrium, will reflect this important fact-placing dinosaurs such as Dippy and T. rex in their own time periods.
"Most importantly, these exhibition will play a significant role in helping the museum do what it does best-educate," DeWalt said. "We welcome thousands of school groups every year, and it's obvious that dinosaurs open the door to science for most children. We plan on capitalizing on this by using Dinosaurs in Their Time to introduce important scientific themes that recur throughout our museum, such as evolution and biological diversity.
"Even incredibly strong, successful creatures like the dinosaurs can become extinct if their environments are disturbed," said DeWalt. "And, even though dinosaurs are no longer with us, the plants, mammals, fish, and insects that surrounded them continue to evolve and create the biological diversity that surrounds us today."
Carnegie Museum of Natural History's new dinosaur exhibition will depict dinosaurs in their ancient environments and focus on two distinct periods of dinosaur history: the Jurassic period (150 million years ago) and the Cretaceous period (65 million years ago).
The current Dinosaur Hall will be transformed into a Jurassic Hall, featuring Jurassic dinosaurs that include the museum's first dinosaur, Dippy. An adjacent Cretaceous Hall will be created within a dramatic, newly constructed atrium, which will become the physical core of Carnegie Museum of Natural History and reinforce the basic themes of the museum, including biodiversity, ecology, and evolution. The hall's atrium will be built by expanding into a connecting courtyard in the middle of the museum. Both halls will incorporate state-of-the-art interactive displays and built-in classrooms.
Dinosaurs currently on display in Dinosaur Hall will be remounted in scientifically accurate, active poses, and a number of new specimens never before exhibited will be added to the new halls.
Carnegie Museum of Natural History is assembling a team of architects and exhibition designers to work with its own exhibition designers and internationally-recognized paleontologists to create Dinosaurs in Their Time. The estimated cost of the expansion is $37 million, to be raised through a combination of public and private funds.
Founded in 1895, Carnegie Museum of Natural History is one of the four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh. The museum welcomes more than 450,000 visitors a year and reaches another 150,000 through educational outreach programs. It is the third largest repository of dinosaur fossils in the world, and its total collections exceed 21 million objects, specimens, and artifacts of which 50,000 are on display.
Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh is a collection of four distinctive museums: Carnegie Museum of Art, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, The Andy Warhol Museum, and Carnegie Science Center. In 2001, the museums reached more than 1.67 million people through exhibition, outreach programs, and special events.
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