Carnegie Museum of Natural History

For more information, contact: Leigh Kish
Carnegie Museum of Natural History
412.622.3361 (office), 412.526.8587 (mobile)
KishL@carnegiemnh.org

May 11, 2015

   

Restoration of Diplodocus carnegii statue begins at Carnegie Museum of Natural History
Beloved Forbes Avenue icon gets “facelift”

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania… Carnegie Museum of Natural History begins work today to restore its outdoor, life-sized Diplodocus carnegii statue located along Forbes Avenue in Oakland. The fiberglass “Dippy” statue will undergo a “facelift,” a two-week process of being stripped of a layer of anti-graffiti coating, then covered with a new, environmentally friendly coating.

Erected in 1999 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the discovery of the museum’s first and most famous dinosaur, the statue of Diplodocus carnegii has become a beloved Oakland landmark. The sauropod statue has posed for countless photos and even has a wardrobe of scarves and hats that he wears on a rotating basis for special occasions.

Gretchen Anderson, conservator at Carnegie Museum of Natural History whose job is to make sure museum objects and artifacts are in good repair and are adequately preserved, checked up on Dippy and she noticed that he needed some restoration. Sixteen years of Pittsburgh weather had taken its toll: Dippy was not only affected by freeze-thaw, but he had a “sunburn”—UV light and heat had begun to damage the coating.

“When I examined the statue, he looked like he was going to delaminate—like he was shedding,” she says. His clear anti-graffiti coating was peeling off, and taking with it some of the fiberglass that it was supposed to be protecting.

Anderson was tasked with trying to find a solution to the statue’s skin problems. After careful research and analysis of a variety of options, the museum decided to work with Lucas Markantone & Associates, Inc. to strip the current layer of anti-graffiti coating from Dippy and layer him with a high-quality paint provided by PPG Paints. Anderson says that this paint will be easier to maintain in the future than the previous coating.

“Dippy is not only a museum icon, but a Pittsburgh icon,” she says. “We need to take good care of him.”

Vehicle and pedestrian traffic along Forbes Avenue will not be disturbed by the work. Support for the restoration of Dippy is provided by Dollar Bank.

Keep updated on Dippy’s progress via his Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/DippyTheDinosaur) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/dippy_the_dino) accounts, which will be updated by Spinosaurus while Dippy is indisposed.

About “Dippy”
Diplodocus carnegii lived 150 million years ago. Discovered by a team of Carnegie scientists in 1899, “Dippy” is renowned for being the first major dinosaur fossil in Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s collection and one of the most recognized dinosaurs in the entire world. There are nearly a dozen replicas of the original Diplodocus carnegii fossil in museums from London to La Plata, Argentina. The fossil skeleton of Diplodocus carnegii can be seen as part of Dinosaurs in Their Time; a fiberglass life restoration, affectionately known as “Dippy,” can be found outside the museum on Forbes Avenue.

PHOTO OPPORTUNITIES: There may be opportunities to take work-in-progress photography. Work is scheduled to last approximately 10 days, but is highly weather dependent and may not occur at all times.

###

Carnegie Museum of Natural History, one of the four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, is among the top natural history museums in the country. It maintains, preserves, and interprets an extraordinary collection of 22 million objects and scientific specimens used to broaden understanding of evolution, conservation, and biodiversity. Carnegie Museum of Natural History generates new scientific knowledge, advances science literacy, and inspires visitors of all ages to become passionate about science, nature, and world cultures. More information is available by calling 412.622.3131 or by visiting the website, www.carnegiemnh.org.