Peabody Museum's Great Hall of Dinosaurs to Undergo $30 Million Facelift

Sep 24, 2013

When the Peabody's Great Hall of Dinosaurs opened in 1931, it was a state of the art exhibit, reflecting years of meticulously mounted fossils, and information for visitors based on the most current research on dinosaurs. Derek Briggs, director of the Peabody Museum, said that in the 80 years since its opening, scientists know a lot more about dinosaurs. "For example," he said, "the giant Saurapod, known as Apatosaurus, is depicted in a very static way [in the exhibit]. The notion at the time was it perhaps couldn't even hold up its weight. We now know this was a very active animal that lived in groups, and could move like a modern elephant."

With that in mind, the Peabody Museum has big plans to renovate the Great Hall of Dinosaurs, and bring it up to date. The $30 million project will include disassembling the current dinosaurs and remounting them in active poses. The hall will also incorporate another 1,000 specimens into the exhibit, and will include a recent acquisition -- a 40-foot-long Mosasaur, known as the "T-Rex of the sea."

Rudolph F. Zallinger's famous mural, "The Age of the Dinosaurs," which dominates the great hall, will get a special treatment once the renovation is complete, according to Briggs. "Our ambition is to put a balcony on the other side of the mural," he said, "so the visitors can see the mural at eye level. We would have interactive screens on the balcony, where visitors could morph the mural."

The exhibit will be open during the renovation, and visitors will be able to see the project as it unfolds through specially created windows.

The museum is still in the process of raising the $30 million needed for the renovation. Briggs said he hopes the renovated exhibit will be complete for the museum's 150th anniversary in 2016.