Sharon Lorenzo meets T.rex in interactive, virtual reality.

T- Rex: The Ultimate Predator

The best of art, science, history and culture can be experienced by all ages as the American Museum of Natural History in New York City embraces its story of the dinosaur remains discovered since its inception in 1869 when leaders came together with Theodore Roosevelt  to start the museum.  He had been collecting fossils since the age of 12 and gave his fossil collection to this museum during his Presidency in 1911.[1]

The introductory video from the American Museum of Natural History reveals in unusually gripping details the experience that awaits families and visitors to this installation that prides itself on the latest virtual reality technology applied to a museum visit. (See below for video)

The museum received its first dinosaur in 1905 when the remains of a brontosaurus were donated, and they are now on display in the David H. Koch Dinosaur wing.  Shortly thereafter in 1908, Barnum Brown discovered in Montana the remains of a dinosaur specimen which is the tallest in the world, and it is on full display in the AMNH entry lobby today.

Koch Hall of Saurischian Dinosaurs

Five story Barosaurus, AMNH entry hall

This museum has about five million visitors per year to its 45 halls of 1.6 million square feet with 200 staff and 32 million specimens.  The current president is Ellen Futter,  a graduate and former President of Barnard College.  Following her degree in law from Columbia, she entered the firm of Milbank, Tweed, Hadley and McCloy for six years. She was then hired and served for thirteen years as the President of Barnard College before becoming the AMNH director. She continues to be a director of JP Morgan Bank and Consolidated Edison as well as a member of the Council of Foreign Relations. Her background in education, law and governance serve her well at the AMNH where she regularly negotiates with tribal leaders from all over the globe whose cultural heritage remains an integral part of the collection.

Dr. Ellen Futter, President of AMNH

One innovative solution she mastered arose when the Confederated Tribes of the Grande Ronde Community in Oregon sued the museum in 2005 for the return of their Williamette Meteor which weighs 15.60 tons. It was gifted to the museum in 1906 but remained a stone sacred to the tribal members who call it “Tomanowos” meaning an icon of spiritual power. Because of its size, the meteor could not be removed from its current location in the Rose Planetarium.  Dr. Futter offered the tribe the opportunity to visit often and hold ceremonies in the hall. Additionally, they send an intern each year for a semester of work in the museum, a win-win compromise for all.

Iron and Nickel Meteor, Williamette Valley , Oregon ( 13,000 years old )

Williamette Tribal Ceremony

In this day and age of sophisticated scientific inquiry underwater and in our outer space galaxies, the installations of the T- Rex and the meteor, like many other pieces of the collection of the American Museum of Natural History, come alive  and show us how relevant our museums can be today as centers of learning for all ages.

See this video about the T.rex: The Ultimate Predator exhibit. It’s great!

American Museum of Natural History

March 11, 2018-August 9, 2020

Central Park West at 79th St. New York City

 

 [1]  Ashton Applewhite, The American Museum of Natural History, The Ultimate Guide,  Sterling Publishers, New York, p. 47.