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Why Are There So Many Terra Cotta Warriors?

Why So Many WarriorsBuried for centuries and unearthed in 1974, clay fragments led archaeologists to a stunning discovery – approximately 8,000 life-size soldiers, each one unique! This army of thousands, completed in 210 B.C., was created in amazing detail and then buried as part of the world’s largest underground burial site. The terra cotta warriors protect an emperor’s tomb in the afterlife, but have yet to reveal their greatest mystery. 

Before you visit the REAL warriors at The Children's Museum this May, we're answering key questions about this amazing archaeological discovery—like, WHY were there so many, and what made them special?

 

 

 

Find out:

Watch the full video to learn more about the Terra Cotta Warriors. 

Buy your tickets to the exhibit China's Terra Cotta Warriors: The Emperor's Painted Army, opening May 10. 

 

Creating Our Own Terra Cotta Warrior Costumes—For You!

TCW costumesToday's guest blog post is by Gretel Meyer Odell. Gretel is the owner and chief designer of Fancy Pants Kids, a Toronto-based company devoted to nurturing imaginations by creating exceptional costume/dress-up designs. She's been hard at work making the costumes that families will be able to try on in Terra Cotta Warriors: The Emperor's Painted Army! Gretel lives in Toronto, Canada with her husband, two sons, many pets, and an impressive dress-up collection.

What a delightful surprise it was to be contacted by staff at The Children’s Museum to ask if I could make Terra Cotta Warrior costumes for their upcoming hands-on exhibit. They had stumbled upon an entry on my Fancy Pants Kids blog showing some of my institutional designs. Over the years, my very favorite work has been creating custom designs for museums and galleries. Knowing that the items I create will be worn and enjoyed by thousands of children and their families each and every week creates a very special kind of satisfaction and motivation to make each item truly magical (not to mention indestructible). Some of my similar projects have been brown bats, medieval arming caps, and dinosaur costumes for the Royal Ontario Museum and David Bowie-inspired costumes for the Art Gallery of Ontario.

Working with my favorite material for this kind of project (sturdy upholstery vinyl) we adapted my original Terra Cotta Warrior design and started cutting all the pieces we would need to make 4 child and 2 adult-sized costumes. This was my very first time making adult-sized replicas and it was fun (but wow—adults sure require a lot of extra materials!) 

Gretel _TCW CostumesAnother interesting challenge was to figure out how to make the back of the armor weigh the same as the front. The 200-250 snaps on the front of the armor add a good bit of weight to the costume, causing it to pull to the front when you wear it. I solved this by weighing the number of snaps that would be placed and cutting vinyl inserts of the same weight to slip into the back panel. You'll notice when you handle and wear these pieces that they're quite heavy. I’m sure they're a small fraction of what the real armor weighed, but the weight does add to the experience of imagining what it may have been like to wear a uniform like this to work!

Once the pieces were cut, my assistant Jody and I used chalk to draw the individual tiles that comprise the armor, then we used light colored thread to top-stitch those lines. When the armor was fully assembled, it was time to start punching the holes for the snap heads that would create the look of the rivets that appear all over the real armor. The holes are made individually with a hammer and a small punch tool. This was hard work and took a few hours (and ear plugs). I tried to re-create the variations in how these studs were placed on the statue samples I had seen. If you look at one of the warriors you'll see that the studs are not perfectly symmetrical, nor is there a fully consistent pattern.

Once the holes were made, the armor went to Susana—a local sewer who works with Toronto fashion designers—who patiently installed the 1,200+ snaps in the armor. Then it was back to my home studio for inspection, thread snipping, and the first of tens of thousands of family photos that will be taken with the armor!

China's Terra Cotta Warriors: The Emperor's Painted Army, opens on May 10 alongside Take Me There: China. Learn more!

Hammer Rivets
TCW Costume TCW Costume complete

 

Two Times the China

China battle Melissa CathyDecisions, decisions. This summer, should you experience ancient China...or modern? How about both!

On May 10, The Children's Museum is opening not one, but two China exhibits—China's Terra Cotta Warriors: The Emperor's Painted Army, and Take Me There: China. But what makes them different? Our exhibit developers—Melissa Pederson and Cathy Hamaker—thought that their recent email exchange would help answer a lot of your questions. (And also help you decide to go see...everything!)

From: Cathy H.
To: Melissa P.
Subject: How goes it?

Hi Melissa! Haven’t talked to you in a while, what are you working on these days?

From: Melissa P.
To: Cathy H.
Subject: RE: How goes it?

Hey Cathy! I’ve been pretty busy with an awesome new exhibit about ancient China. What are you up to? 

From: Cathy H.
Wait—I’M doing an exhibit on China too! Wow, what a coincidence. Wait, so what’s so special about “ancient” China, huh?  

From: Melissa P.
Two China exhibits! How extraordinary is that?!
I think ancient China is special (that is, China about 2,200 years ago), because that’s when China was born. In 221 B.C.E., a king made China after he battled, conquered, and combined 7 smaller kingdoms. Then the king named himself Qin Shi Huangdi, the First Emperor of China. 
What’s going on in your China exhibit?  

From: Cathy H.
Well, my exhibit is all about MODERN China. Our visitors will be able to visit a marketplace, a tea house, a medicine shop—and see inside the homes of a Chinese family spanning four generations! They can even learn to speak some words in Chinese.

From: Melissa P.
That sounds pretty cool...but did I mention my exhibit has warriors?
Six-foot-tall warriors made of terra cotta clay. China’s First Emperor built an army of 8,000 of these guys, put real weapons in their clay hands, and placed them near his tomb to protect him in the afterlife. We're going to display eight of the real warriors in the exhibit!

From: Cathy H.
Wow, that sounds amazing—almost as amazing as the Chengdu Panda Reserve! In my exhibit, kids will be able to pretend-play helping the scientists at Chengdu feed and care for baby pandas. Warriors are nice and all, but baby pandas are adorable, don’cha think?

From: Melissa P.
Baby pandas are waaay cute. I would definitely like to pretend to feed tiny fuzzy baby panda…
But speaking of pretend play, in my exhibit, kids get to dress up in armor and pretend they are ancient Chinese warriors! They also get to sculpt and mold warriors out of clay. How would you like to mold a mini warrior and add it to a massive mini warrior army here at the museum?

From: Cathy H.
I—I’d kinda really love to do that, actually! Man, your exhibit sounds great. When does it open??

From: Melissa P.
May 10th!  Your exhibit sounds super fun too—when does yours open?

From: Cathy H.
What?? You’re kidding, mine opens May 10th too! It’s almost like the museum planned it that way. Our visitors can learn about ancient China AND modern China together—it’ll be like time-travelling 2,000 years in just a few steps!

From: Melissa P.
Woah, it’s like we’re a time machine. But it won’t last forever—ancient China will only be here until November 2nd. After that, the warriors travel back to China. I really hope our visitors stop by this summer to experience modern and ancient China together!   

From: Cathy H.
Take Me There:® China will be here for 3 to 4 years, so our visitors can see it again and again. I can’t wait for families to come see both these exhibits—this is going to be great!

Experience both exhibits beginning May 10!
Public tickets for China's Terra Cotta Warriors: The Emperor's Painted Army, are available for purchase beginning April 13.
Member tickets are available for purchase. Buy member tickets now.

When Kids Throw a Dinosaur a Birthday Party...This Happens

Dino Birthday exteriorWhen we needed help planning Dinosphere's 10th birthday party, we went straight to the experts—kids! For two weeks in March and April we brought 17 of your amazing dinosaur birthday party ideas to life. See all of the ideas below, or watch the videos to see the ideas in action, including: fireworks (and Nova's reaction), Bucky LIVES!, singing Happy Birthday, dino dress up, a roaring contest, a Rex April Fools' joke, and a dino-themed parade. Plus—don't miss the full photo album on Facebook!

And it wasn't just kids that helped us party like a dino. On March 12, museums and organizations from all over the world helped us kick off Dinosphere's birthday celebration with the #PartyLikeADino Twitter party. Over 30 organizations and friends tweeted gifts and greetings to Dinosphere in six countries and four languages! See it all in this Storify.

Thank you to everyone who helped us party like a dino this Spring Break. You made it a dino-sized birthday we won't forget!

 

Dino Birthday Fireworks

Nova Fireworks

Bucky Lives Party Like A DIno Sara and Bucky
Dino Birthday house Elaine Dinosphere
Dino birthday racecar Rex race car
Dino Cake Dino Cake
Dino Happy Birthday Chords Dino Bday
Dino Masks Dino Masks
Dino Dress Up Dress Like A Dino
Dino Dance Party Dance Party
Dino Sculpture Dino Cooley Head
Dino Roaring Contest Dino Roaring Contest
Dino Hats Dino Hats
Dino Egg Cupcakes Dino Cupcakes
Dino Gift Bags Dino Bags
Dino Pizza Dino Pizza
Dino Video Games Rex's Arcade
Dino Parade Felix Parade

 

Top 10 Dinosaur Events of the Post-Dinosphere Years

Top 10 Dinosaur Events Post-DinosphereHas this happened to you? You think you know a lot about dinosaurs, and then you're surprised to learn that your favorite didn't even exist! Paleontologists are making new discoveries all the time, keeping us dinosaur fans on our toes. Curious if there's big news that you missed? To celebrate Dinosphere's 10th birthday, we've compiled the top 10 dinosaur events AFTER to Dinosphere's grand opening.

Don't miss the first post in this series, the Top 10 Dinosaur Events of the Pre-Dinosphere Years.

By Paleontologist and Natural Science Curator Dallas Evans.

1. 2005 — Scientist isolates soft tissue from a 68 million year old dinosaur.
Dr. Mary Schweitzer became one of the first scientists to use the tools of modern cell biology to investigate dinosaurs. Upon examining the thighbone of a T. rex she discovered remnants of soft tissues hidden away within the interior of the bone.

2. 2005 — Evidence is unearthed that early mammals ate dinosaurs.
Excavations in China provide the first direct evidence that early mammals preyed upon dinosaurs. Inside the skeleton of the early mammal Repenomamus, researchers find the preserved remains of a young Psittacosaurus!

3. 2006 — Dracorex is introduced to the world.
Unearthed in the badlands of South Dakota, this new species of dinosaur is given the name Dracorex hogwartsia, or “Dragon king of Hogwarts” thus delighting generations of both dinosaur and Harry Potter fans.

4. 2007 — Gigantoraptor is discovered.
Chinese paleontologist Dr. Xing Xu announces the discovery of Gigantoraptor erlianensis, a 3000 pound, toothless raptor that stalked the Late Cretaceous of Inner Mongolia.

5. 2009 — First fossil pigments give clues to dinosaur colors.
Researchers find fossilized melanosomes, the remains of pigments, in the feathers and protofeathers of dinosaurs and birds from China. For the first time we're given the possibility of finding out what color some dinosaurs may have been!

6. 2009 — Children get on board the Dinosaur Train.
The Jim Henson Company introduces an animated series for preschool children featuring a young T. rex named Buddy. Perhaps the best thing about this series is the appearance of well know paleontologist Dr. Scott Sampson, who encourages children to learn natural history, to be thrilled by scientific exploration and to investigate paleontology.

7. 2012 — The first feathered dinosaur specimen is found in North America.
The relationship between dinosaurs and birds was proposed in the late 1800s by anatomist Thomas Huxley. In the 1990s, well preserved fossil specimens of feathered dinosaurs were being excavated in China. However in 2012 Canadian researchers discovered the first evidence of a feathered dinosaur from North America—an ostrich-like dinosaur called Ornithomimus. These dinosaurs would have been just too large to fly, so the feathers may have served another purpose, like attracting a mate or protecting eggs during hatching.

8. 2013 — Edmontosaurus gets a new "do."
One of the most familiar of duck-billed dinosaurs may have looked much differently than we've always assumed. Researchers noticed fossil traces of a crest on top of the skull of an Edmontosaurus. Not the boney structure of the skull, but evidence of preserved soft tissue. This was a dinosaur with a cock’s comb—that's right, like a rooster!

9. 2013 — T. rex is a known predator.
Was T. rex a scavenger or predator? That question has been asked for many years until it was definitively answered. Researchers discovered the vertebra of an injured duckbill dinosaur. The backbone had a broken T. rex tooth embedded in it. Not only was the dinosaur bitten by a T. rex, but there were signs that the wound was healing. So the duck-billed dinosaur survived the attack!

10. 2014 — Excavations at Ruth Mason Quarry.
Of course we have to brag a little bit,…   this year marks a dozen years of excavating at the Ruth Mason Quarry near Faith, South Dakota. In that time we've excavated thousands of Edmontosaurus bones and introduce hundreds of families to the thrill of paleontology.

Top 10 Dinosaur Events of the Pre-Dinosphere Years

Has this happened to you? You think you know a lot about dinosaurs, and then you're surprised to learn that your favorite didn't even exist! Paleontologists are making new discoveries all the time, keeping us dinosaur fans on our toes. Curious if there's big news that you missed? To celebrate Dinosphere's 10th birthday, we've compiled the top 10 dinosaur events prior to Dinosphere's grand opening.

Don't miss the second post in this series, the Top 10 Dinosaur Events of the Post-Dinosphere Years. 

By Dinosphere Coordinator Mookie Harris and Natural Science Curator Dallas Evans.

  1. 1822 — Gideon Mantell discovers the first dinosaur fossil.
    Mantell discovered fossil teeth of an animal that would later be named Iguanodon. He didn't know it at the time, but he had just found the first dinosaur. Nineteen years later, Sir Richard Owen creates the word “dinosaur” to define the group of extinct animals that includes Iguanodon, Hylaeosaurus and Megalosaurus.  That list of three species will grow to over 700 discovered species by the year 2014.

  2. 1858 — The first dinosaur skeleton is found in the United States.
    Hadrosaurus was excavated and described by Joseph Leidy in Haddonfield, New Jersey, just 15 minutes east of Philadelphia. It's called Hadrosaurs foulki. It was discovered and excavated by William Parker Foulke. Dr. Joseph Leidy, a professor of anatomy at Philadelphia's Academy of Natural Sciences described and displayed the specimen.
     
  3. 1902 — Barnum Brown finds the first T.rex.
    The first partial skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus rex was found in Eastern Wyoming by Barnum Brown. It wasn't for another 60 to 70 years, though, before T. rex becomes the most well-known dinosaur. At this time, when someone says “dinosaur,” most people think of Brontosaurus.
     
  4. 1903For the second time, Brontosaurus ceases to exist. 
    Brontosaurus"—such a cool name. It doesn’t get more dramatic and descriptive than “thunder lizard. Elmer Riggs, a fantastic vertebrate paleontologist from The Field Museum, discovered that Apatosaurus is simply a young form of the adult Brontosaurus. But Apatosaurus was named first, so that name had priority. This will confuse people for years to come.  
     
  5. 1933 — Roy Chapman Andrews discovers the first dinosaur eggs. 
    American adventurer Roy Chapman Andrews (the real-life inspiration for Indiana Jones) leads the expedition that discovers the first known dinosaur eggs while exploring in Mongolia. Prior to this, it was not known whether dinosaurs laid eggs or gave birth to live young.
     
  6. 1960 — The Flintstones debuts.
    The Flintstones debuts on ABC television, featuring cave people, ice age mammals and dinosaurs all living together. This will confuse people for decades to come.
     
  7. 1980 — The asteroid extinction theory is proposed.
    The Alvarez Hypothesis is proposed, stating that an asteroid struck the Earth 66 million years ago, leading to the demise of the dinosaurs. The same year, Atari releases the arcade video game Asteroids, leading to the rise of video gaming and the eventual demise of human productivity.
     
  8. 1986 — Warm-blooded dinosaur theory is widely accepted.
    Robert T. Bakker’s The Dinosaur Heresies is published, exposing the general public to John Ostrom’s theories on dinosaurs being warm-blooded. This revolutionizes the way they are viewed in pop culture.
     
  9. 1990 — Michael Crichton publishes Jurassic Park.
    Michael Crichton publishes the book Jurassic Park, reminding adults around the world that dinosaurs are still cool, even if you’re not five years old. Steven Spielberg turns it into an awesome movie in 1993 and the mainstream public goes nuts for Velociraptor, so much so that in 1995 the NBA’s Toronto Raptors become the first pro sports team named for a dinosaur. (Although the team’s owner is considering a name change. But that’s appropriate for a fossil isn’t it? Just ask the Brontosaurus.)
     
  10. 2000 — Leonardo the mummified dinosaur is discovered.
    Leonardo the mummified dinosaur is discovered near Malta, Montana. This fully articulated and mummified skeleton of a young Brachylophosaurus includes fossilized skin, tendons, musculature and stomach contents.

Dr. Bakker Explains—what Makes Leonardo the Mummified Dinosaur Special?

Bakker Trexler Leonardo

Dr. Robert Bakker is one of the most noteworthy dinosaur paleontologists in the United States—and even inspired the paleontologist depicted in the movie The Lost World: Jurassic Park. Bakker has reshaped modern theories about dinosaurs, in particular by adding support to the theory that dinosaurs were endothermic (warm-blooded), smart, fast, and adaptable. Dr. Bakker has worked with the museum as an expert curator and paleontologist and has helped acquire rare dinosaur fossils on The Children’s Museum dinosaur advisory board.  

 

Leonardo is exquisite.
 
When I saw Leonardo for the first time, the fossil skin was bathed in light washing over the beast from the side. The body seemed to glow. The rib cage was so beautifully preserved you might imagine the animal breathing, the chest rising and falling...
 
And you see inside!  There were windows into the great machinery of digestion, views never before available for any creature of the fabulous duckbill clan.
 
Leonardo seemed to be alive once more—almost. You could almost see the jaws grinding and chopping conifer branches. You could almost hear the gentle rhythm of fodder being swallowed, being carried through the stomach and then into the marvelously complex intestinal tract.
 
Feeding and digesting are the twin mysteries of dinosaur success. And duckbills are at the heart of Cretaceous ecology. They dominated the plant-eater guild. Their family tree was so bushy that new species sprouted in every direction. To understand the Cretaceous world, we must decipher the keys to herbivore design. Leonardo has handed us those keys.
 
Leonardo invites us to a safari into his inner secrets. Scholars and amateur dino fans alike can test century-old theories. Were duckbills merely dinosaurian moose, munching on soft water plants? So read the textbooks from 1860 up through the '1960's. No! The guts say that theory is bunk. Duckbill jaws were armed with the finest cranial Cuisinart ever evolved within the entire Dinosauria. Look closely at Leonardo's muzzle and jaws. There is a never-ending supply of tooth crowns, closely packed to make a rotary food processor.
 
We knew those basic dental facts since the first duckbill was dug in New Jersey in the 1850s. And yet the moose-diet theory would not die. Leonardo at last provides experimental proof. You can examine what plants were chewed and how thoroughly they were masticated.
 
Water plants?  Nope. Tough, hard-leaved conifers. Nutritious. Full of protein and energy. Leonardo testifies to the true preferred diet—terrestrial vegetation, the shrubs and trees that covered the landscape.
 
The Children's Museum of Indianapolis is the perfect place for Leonardo. Indy has duckbill smarts. The museum crew has excavated one of the greatest duckbill bone-beds in the world. The Paleo Lab presents the visitor to touch duckbill legs, run their fingers over duckbill teeth. 
 
And now.....Leonardo adds that unique window back into the Cretaceous, the window into his deepest secrets.

Why Doesn't the Dino Mummy Look Like a Mummy?

dino mummy why

By Lori Phillips, Digital Content Coordinator
 
When you're six years old and your mom works at The Children's Museum, it's not out of the ordinary to learn over the dinner table that a dinosaur is coming to "your" museum. My son, Teddy, usually plays it pretty cool when I share (what I believe to be) awesome news about the museum, but he couldn't contain his amazement when I mentioned a "mummy dinosaur"—now that's cool.
 
It was November, and the museum had just announced that Leonardo the mummified dinosaur would be unveiled in Dinosphere in March. As I excitedly showed Teddy the photos of Leonardo, his first question was, "But mom, where's the toilet paper?" When I gave him a puzzled look he said, "Like, when something is a mummy it's wrapped in toilet paper, right?" Of course! It was really the perfect question. And thankfully I knew the perfect person to answer it—paleontologist and natural science curator, Dallas Evans. 
 
Here's Dallas' response:
 
Please tell Teddy that we're working on that. When Leonardo was excavated, it was wrapped in aluminum foil to keep it safe. (Which probably made it look like a gigantic baked potato.) The aluminum foil is just a separator—it keeps the plaster from sticking to the fossil. But the foil isn't good for long term storage because it will oxidize & discolor. So we removed the foil and replaced it with acid free tissue paper while it was in storage. Essentially, until it's ready to be put on display, it will look like a mummy wrapped in toilet paper.
 
But that was in November, and now Leonardo is on display. (No more acid free tissue paper!) So...if Leonardo is a mummy, where are his wrappings?
 
Mummies are any dead bodies with preserved skin, muscle, and other soft tissue. Leonardo isn't a human mummy, like you usually would envision. Leonardo isn't a wrapped dinosaur, either. Leonardo is a natural mummy. Nature mummified Leonardo, so he doesn't have wrappings. It's estimated that 90 percent of Leonardo's body is still covered in fossilized soft tissue. 
 
When dinosaurs died, their carcasses were usually exposed to weather, scavengers, insects, and bacteria, but sometimes they would be naturally buried in sediment by things like sandstorms, mudslides, high tides or sinkholes and that sediment would harden into rock over time. If conditions were just right, mineral-heavy water would seep into the rock, and into the hollow spaces in the bones, and the bone materials would be replaced with rock-like minerals. And, if the chemicals and the moisture level and the pressure and other factors were perfect, over time, the bone would be replaced by a rock-like copy or natural cast called (drum roll, please)...a fossil!
 
Leonardo died on the banks of a shallow river in what is now Montana. His body was eventually buried and minerals in the river infiltrated the dinosaur's soft tissues, desiccating and preserving them, resulting in natural mummification. This created a mummified, fossilized dinosaur—the rarest of the rare!
 
Learn more about Leonardo's story in the blog post, "Here Comes the Dino Mummy!" by Dinosphere Coordinator Mookie Harris.
And be sure to meet Leonardo in his new home in Dinosphere!

10 Things to Know Before Your First Playscape Visit | The Playscape 5

Gage Paul Playscape 5Follow along as three families (just like you!) discover Playscape together. The Playscape 5—Torrence, Myles and Ella, and Gage and Paul—will share their experiences as they learn and grow in the gallery...and at home! See Playscape through the eyes of Gage (age 3) and Paul (age 18 mos.) in this post from mom, Emily. And continue to follow their journey online, on the blog, or by searching the #Playscape5 hashtag!

Gage, Paul, and I have been avid Playscape visitors since the museum reopened the exhibit after an extensive update and modernization nearly six months ago. Our routine is typically to visit weekly, usually on Tuesday mornings, when the crowds seem to be a bit thinner than on the weekends. 

Since we love the exhibit so much, we're always talking it up to our friends, urging them to come join us for an on-location play date. I frequently get asked questions about what the exhibit is like, so I thought it might be high time to put together a little off-the-cuff "good things to know" list about visiting Playscape for the first time. 

 

  1. Calling all helpers! Yes, Playscape is designed for children five years old and under, but older children are allowed in as "helpers" if accompanying a sibling or friend. Want to know more? I've written a whole post about bringing my two older children with me!
  2. Potty training? No problem! It's true, you're not going to have to run out of the exhibit the minute you hear "mom I have to go potty RIGHT THIS VERY SECOND." Playscape has awesome bathrooms designed for little trainers and big kids alike. 
  3. You might get wet, and that's part of the fun! The Creek (complete with waterfall and a rain shower) is a favorite spot for my boys. Grab a water-proof smock or prepare to get splashed. Thankfully, if a few drops land on your clothes, there are a few powerful blow dryers to help with the clean-up.
  4. Natural light. Glorious natural light. The East wall to the exhibit is almost floor-to-ceiling windows, allowing for beautiful natural light to shine in. My boys press their little faces right up to the glass and watch cars zoom by on Meridian Street below. It's so fascinating!
  5. Consider planning your visit around a daily (free) program. Playscape is always open to come and go as you please, but sometimes they do super-fun guided exploration activities (like music or art) with a museum staff member at specific times of the day. 
  6. One way in, and one way out. As a parent of multiple small children, I admittedly have a hard time keeping track of what direction everyone is headed. It sometimes feels like I'm unsuccessfully trying to herd cats. One of the best design features of Playscape is that there is only one way in, and one way out. This gives me piece of mind that my little escape artists are staying in the exhibit, even if I've lost momentary sight of them. 
  7. Top o'mast! If your kid gets stuck at the top of that sailboat in the Climber and becomes too scared to come down (yeah, it's happened to us)? You can ask a very bendy, much more flexible staff member to help retrieve them!
  8. Teamwork makes the dream work. Playscape is undoubtedly a top destination when visiting the museum, so it's always a whirlwind of activity, packed with little kids. I prep my boys each time before we go in, reminding them that it's more fun to share and play with other kids than to hog the toys to themselves. It works, kinda. 
  9. Snacks can wait. As a parent, one thing I really appreciate is that Playscape is a food-free zone. This "rule" keeps Playscape clean and provides a safe environment for children with food allergies. 
  10. Just do it! I cannot express enough just what an absolute gem Playscape is for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers. Each and every time we go, we learn something new and create another lasting memory. Go in with little expectation, and let your imagination lead the way. No visit will ever be the same!

So there you have it—my top pieces of Playscape advice. So what are you waiting for? Will we see you there?

Gage and Paul Playscape 5 Gage Playscape 5

An Exhibit about China? Didn’t We Already See That?

Terra Cotta WarriorsBy Chris Carron, Director of Collections

Every day, thousands of our members and visitors enjoy one of The Children's Museum's permanent, core experiences, National Geographic Treasures of the Earth. This perennial favorite lets you explore how archeologists around the world search for and literally “dig up” clues about our human past. Families love to crawl through re-created Egyptian tomb passages, pretend they’re diving for lost shipwrecks, and also reassemble replica Terra Cotta Warriors like giant jigsaw puzzles. 

If you count yourselves among the many that have explored Treasures of the Earth, then I hope we’ve whetted your appetite for the main event—an extraordinary temporary exhibit coming for a limited time from May 10 through November 2: Terra Cotta Warriors: The Emperor’s Painted Army, directly from China’s Shaanxi Province. Organized by The Children’s Museum, this exhibit will include some of the actual life-sized, 2200-year-old, fired clay statues from China that were buried in the earth for millennia until they were discovered by farmers in 1974. Whereas Treasures of the Earth focuses on how archaeologists make their discoveries by analyzing evidence, Terra Cotta Warriors will bring you up close with some of the world’s greatest treasures, and will focus on the how scientists, artists, and historians are using the latest technology to understand how these figures were made and preserve their original painted surfaces. I got to see how this is happening at behind-the-scenes laboratories onsite in Xi’an, China, and now so will you—only right here in Indianapolis. This will truly be a “once in a lifetime” opportunity for people of all ages. 

While the terra cotta warriors date way back to the time when China first unified as a nation, another permanent, core experience also opening on May 10 will immerse you in the ancient customs and modern activities of life in contemporary China. Take Me There:® China will be one of the largest (maybe THE largest) comprehensive exhibit on contemporary China ever produced in the United States, and will explore the art, music, language, food, tea culture, and homes of children and families in the world’s most populous nation. 

So, don’t be confused—come and see them all!

 

Terra Cotta Warriors is a timed ticket exhibit, and an additional charge is required. Member tickets are on sale now.

Bringing a Mummified Dinosaur to Life

Leonardo rendering BerglundMichael Berglund is the artist behind the beautiful illustrations of Leonardo the mummified dinosaur, helping to bring Leonardo to life in his new home in Dinosphere. Michael has been a commercial special effects artist, designer, and sculptor for over 27 years. He's participated in dinosaur digs as a volunteer and has contributed art to museums for the past 15 years. His mother claims he could say "Tyrannosaurus rex" before he could say "mommy."

I first met Leonardo at a paleontology conference way back in 2005. As an artist interested in the finer points of muscles and skin on dinosaurs, I was astonished at what I saw when the pictures came up on the screen! It looked like he had just fallen over, well, not yesterday—but you get what I mean. You could really see the living creature in the rock!

Afterwards I approached the people who gave the presentation and struck up a conversation. They looked at my work, and so began my long association with Leonardo. I have done pictures and graphic design for the Great Plains Dinosaur Museum in Malta, the Houston Museum where Leonardo was briefly displayed, and now, here, for The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. It’s almost as though he’s my "dino-buddy" at this point, we’ve been through so much together.

The renderings that I've done for the Children’s Museum represent the collected wisdom of scientists and artists through the years, thinking about Brachylophosaurs, and Leonardo in general. I've had the great fortune to be able to learn from, and have my work improved by, association with Dr. Robert Bakker, Dave Trexler, and Peter Larson, to name a few experts in the paleontological world. 

The image I created is a 3D model—a computer graphics rendering. I started by using measurements and skeletal diagrams to get the proportions and overall shapes. Creating a "low polygon, low detail" model is almost like building a sculpting armature (or frame), to refine the overall forms and shapes. Scientists know about dinosaur musculature by studying the fossils—which bear traces of muscle and tendon attachments—and by studying living creatures today. With Leonardo, there's even more information, in the form of preserved muscle and tendon structure! 

Leonardo’s skin is also preserved in large sections, and that's really exciting to me as an artist. While imagination is key to any art, it’s a real thrill to be able to create something with the evidence backing it up, and to be able to stand back, look at it, and think, "Wow, this is probably what he really looked like." All of that detail was added in a 3D sculpting program.

The most speculative thing about the picture is the coloration. We may never know what dinosaurs were colored like, but we can make educated guesses based upon living animals and habitats. Leonardo’s patterned, brownish color is reasonable given the environment he lived in. The coloration was done in a paint program and wrapped around the digital sculpture.

It’s been great fun helping to bring Leonardo back to life, and to contribute to the wonder and discovery of recreating our Earth’s prehistoric past.

Leonardo wireframe Berglund

Leonardo wireframe color Berglund

Images: Michael Berglund, 2013

 

More Visits, More Discoveries for Myles and Ella | The Playscape 5

Myles CreekFollow along as three families (just like you!) discover Playscape together. The Playscape 5—Torrence, Myles and Ella, and Gage and Paul—will share their experiences as they learn and grow in the gallery...and at home! See Playscape through the eyes of Myles (age 4 1/2)  and Ella (age 2) in this post from mom, Ronnetta. And continue to follow their journey online, on the blog, or by searching the #Playscape5 hashtag on Instagram, Twitter, and Vine!
 
The difference between Myles first visiting Playscape when he was 4-1/2, and then on his 5th birthday, was pleasantly surprising! 
And the difference between Ella visiting at 1-1/2 (and now 2), is remarkable. 
 
By now, I thought that some degree of boredom might have kicked in for our youngsters, but I shelved my silly adult perceptions long ago. As parents know, kids don't mind reruns of their favorite cartoons on the television, and there is a naturally occurring ease and comfort when tykes are able to experience the same joys over and over. The renovated Playscape, a half-year old itself, continues to be a little bundle of joy.
 
Myles—the senior member of the #Playscape5—had been in the Whirly Twirly Tower before, but the pull of the pneumatic goodness that makes up part of the Reaction Contraption was too powerful a lure. When we visited on his birthday January 26, however, he discovered a way to make the Tower work for him. He waited his turn and took the multicolored pink, yellow and orange cloth pieces and pressed them against the rectangular blower vent, all at once, sending them circularly in the air. He enjoyed seeing them in flight (he’s really into a cause-and-effect phase at home), then he spun around chasing them. We love it when the kiddos replicate what they enjoy in the Museum at home. But we’re even happier that the Playscape activity stations are way more durable than our now-dented door frames!
 
 
Another new area for our children this month was The Climber
We have danger-averse little ones, so they're content to be entertained by watching other children sprawl through the lily pads and up to the boat. Slowly but surely, they're working their way up to the top, knowing their No. 1 fear of being “stuck” will be unrealized, as daddy is ready and willing to contort his way to the top to free them. They also enjoy being higher than their parents. After all, who wants to always be looking up at their folks? 
 

Myles Ella Climber

Our impressionable one, Ella follows the lead of her older brother, so where he goes, she follows. But there’s so much activity and commotion that your kids can focus on doing their own thing instead of competing. Ella sprinted off to the Music Studio again and was thrilled by the xylophones, while Myles donned some protective splash-gear, grabbed his favorite fishing net and played in the always-changing current in the Creek. They joined forces again over at the Sandbox, allowing themselves to have instantaneous fun on the revolving wheel. It’s a feature that constantly resets itself! 

 

What We Learned

  1. The Mothers' Rooms are a wonderful, clean, larger-than-you-expect oasis for those needing nursing or diaper-changing privacy. 
  2. The kids are attuned to high-tech solutions that never get old, such as the motion-activated hand sanitizer stations that spit out poofy bursts of white cleanser as well as the automatic hand dryers that emit controlled warm air near the Creek. It can get cold quickly when shirt sleeves are dampened by water!

 

Highlighting an Inspiring Olympic Moment: Ryan White and Greg Louganis

Greg Louganis medalBy Andrea Hughes, American Collection Curator
 
As far as Olympic gold medalists go, Greg Louganis is one of the most unforgettable. He competed in three Olympics, and many consider him the greatest diver in history. Greg and Ryan White became friends when Greg came to Indianapolis for a diving competition. After that, as a sign of their friendship, Greg gave Ryan some of his diving medals.  
 
When Greg competed in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea, he won the springboard and platform events for the second time (he also won both in 1984.) But this almost didn’t happen. In the preliminaries for the 3m springboard event, Greg hit his head on the board and was injured with a concussion and had to receive stitches. At the time, people didn’t know that Greg and Ryan had something in common—both were HIV-positive.
 
Greg said later that he wondered what Ryan would do in that situation. He decided that Ryan wouldn’t give up, and that helped Greg find the strength to continue. He went on to complete the best dive of the competition, and to win the gold medal the next day.
 
After Ryan died, Greg gave Jeanne White-Ginder, Ryan's mother, the gold medal that he won for that springboard event. Jeanne has now generously loaned the medal to The Children’s Museum. It will be on display in Ryan’s room in The Power of Children gallery in time for the beginning of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
 
Greg Louganis signed poster
 

Animal Secrets—Revealed

Animal Secrets DeerIndiana's wild habitats hide many secrets! From the Hoosier National Forest to your own backyard, animals are everywhere—if you know where to look. Here are the answers to some interesting questions about animals you'll find in Animal Secrets, open Feb. 8–May 4 at The Children's Museum.

How high can the deer jump?

With their long, powerful legs, deer can run up to 40 miles per hour and jump over a six-foot tall person! 

More deer facts: Deer establish a territory and never leave it. They are herbivores, which means they only eat plants. They have a four-chambered stomach.

How does the bear find food?

Bears, like humans, use trails and roads to get to their food and water sources. They can catch big fish with their sharp teeth and powerful jaws.

More bear facts: A male bear is called a boar, a female bear is called a sow, and a baby bear is called a cub. North America is home to the grizzly (brown) bear, polar bear, and black bear.
 

What makes the eagle bald?

The bald eagle is not actually bald—it has white feathers on its head, neck, and tail that make it look as if it's bald when viewed from a distance!

 

More eagle facts: The bald eagle can swim! They use an overhand movement of their wings, which resembles a butterfly stroke. When in normal flight, a bald eagle can fly 20 to 40 miles per hour.

How does the beaver swim?

A flat tail is a beaver's trademark. They use it to propel themselves through the water. They slap their tail against the water to warn others of danger. Beavers are designed to swim and work underwater. Their nose and ear valves close when submerged. 

More beaver facts: Baby beavers are called kits. Beavers are among the largest rodents. They're herbivores and prefer to eat leaves, bark, twigs, roots, and aquatic plants.

Where does the raccoon live?

Raccoons never nest more than 1,200 feet from a permanent water source. Common raccoons live in hollow trees or rocky dens. In colder areas they live in burrows. Raccoons usually come out only at night to look for food. 

More raccoon facts: Raccoons are often described as the "masked bandit" because of their unique facial markings and colorings. They have a keen sense of hearing, sight, and touch. But their sense of taste and smell are less developed.

 

5 Ways to Get the "Winter Wiggles" Out at Playscape

Follow along as three families (just like you!) discover Playscape together. The Playscape 5—Torrence, Myles and Ella, and Gage and Paul—will share their experiences as they learn and grow in the gallery...and at home! See Playscape through the eyes of Gage (age 3) and Paul (age 18 mos.) in this post from mom, Emily. And continue to follow their journey online, on the blog, or by searching the #Playscape5 hashtag!

Playscape Reaction Contraption

We’ve lived in Indianapolis for over 10 years, and this has been the worst (as far as the cold and snow goes) winter I can remember. Multiple days have gone by where the kids and I haven't left the house. It’s an understatement to say that our home has become Gage and Paul’s personal bounce house. Cabin fever has undoubtedly reached an all-time high, and my sofas are begging for toddler mercy.

Truth be told, I’m a die-hard lover of the winter season, but this year I’m waving the white flag. It’s not even February, and this self-proclaimed snow bunny is ready for spring. One of our only saving graces to the winter blues is that we live so very close to The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. And if the roads are favorable, you will see us there at least once a week, getting the “winter wiggles” out.

We don’t stay long—maybe an hour or two right before lunch and nap time, which is just enough time to run and play, burning up all that pent-up energy.

If you have still not made it to the new Playscape, winter is the perfect time! When it’s cold outside, it’s toasty warm inside Playscape

5 ways we get the “winter wiggles” out at Playscape:

1. Bang on those drums! Every visit, my four year old makes a beeline for the music room. His favorite percussion? The bongos! Go ahead and get your groove on and bang away!

Climb in the Playscape climber2. Climb to the top of the climber! At home, there’s no climbing on the furniture. But at the Climber, your encouraged to go up, up, and up jumping from pad to pad—all the way to the tippy top and into the little sail boat. It’s a bird's eye view of Playscape!

3. Let your hair blow in the wind tunnel! A few weeks ago my boys discovered a box fan in my bedroom and quickly became obsessed with standing in front of it, feeling the wind blow in their hair. I think we can agree that box fans don’t make the best toys, so even though it was super fun, it’s also off limits. But at Playscape, go ahead and jump in that tunnel, dance and jump around, get blown away.

4. Build a track and watch the balls roll on down! Such a simple activity—build a descending track and watch the ball roll on down. The track is Paul’s favorite activity. He can spend what feels like hours helping the older kids construct the “road”. And his favorite part? You guessed it, rolling the ball on down (and then putting the balls back into the basket).

5. Splash around in the creek! At home the boys have started taking mid-day baths just for fun. But nothing at home can start to compare to Playscape's creek. Paul’s favorite creek toy activity is catching little boats with a net as they float on by.

As a mom to two little boys, a preschooler and a toddler, I simply don’t know how we would sanely survive the winter without our weekly trip to the museum. Because don’t think for a minute that getting the “winter wiggles” out is just for the kids.

Roll

The Power of Ryan White’s Story

Ryan WhiteBy Jennifer Messmer, Director of Digital Communications
 
I grew up in Cicero, Indiana, a small town about 40 minutes north of Indianapolis. We had one stop light, one restaurant, and a lake. There is no reason that anyone should know about this town. But they do, and it’s all because of Ryan White.
 
Growing up I knew that a boy named Ryan White had attended my high school, Hamilton Heights. I knew a little bit about his story and that he was held up as breaking new ground in the fight against AIDS. I even knew his mom, Jeanne, still lived in town just down the street from my family. But what I didn’t know at the time was just how widespread Ryan’s impact was.
 
When I started working at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis about 4 years ago, I got to tour the museum as part of my orientation. I still remember the first time I walked through The Power of Children exhibit which features Ryan’s story along with two other amazing children, Ruby Bridges and Anne Frank.  I remember walking through Ryan’s room and I remember seeing his locker from school. And I still remember the first time I got to meet his mom and hear her powerful story. I had no idea Ryan’s story was heard around the world!
 
Ryan’s mom frequently comes back to the museum to continue Ryan’s mission of educating the world about AIDS and its victims. Each time we post about her visit on Facebook we are flooded with comments from people Ryan inspired.
 
Comments like these:
 
“Thank you for sharing this exhibit with the world. My 4 year old knows his story and relates because of the beautiful exhibit.” 
 
“(Ryan) Thank you for your strength, for making a difference and for leaving behind your beautiful smile.” 
 
“Ryan was one of my heroes. We were the same age, and I always admired his ability to stand up for himself and others as well as his fight to educate people.”
 
Just reading these comments makes me feel proud to be even a small part of continuing the education and continuing to spread Ryan’s message. If you have a chance to hear Jeanne speak, don’t miss it. But if you can’t make it, even walking through Ryan’s room and reading about his story in The Power of Children exhibit just might give you a new outlook.
 

Who Might You Meet in Jolly Days? | Part 1

Santa's not the only one you have a chance to meet during your visit to Jolly Days at The Children's Museum! There are quite a few characters—and we mean characters!—that you could run into. They may tell you a story or sing you a song...they'll probably give you a giggle or a high five...and they'll definitely get you in the holiday spirit! Here's the first half of our list of characters you might meet in Jolly Days... 

Luau “Lou” the Elf

Luau “Lou” the Elf Jolly Days

 

 

 

 

Luau, “Lou” for short, has lived in Hawaii for years.  Of course, as everyone knows, Santa has helpers all over the world. He's here to meet with Santa and give him a report on how holiday preparations are going in “the Aloha State.”

Be sure to ask Lou how the holiday preparations are going in Hawaii. You may have a chance to strum the ukulele and sing a holiday song!

Karaoke Karey 

Karaoke Karey Jolly Days

 

 

 

Karaoke Karey is throwing a huge museum-wide celebration and wants to make sure her party guests are having the time of their life! She loves to entertain, party, sing and dance. She's overwhelmed with holiday joy because so many guests have come to hang out with her!

Sing your favorite holiday song with Karey, then pose with some silly props for a picture to document the occasion!

Ebenezer Scrooge

Scrooge Jolly Days

 

 

 

Ebenezer Scrooge—now filled with the joy of the season following visits from the three spirits—is tasked with spreading the joy by sharing the lessons he learned. Seeking to learn new ways to celebrate the season, Scrooge invites families to share their traditions and ways of spreading the joy. 

Scrooge is painstakingly writing all of the ways you spread joy in his Jolly Journal, and he's kindly allowing us to post his entries on our blog! (Though it's unknown if he knows what a "blog" is. They don't have those in Victorian London!)

Aretha Holly

Aretha Holly

 

 

 

Aretha Holly, trivia host extraordinaire, really wants to get her own show on the North Pole Network! She’s eager to test out her new show ideas on some new friends at The Children’s Museum. She’s also hoping for an endorsement from Santa – would he promote her show?

Aretha's got games, riddles, and fun tales ready for you! She has trivia for all levels of holiday knowledge— from colors, to decorations, to questions about particular holidays. Families and friends can team up, or play individually!

And that's not all! We have even more holiday characters to introduce you to. Keep an eye out for Part 2 later this week!

It’s Time for Beany (and Cecil!)

Beany and CecilBy Cathy Hamaker, Exhibit Developer
 
Before the Ninja Turtles, before Sesame Street, some of the most popular children’s characters on TV were a pair of unlikely heroes:  a boy and a sea serpent!
 
Back in 1949, when programing for kids was still in its early years, former Warner Brothers animator Bob Clampett broke new ground with an ongoing adventure series called “Time for Beany!”  The stars of the show were hand puppets:  Beany, a freckled boy with a propeller cap, and his best pal, Cecil the Seasick Sea Serpent, travelled the world with Beany’s uncle, Captain Horatio Huff’n’puff, having adventures and foiling the dastardly plots of unsavory evildoers.   “Time for Beany” wasn’t just a show for kids, either—clever tongue-in-cheek references to current events ensured that adults stayed tuned as well (it’s reported that Albert Einstein was a big fan!)  Beany was originally voiced by Daws Butler—later famous as the voice of Yogi Bear—and Stan Freberg, well known for his comedy songs and commercial work, portrayed Cecil.
 

Beany Display

“Time for Beany” went off the air in 1955, but the characters remained popular.  In 1962 the “Beany and Cecil” animated cartoon made its debut on ABC.  True to form, Bob Clampett ensured that the show remained smart, funny, and punctuated with timely commentary on 1960’s fads and pop culture. 
 
So as you might have guessed, The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis was delighted last spring to receive a large donated collection of Beany materials—original puppets, animation cels, toys, and other items.  We’re excited for you to see them!  Our first Beany and Cecil display will be up on Level 4, starting in December.  As an added bonus, Bob Clampett’s son Rob has generously given us permission to show some selections from the original “Time for Beany” and “Beany and Cecil” on video in the display—so you and your family can meet these historic pioneers of children’s entertainment “in person,” so to speak.  And if that’s not enough Beany for you, I encourage you to visit the Clampett family’s official website, www.beanyandcecil.com, to find out more about the shows and the creative genius behind them!
 

Hollywood Haunts—Taking Off the Mask

Ned Chris blog mashupHalloween may be over, but did you know you can still experience Hollywood Haunts through November 24? There are so many awesomely spooktacular artifacts to show you, we didn’t want to put them away just yet! In this post, Director of Collections Chris Carron explains why these artifacts aren’t so scary after all. But don’t miss the annotations from Creative Director Ned Shaw—he won’t let Chris get away with revealing the mystery behind Hollywood Haunts!
 
When the Children’s Museum Guild started planning for its fiftieth haunted house, museum staff decided to plan a special exhibit in honor of the anniversary.  But instead of creating more dark environments with characters to startle you, we chose to present a fun and lighthearted peek behind the scenes at some of our favorite spooky movies.(1) Hollywood Haunts is filled with the actual costumes and props that were used on-screen during the filming of famous TV shows and action films. Visitors can learn how movie designers use props to tell stories, and even gain inspiration to design their own silly monsters. 
 
From a safe vantage point on the other side of the glass,(2) we see that the costumes and props are imaginative but make-believe, so we don’t really need to be terrified.(3) Take the mischievous hitchhiking ghosts from the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland. They were shipped to the Museum in a large crate as a loan from a collector in California.(4)
 
The iconic monkey head from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom may seem gory, but it’s really just a plastic prop that is a part of The Children’s Museum’s collection. The bright red brains inside the skull were actually “cooked up” by our Collections Preparator, Nick Schanz!(5) (Believe it or not, Nick details his process in this blog post!)
 
George the Spider from Sammy Terry’s Nightmare Theater TV show and specials hangs from the ceiling on a thin piece of fishing line.(6) (See George in action in this video from his visit to the museum.) The invading aliens from Mars Attacks! are revealed to be puppets,(7) and the moody scenery from The Nightmare Before Christmas was cut with a jigsaw from plywood. 
 
Full-sized reproductions of Alien and Predator might be too menacing for some, so they’re secured behind shades, out of the sight of small children’s eyes.(8) So come see Hollywood Haunts during regular museum hours and learn how the magic is made. Don’t be frightened—be inspired!(9)
 
 
(1)  That is, if you find skulls and mummies fun and lighthearted, like Chris does!
(2)  Sure…the visitors just think they’re safe…
(3)  We don’t need to be terrified…we WANT to be terrified!
(4)  They wanted to hitchhike, but they probably wouldn't have gotten very far. 
(5) I bet that wasn’t in his job description!
(6) And he writes all of his own dialog!
(7) Perhaps…or maybe they are REAL aliens, waiting for us to get our guards down, and then WHAM!
(8) So you know that’s the FIRST place your little daredevils will go!
(9) Okay, and just a leetle bit frightened!
 
 
Addams Family Hollywood Haunts Haunted Mansion ghosts
Mummy Hollywood Haunts Sammy Terry Hollywood Haunts

 

Here Comes the Dino-Mummy!

Leonardo mummified dinosaur Children's MuseumDid you hear our big announcement about Leonardo, the mummified dinosaur? Mookie Harris is here to tell us more about what makes Leonardo SO special. Mookie is the Coordinator of the Dinosphere and Treasures of the Earth galleries; he's loved dinosaurs since he was three years old. 
 
In March, Dinosphere will welcome its newest resident, a fossilized, mummified hadrosaur (Brachylophosaurus, to be specific) named Leonardo. You’ll be able to see his skin, his tendons, his muscles—even what he ate! How did a dinosaur become a dino-mummy? Glad you asked!
 
  1. First, there had to be living dinosaurs. And just like with wild animals today, most dinosaurs’ remains did not fossilize when they died—they simply decayed and were lost forever. Paleontologists estimate that only a tiny percentage of the dinosaurs that ever lived has been or will be found as fossils.
  2. When dinosaurs died, their carcasses were usually exposed to weather, scavengers, insects, bacteria and the like, but sometimes they would be naturally buried in sediment by things like sandstorms, mudslides, high tides or sinkholes and that sediment would harden into rock over time.
  3. If conditions were just right, mineral-heavy water would seep into the rock, and into the hollow spaces in the bones, and the bone materials would be replaced with rock-like minerals.
  4. And, if the chemicals and the moisture level and the pressure and other factors were perfect, over time, the bone would be replaced by a rock-like copy or natural cast called (drum roll, please) a fossil!
  5. NOW, go back to Step 2. Imagine that a dinosaur died on the banks of a shallow river in what is now Montana and that when its body was eventually buried, minerals in the river infiltrated the dinosaur's soft tissues, desiccating and preserving them, resulting in natural mummification. We now have a mummified, fossilized dinosaur! The rarest of the rare!
  6. Cut to modern day. Our fossil is now buried under layer upon layer of deposited sediment that hardened into rock over the ages. But erosion happened as well, and if we’re lucky, our fossil might end up exposed, thanks to wind and water.
  7. And if we’re super lucky, somebody might spot a bit of the exposed fossil jutting out of stratified rock.
  8. And if we’re ridiculously lucky, paleontologists will be able to dig it out without damaging it and get it back to a lab and prepare it for display in a museum.
  9. And if we’re astronomically, stupendously lucky, that museum would be The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.
  10. Well, we are astronomically, stupendously lucky. Leonardo is here! And he'll be on display for you and your family to see beginning March 8, 2014!

 

Leonardo mummified dinosaur Children's Museum

Leonardo sketch