If you’ve ever wanted to touch a T. rex at a museum without getting kicked out, now’s your chance. Jacksonville’s Museum of Science and History is bringing dinosaurs to life in its new exhibit, “Dinosaurs in Motion.”
Fourteen metal dinosaur skeletons inhabit three floors of the museum. They all feature either levers, pulleys, or remote controls that allow users to control them.
The life-size dinosaur sculptures are the work of North Carolina sculptor John Payne, and will be on display from May 27 to Sept. 10. All of the skeletons in the collection are made from recycled metals and textured to resemble actual fossils.
MOSH curator Paul Bourcier said Payne was inspired by the dinosaurs he saw at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago and wanted to make them come to life.
“What (Payne) was thinking at the time is using the concepts of art to inspire people to learn more about science,” Bourcier said. “So, throughout the exhibition you’re going to learn not only about the art of putting these things together but also various principles concerning science, technology, engineering and math.”
Visitors will learn about the anatomical movements of dinosaurs, the evolution of dinosaurs to birds, and the various principles of science and history associated with dinosaurs. While the dinosaurs are all actual size, Bourcier said the birds are larger than normal to better display the intricacies of their body movements.
The exhibition is divided into four parts and is designed to appear as if attendees are walking through Payne’s studio as his apprentice, Bourcier said. There are beginner, intermediate, advanced and masters studios, which are progressively more complex as visitors navigate the exhibit.
There have been a lot of dinosaur exhibits in Jacksonville, but Bourcier said they haven’t seen anything quite like this.
“You yourself as the visitor can determine what the dinosaurs here do, and it’s that highly interactive experience that’s gonna make people really want to come and see it.”
Tiffany Salameh can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @tiffanysalameh