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Tag Archives: exhibit

The art and science of diorama making, part 1: Perfectly imperfect

When people come to the Museum and see our dioramas they are usually impressed with the majestic, taxidermied animals in them. But what they really ought to be impressed with are the plants. I find it amazing that the trees in the elk diorama are perpetually in the process of shedding their leaves. Anyone familiar with Manitoba’s forests and prairies, know that the plant species in our dioramas are the same ones that occur in the wild. That’s because, for the most part, they ARE real specimens. Although fake plants are readily available in stores, they are almost all tropical species that don’t occur in Manitoba. Further, mass-produced fake plants…

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Museum’s Charlie Brown Tree Gets “Spruced Up”

This January what I like to call the Museum’s “Charlie Brown Christmas Tree” in the Arctic/Subarctic gallery, got polished up with some new paint and a new background. It’s still lopsided as ever (it did grow in the arctic after all) but now it has some friends in the background. This often missed mini-diorama is about Manitoba’s treeline: the part of the province where trees start to disappear.   The black spruce (Picea mariana) tree in the diorama is known as a “krummholz”, a German word that means “crooked wood”. Krummholz trees grow in environments that are extremely difficult to survive in, including the far north and the tops of…

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Weird Tasks: Moving the Glyptodont

As we have worked our way through the pliosaur exhibit project, we have come up against a series of problems that have required novel solutions. About a month ago we carried out a very strange task, and one that none of us had ever had to do before: we needed to move the glyptodont. Before I explain how we did this, perhaps I had better backtrack a bit, as you probably have some questions at this point: “What is a glyptodont, anyway? Where did the Museum get its glyptodont and why did you need to move it?” Glyptodonts were creatures that lived during the Ice Age, that have been described as “fridge-size armadillos,”…

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Pliosaur Progress: We’ve Been Busy!

As you may know if you look at this page occasionally, for the past couple of years we have been working with a beautiful fossil of a pliosaurid plesiosaur, which was collected by Wayne Buckley from western Manitoba. We are now at the stage of preparing a permanent exhibit of the fossil, which will be installed in the Earth History Gallery this summer. So we have been very busy in the past little while! Much of my own work involves the planning of the exhibit: writing copy for the panels, selecting images and graphics, collaborating with the designer, and working with grants and budgets to ensure that everything is on…

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The Old Plesiosaur and the Sea: The Collectors

In my last blog post, introducing our plesiosaur exhibit,  I promised to follow up with some of the story of how the collectors found, extracted, and prepared the fossils. When I was assembling the exhibit I interviewed Kevin Conlin and Wayne Buckley, since they tell these stories so much better than I ever could. Here are the interviews, which are also on the panels within the exhibit.   Kevin Conlin Kevin Conlin is a ceramic artist in western Manitoba who has worked with various museums, collecting and participating in scientific research. He collects fossils under permits from the Manitoba Historic Resources Branch, and has collected significant specimens now in the collections…

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Sea of Monsters

The Old Plesiosaur and the Sea Exhibit, Open November 14th-April 6th Tomorrow morning we will be opening our new Discovery Room exhibit, The Old Plesiosaur and the Sea. Some Discovery Room exhibits show exciting or previously unseen objects from the Museum’s collections, while others feature collaborations with the community. This exhibit will do both: some of the beautiful specimens have been donated over the past few years by two remarkable fossil collectors, but many of the other specimens are being loaned by those collectors, just for this exhibit. The collectors, Wayne Buckley and Kevin Conlin, spend much of their spare time collecting and preparing fossils from Cretaceous rocks in the Manitoba…

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Isn’t it iconic? Don’t you think?

    What are the Factors that Make an Exhibit “Iconic”? In the last little while we have been working on the plan for a new exhibit in the Museum’s Earth History Gallery, which will be focused on a large specimen that we recently added to the collections. Around here we like to refer to the specimen and the planned exhibit as “iconic.” But what does iconic really mean? And what makes an object or exhibit iconic? It seems to be the case that words that were once relatively obscure can become popular, and have their time in the media spotlight before once again slipping into comfortable obscurity (see my…

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