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Out & About: Go the way of the dinosaur with Montshire Museum exhibit

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    A parent/child pair of allosauruses are part of the Montshire Museum of Science's "Summer of Dinosaurs" exhibit which is open through Sept. 26. (Montshire Museum of Science photograph)

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    A parent/child pair of allosauruses are part of the Montshire Museum of Science's "Summer of Dinosaurs" exhibit which is open through Sept. 26. (Montshire Museum of Science photograph) Montshire Museum of Science photograph

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    A model of a titanosaur curled in an egg is part of the Montshire Museum of Science's "Summer of Dinosaurs" exhibit. (Montshire Museum of Science photograph) Montshire Museum of Science photographs

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 5/29/2021 9:49:41 PM
Modified: 5/29/2021 9:49:39 PM

Visitors to the Montshire Museum of Science will now be greeted by new guests: A parent/child pair of allosauruses.

They’re part of the Norwich-based museum’s “Summer of Dinosaurs” exhibit, which was opening Saturday and runs through Sept. 26. It was originally planned for 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic delayed it a year.

“They were known to, some believed, they hunted in packs,” Trish Palao, marketing and communications manager, said during an interview at the museum Thursday.

“And that they raised their young,” continued Katie Kalata Rusch, exhibit developer and project coordinator.

The life-size adult measures 23 feet long, and both are casts of fossils, meaning they are copies of existing fossils but not originals.

“We’re the first venue that’s seen these,” Sherlock Terry, director of exhibits and facilities, said of the traveling exhibit.

The Montshire hosts a dinosaur exhibit roughly every five years, and the last was “A T. rex Named Sue” in 2014. Dinosaur exhibits tend to be among the museum’s most popular.

“That way when you’re the dinosaur age in the Upper Valley you get a chance to see them,” Kalata Rusch said, though she acknowledged that dinosaurs appeal to people of all ages. “Who doesn’t love a dinosaur?”

In addition to the “Amazing Allosauruses,” another part of the exhibit is titled “Tiny Titans: Dinosaur Eggs and Babies.” Tiny Titans has both fossils and models, including ones that show the inner workings of eggs.

“There are quite a few real remnants of eggshells,” Kalata Rusch said. “A lot of the replicas and models they have are to support our understanding of how that baby would be in that egg.”

Illustrations by artist Luis V. Rey show what dinosaurs likely looked like in their prime. There are also comparisons to birds, which are closely related to dinosaurs.

“It’s another way to kind of interact with it,” Kalata Rusch said.

The exhibit also marks a return to normalcy: Last summer, inside activities were closed at the Montshire and staff focused on outdoor exhibits. While the inside of the museum has been open to visitors since October, Summer of Dinosaurs is the first traveling exhibit since the pandemic began.

People must sign up at montshire.org for the morning or afternoon session before visiting, as the museum is at 300 capacity for indoor and outdoor visitors. Visitors can request admission five days in advance and up to the morning of their visit, if spaces remain. From June 1 to Sept. 5, admission is $18 for adults, $15 for children ages 2 to 17 and free for members and children younger than 2. The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Masks are required for all visitors ages 3 and older, regardless of vaccination status. People can call 802-649-2200.

There’s also a new terrace outside with brightly colored tables and chairs, where people can bring their own food to eat. A hand-washing station has been installed, and an outdoor exhibit features pollinator gardens.

Plants also feature in the dinosaur exhibit, with displays about prehistoric plants that lived alongside dinosaurs but are still alive today, including ferns and mosses.

“A lot of this we’re harvesting right from the woods around us,” Kalata Rusch said.

On July 28, the Montshire will host a screening of Jurassic Park at the Fairlee Drive-In, which will serve as a fundraiser for the museum.

“There’s such a broad appeal for dinosaurs,” Palao said.

Liz Sauchelli can be reached at esauchelli@vnews.com or 603-727-3221.




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