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Museum's Jurassic exhibits protected for roof project
Buy this photo » Staff at the Museum of Natural History work to cover up the seven-metre high skeleton cast of an Iguanodon. Pictures: OX56642 Damian Halliwell
PACKING a seven-metre high dinosaur and 19th century elephant skeletons into boxes is not an every day task.
But it was a challenge faced by staff at the Museum of Natural History ahead of the next phase of a £2.1m project to restore its 150-year-old leaky roof.
A team of museum staff this week spent three hours wrapping an Iguanodon skeleton cast and two days wrapping two elephant skeletons that are too big to move during the work and need protecting.
The specimens were carefully wrapped in foam wrap, covered in polythene sheets and boxed.
Bethany Palumbo, conservator of life science at the museum, said between two and six museum staff members had been helping with the packing at a time.
She said: “It is only challenging co-ordinating people, but we have a really good team of volunteers.”
The team used a cherry picker to wrap up the Iguanodon, a cast which was taken from a specimen – between 125 and 126 million years old – found in 1878 in a coal mine at Bernissart, Belgium.
Ms Palumbo said: “It has all gone very well, right now we are ahead of schedule.”
The majority of exhibits from 12 cases have been moved into storage.
The tyrannosaurus rex in the museum hall was not boxed up because it is made of fibreglass that should not be damaged by water.
The first phase of the project began last year and involved the stripping and cleaning of 3,500 of the 8,500 diamond-shaped glass panes before they were put back into the vaulted roof.
Next month scaffolding will be constructed so that a waterproof deck can be installed as further protection between the roof and the museum floor.
The museum is scheduled to reopen early next year.
- The cast of a skeleton of a seven-metre Iguanodon believed to be between 125 and 126 million years old, given to the museum in 1897.
- Two 19th century Indian elephant skeletons – one about 2.5m high and the other about 1m.
- The majority of 12 cabinets in the affected area under the museum’s glass roof have been emptied.
- There are 8,500 diamond-shaped glass panes in the roof. 3,500 have been stripped, cleaned and replaced so far.