The Academy of Natural Sciences is not just a museum filled with things from the past. The Drawn to Dinosaurs exhibition, running through June 9th, is one of the many fresh and innovative exhibitions the academy puts together to keep what is ancient, relevant, and exciting.
The Drawn to Dinosaurs exhibition opened with a grand feat performed by Jason Poole, paleontological educator and artist. On Saturday, February 2nd, in front of spectators at the museum, Poole spent six hours making a life sized chalk drawing of the Hadrosaurus Foulkii, a dinosaur species that has been featured in past exhibitions at the academy. The Hadrosaurus skeleton was discovered in Haddonfield, New Jersey in 1858. 10 years later, The Academy of Natural science made history by being the first museum to present a complete dinosaur skeleton to the public.
The chalk drawing will be complemented by a model of the dinosaur casted from its original skeleton. Guests who come to see the exhibition will also have the opportunity to watch the entire drawing being made in a time-lapse video. For those who want to look deeper into the world of dinosaur fossils, the Fossil Prep Lab at the Academy serves as both a laboratory for paleontologists to examine fossils, and as an exhibition for the public to watch.
Paleo illustrators have more of an impact than one might think. As Poole puts it: “Every person knows what a dinosaur looks like, they’ve got at least one image in their head of what a dinosaur looks like. The amazing thing is, those images are all brought to us from paleo illustrators or paleo artists… That’s my job—to translate what these guys were like to people today.”
Dinosaur exhibits have always been a popular focus at the academy, and for good reason: “Everyone loves dinosaurs, not just kids. They appeal to people of all generations,” says Carolyn Belardo, Senior Communications Manager at the Academy. And if their appeal hasn’t worn off by now, it’s likely that it never will.
Nick Sukiennik is a sophomore Chemical Engineering Major at Drexel University.
Images courtesy of The Academy of Natural Science