The Yale Peabody Museum’s Great Hall and the Mammal Hall close Tuesday, Dec. 31, for a three-year renovation. Some of the big dinosaur fossils in the hall have to be taken apart so they can fit through the doors of the museum on their way out.
“Moving a Brontosaurus is not something that happens very often,” Peabody director David Skelly said. When the fossils were mounted decades ago, little thought was given to how they would be adjusted.
“Faculty from the school of engineering at Yale had to design a bridge for a Brontosaurus. They used I-beams, steel bolts, and rods to hold it on. That all has to be taken apart very carefully,” Skelly said.
The fossils will be reassembled later in line with current scientific thinking. “The tail on the Brontosaurus as it is mounted right now is about 30 feet shorter than we know it would have been, so the animal is going to be longer. The tail will be held up in the air,” said Skelly.
A mural in the Great Hall finished in 1947 called The Age of Reptiles will remain in place after the renovation, although the layout of the room will change, allowing people to walk underneath the neck and tail of the Brontosaurus.
The rest of the museum will close in June as the renovation expands.
The Peabody is expected to reopen in 2023.