Home Editor's Picks Free the dinosaur at Arizona Museum of Natural History in downtown Mesa

Free the dinosaur at Arizona Museum of Natural History in downtown Mesa

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A quarter scale version model of the project is in the museum’s lobby. (Submitted rendering)

The Arizona Museum of Natural History in downtown Mesa is creating an iconic sculpture of a life-sized dinosaur bursting forth to freedom outside the upper levels of the museum. The museum has raised two-thirds of the money needed to fulfill the vision and has initiated a fundraising campaign with funny social media videos.

“We are very excited about this project. This came about as a project to attract an audience to downtown Mesa and to our amazing Arizona Museum of Natural History,” said Alison Stoltman, curator of education at the museum. “Too often I hear people exclaim that they didn’t know we had a natural history museum in the Valley and this impressive structure will go a long way to remediate that.”

She explained that the prototype is the brain child of Dr. Tom Wilson, director of the Arizona Museum of Natural History.

“The dinosaur façade will project quite far out making it an impressive scene and we believe that it will become an iconic symbol of Mesa being one of a few such facades in the world,” Stoltman said, adding that “the original sculpture was created by a very dear volunteer of ours, Ed Mack, who was in his 90’s and passed away before completion. Ed volunteered his artistic talent for many years at the museum and the façade will be dedicated to him. The finished project with be four times the size.”

Stoltman said fundraising is going well between public and private donations and that they “have a PR campaign strategy that spans from serious presentations to goofy fun social media clips that have really taken on a life of their own. The theme being a dinosaur escaping the museum.

“It has become a really great way to bring the city together in a fun way that hasn’t happened before,” she continued. “Now we have local businesses getting involved. Funding is going well, and the sculpture is already in the process of being manufactured by dimensional innovations of Kansas City.”

Stoltman added: “The dinosaur may look a lot like a T. Rex, but she is actually an Acrocanthosaurus, who lived a lot early in time and was the apex predator of western North America 100 to 120 million years ago. It weighed well over six tons and stood 38 feet, nose to tail. The façade will be life size.”

For more information, visit: http://arizonamuseumofnaturalhistory.org/get-involved/donate.

– Kelly Mixer is managing editor of MyNewsMesa.com. Reach her at kmixer@mynewsmesa.com.

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