Steggie Leaves Natural History Museum for "Spring Break"

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After nearly 20 years of being climbed on by children at University Circle, “Steggie” is going on “spring break.”  The iconic Stegosaurus sculpture will return in mid-April… refurbished and with a “tan” of sorts.  

This morning a crane lifted the half ton dinosaur from its perch outside the Natural History Museum to a waiting trailer.  Woody Melton with Wood-Lee Art Handlers says he chose a low flatbed to ensure the 10 foot tall dino and its boney plates don't accidentally hit any branches or wires on its way east to Newbury.  And Melton says, Steggie will have a cushy ride.

"We decided to use foam blocks to absorb shock because again it's fiberglass and it's old," Melton says. "We're treating it like any artifact." 

Steggie's not just getting refurbished, it's also getting a new coat of paint.

"Steggie's going to have a mostly red body and have a pale underbelly," according to Lee Hall, Preparator for the Department of Vertebrae Paleontology at the Natural History Museum.  "And then the plates will also be a brighter eggshell color with red tips on them."

Hall says there's no fossilized evidence that this was the actual color of Stegosaurus, but it's meant to reflect modern scientific thinking that today's birds are descended from dinosaurs.  And he says, dinosaur horns and plates that were once believed to be armor were actually more for communication, like peacock feathers.

"They were growing massive frills and big spikes and it was all, 'Hey look at me.  I'm a Stegosaurus.  Look at my giant plates.'  Or 'I'm Hadrosaur.  Look at my massive crest.'" 

Hall says he hopes the new look will help change popular perceptions of Stegosaurus as a dumb dino with a tiny brain to a socially complex animal.

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