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Yale Peabody Museum
 

Foundations of America

QU201 Prof. Scott Leone

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Yale Peabody Museum

The Yale Peabody Museum is located on 170 Whitney Avenue in New Haven, Connecticut. Yale Peabody Museum.kmz The museum has much history to its name because it is known as one of the oldest natural history museums in the entire world. In the year 1866, a man by the name of George Peabody founded this museum because his nephew, Othniel Charles Marsh, had asked him to. Money is always necessary in order to start up a business or project, and George Peabody had a lot of it. George Peabody was so wealthy that he was able to pay off his nephew Othniel’s education at Yale University, as well as contribute $150,000 to the museum he was starting up as a gift for future collections and artifacts for the museum’s exhibits. Unfortunately, three years after opening the Yale Peabody Museum, George Peabody passed away due to old age. At the time of his death, the museum’s only artifacts or main attractions consisted of minerals collected by Benjamin Silliman, a geologist. Now that George passed away, who was going to take over total control of the museum? 













Othniel Marsh had a lot going for him at a young age, and majority of it was because of his uncle George. Othniel followed in his uncle’s footsteps and was with him throughout the beginning of the museum’s making; he was very involved. Aside from being one of the first people involved with the museum, Othniel was also a professor at the University of Yale. So after George Peabody passed away, his nephew took control of the museum. In the year 1891, a man named John Hatcher, who was working with the museum, founded two skulls which Othniel Marsh later named as being a Torosaurus. The Torosaurus is now one of the main attractions at the Yale Peabody Museum, and is placed on top of a block of stony creek granite outside of the museum.

The Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History has various roles within its community. Its main role is being a public tourist attraction. People come from all around to see the exhibits posted up inside the museum. The exhibits are Life in Ancient Egypt, Birds of Connecticut, the Hall of Reptiles, Hall of Mammal Evolution, Hall of Native American Culture, minerals, Hall of Human Origin, dioramas of the North and South, and the Torosaurus. Since 2005, the Torosaurus has been one the best attractions for the public.

The Torosaurus statue had its opening day on October 22, 2005. It is made out of bronze and stands 9 feet tall, 21 feet long, and weighs 7,350 lbs. During its opening day, the museum held multiple family events in its honor awaiting the unveil lance of the statue. Michael Anderson sculpted the Torosaurus after the idea was brought up to him by Richard Burger, a previous director of the museum, and curator Jacques Gauthier in 1999. They believed creating an iconic statue for the front lawn would be a great idea for the public. Michael Anderson had been working with the museum since 1988 and knew the Torosaurus was one of the original dinosaurs that Othniel Marsh had agreed on about having something to do with the museum’s exhibits. As previously stated, O.C. Marsh already had two skulls of the dinosaur from John Hatcher. The skeletons marked back to the Cretaceous Period which was estimated to be 65 million years ago.

            The process of sculpting the Torosaurus was now beginning. This specific dinosaur was chosen because of how peculiar it was and Anderson felt as if no one in the public would know exactly know what it was, but could relate it to other dinosaurs of its kind. In order to create a replica of this dinosaur, Anderson needed to find skeletons from related dinosaurs or present-day animals that he felt would fit well. Two models of the dinosaur were being created so that the first one would help create a first look and then a much better view was available for the second model. The building process took many years because of all the estimating that was needed without having the exact bones of the dinosaur. The larger model was three times the size of the original model.

            A group of men from Lancaster, Pennsylvania were the ones who created the larger model of the Torosaurus. The way they worked was similar to how the Egyptians sculpted their monuments or statues with clay. After the clay was established, skin patterns from various dinosaurs were placed on top of the clay to try and create a pattern for the Torosaurus. Finally, the statue was bronzed from rubber mold in New York at Polich Work Arts. The mold weighed in at 2,000 lbs. and was broken up into 54 pieces. The mold was dipped into ceramic mixture, with 4,000 lbs. of plaster put on right before. 2,000ºF of molten bronze was poured onto it, and then coated afterwards to finalize it.

            After the sculpture of the Torosaurus was finally finished, its base needed to be created so it could actually be placed outside on the front lawn for the public; this was why Darrell Petit was then called in to the museum. Darrell Petit is a very well known sculpture and is known for his business involving stony creek granite, which is obtained from the stony creek quarries in Connecticut. Darrell Petit went through an incident in ice hockey which resulted in him losing his linguistic memory. Obviously that’s a life obstacle, but he started taking that into consideration with his sculptures by finding new words and experiences through each sculpture he made. Darrell Petit has been traveling across many quarries to figure out more and more about the material and procedure involved with stony creek granite. This helps him relate to the environment in which he wants to create his sculpture in. Petit’s ability has allowed him to create so many important and famous sculptures in his time; one of them including the base for the Torosaurus outside the Yale Peabody Museum. The base for this statue was made from 70 tons of pink granite that was mined from the quarries in Branford, Connecticut. This was the same granite that was used for the Statue of Liberty back in 1886. The stone, which lies below the Torosaurus, is surrounded by plants that were around during the time period of this dinosaur.

             The Torosaurus Project was funded by Elizabeth and Stanford Phelps and their grandchildren Garret, Ford and Max.

The Yale Peabody Museum is located in the city of New Haven. The building is three stories large and contains exhibits varying from minerals to dinosaurs to American culture. The following link shows the floor plan of the museum and where each exhibit is in relation to each other. ( http://peabody.yale.edu/exhibits/floor-plans ) There is not a massive amount of stony creek granite at the Yale Peabody Museum, but where there is some, it’s importance is significant in helping become well known to people from all around the world. 











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Last Updated on Tuesday, 08 November 2011 19:09  

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Flesh and Stone

Flesh and Stone - Stony Creek and the Age of Granite - buy at Amazon.com
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Uncirculated: Shrink wrapped in clear plastic from original Italian publisher, 1999. Ships with fresh samples of sparkling Stony Creek pink granite for historians, collectors, geologists and classrooms. Additional samples available upon request.