T-rex skeleton to go on display in DC museum

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- Tuesday, the Natural History Museum is receiving a new exhibit which will be the center piece of its new fossil hall. That center piece is a massive Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton that's been on display in Montana.

The new hall will open in 2019. The new hall will be named in recognition of David H. Koch, executive vice president of Koch Industries Inc. He gave $35 million of the exhibition's total projected cost of $48 million, resulting in the largest single gift in the history of the Natural History Museum.

The current hall will be closed on April 28 for renovations.

During renovations the public will be able to see dinosaurs and fossils in three new interim exhibitions and additional exhibitions and programs, according to officials. "The 1,830-square-foot Rex Room, opening April 15, will offer visitors the unique opportunity to see staff members unpack, catalog, photograph and 3-D scan the 66-million-year-old bones of the Nation's T. rex. Visitors will also have the rare chance to see a line-up of skulls from four different species of tyrannosaur specimens loaned by the Bureau of Land Management," according to a museum press release on Tuesday.

Earlier this year, the museum unveiled "Tyrannosaurus rex: Say Hello to the Nation's T. rex!," featuring a cast of the incoming dinosaur's skull in the Constitution Avenue lobby.

According to a press release earlier this year from the museum, "In June 2013, the museum reached a 50-year loan agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to transfer the new T. rex skeleton, formerly on loan to the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, Mont., to the Smithsonian. The rare fossil was found in 1988 by Kathy Wankel, a rancher from Angela, Mont., on federal land near the Fort Peck Reservoir in eastern Montana. The T. rex was excavated in 1989-90 by a team led by paleontologist Jack Horner. The skeleton is one of the most complete T. rex specimens ever discovered, with 80-85 percent of the skeleton recovered."

The T. rex was supposed to arrive in D.C. in October 2013 for the National Park Service's National Fossil Day on the National Mall but the trip was canceled due to the federal government shutdown, say officials.


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