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Groundbreaking exhibit under review

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Posted: Wednesday, November 29, 2017 12:00 pm

The Bandera Natural History Museum is contemplating a new exhibit that could be a first of its kind – a life-sized model of a giant dinosaur that people can enter by foot to study its bones, organs and other physical components.

Jose “Pepe” Edid, who with his wife Lourdes Garcia, own a company in Mexico called Alquima that produced the life-sized dinosaur models that currently prowl the grounds of the 8-acre museum along with other exhibits, has proposed the idea to museum officials and is eager to get going on the project.

He has a scale model of the Argentinosaurus that he hopes to construct in real size, with a walkway inside of it where its organs, muscles and skeletal makeup will be displayed and a video screen will provide information about how the dinosaur evolved and other facts about its life.

Edid said other museums have dinosaur models where the muscles and bones of the animal can be viewed from the outside and or have the internal organs projected on to the appropriate parts of the body but none allow visitors to walk inside the dinosaur to see where the organs and other internal components were situated.

“It’s the first time you can go inside a dinosaur and see all the internal organs,” said Edid. “We’re very excited, but also a little afraid.”

M.J. Schumacher, the museum’s director of operations, said Juan Infante, a mechanical engineer and big game hunter from Argentina, who has been the driving force behind the museum, is always looking for ways to make the facility better.

The proposed dinosaur would raise the museum’s profile as an educational institution, which is one of the missions it is trying to serve, Schumacher said.

She said the museum and Alquima are in the final stages of negotiation over the project, including its price tag, and museum officials seem confident that a deal will be completed.

“Everyone who has seen the model seems very excited about it,” said Schumacher.

Edid, an industrial designer from Mexico who has loved dinosaurs since he was a youngster, also believes the proposed model will improve people’s understanding of the dinosaur and its tenure on earth.

Based on how well the Bandera museum has exhibited the dinosaurs his firm already has brought to Bandera, Edid is excited to see what kind of benefits the new project brings museum.

The dinosaur is expected to be built lying down so no large ramps will be needed to get people into the interior of the animal.

The Argentinosaurus is considered the heaviest and longest land animal ever, so the model will require a lot of space.

Edid estimated it would be almost 99 feet long, 26.2 feet tall and almost 20 feet wide, large enough to allow about 10 people to examine things inside.

He has about 50 people working at his plant in Mexico but will need more engineers and electrical specialists to complete the air-conditioning system and other internal controls the dinosaur has to have.

Edid expects that unforeseen challenges will arise in the construction of the dinosaur because something new arises in every project his company has undertaken.

Where the dinosaur will be placed on the museum’ grounds and how it will be anchored to its base are among the issues that are still under review.

Getting all of the component parts of the dinosaur from its manufacturing plant to Bandera and putting them together on site is likely to be a challenge, Edid said.  He anticipates construction of the parts will take three months to complete and that transportation and construction of the final model could take close to two months.

Schumacher said she hopes that once a construction deal is signed, the new exhibit could appear in Bandera in the summer of next year.

 

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