Monday, June 23, 2008

Mesalands Dinosaur Museum-Zowie!!

Just a note before I start this. There are thirty seven pictures in this blog entry. Believe me, I cut them down as much as I could, and many of them are not as clear or sharp as I would like (I did NOT have my tripod). That said, this museum had so much to offer, I wanted to share it with my readers. As always remember that you can click on any photo for a larger version.

As I mentioned in a previous entry, we recently spent a day in Tucumcari, New Mexico. While there, we had a wonderful time and have definite plans to return, since there was so much to see.

But the highlight of the day was certainly the Mesalands Dinosaur Museum, WOW!

I won't add comments to every one of these pictures, as I think they pretty much speak for themselves.

I really liked the entrance.

This museum is exceptional, in that in addition to showing fossils, it's also an art museum. There are paintings

And bas reliefs

And resin casts, some from fossils and some original art.

But the real draw here are the bronzes. This museum is associated with Mesalands Community College, which not only specializes in geology and paleontology, but also has its' own foundry.

This rare combination of studies and facilities allows them to exhibit their finds in bronze. While on paper this sounds a bit odd, the results are stunning.

They have included this display case that details the entire casting process.

The displays include skulls cast in bronze,

And whole dinosaurs,

This bronze skeleton is at least eight feet long

And here's a forefather of the modern bison.

I thought it was great that they let you look right into their labs. They also have a buzzer, just like at the meat counter, where you can talk to the folks in the lab.

They're quite happy to answer any questions you might have.

I've never seen anything like this one and I neglected to get its' name.

The next few pictures are of a huge diorama. While the dinosaurs are bronze, in this case, they made the choice to colorize them so they blend in better with the diorama.

And here are some close ups of the diorama

For some reason, this picture came out looking like a painting. Guess I went a little heavy on the Photoshop!

Another bronze skeleton

Here's a cast of a footprint, which Terry stumbled into!

When these little ones saw him, they couldn't wait to jump in.

I took their picture and promised their Dad I'd post it here.

This is a bronze casting of a leg bone. I surely wouldn't want to meet this total beast!

These are vertebrae! They come from a Seismosaurus, better known as an Earth Shaker! If these are the vertebrae, can you imagine the whole thing? They were some one hundred and ten feet long.

I loved this skull casting, kind of looks like it's smiling!

And here's my favorite. This is a full size Torvosaurus skeleton, rendered in bronze. This baby stands some forty feet long

And these guys were fast! Thought to be closely related to the Tyrannosaurus Rex, it's believed that they chased down their prey

Can you imagine two tons of this fellow chasing you down?

One more shot of the Torvosaurus.

A full sized replica of a Triceratops head, rendered in bronze.

And here's a Tyrannosaurus Rex skull, also in bronze.

I loved this piece. In a former life, we collected figures cast and sculpted in various materials. I have so much appreciation for the talent and skill that it takes to master this art form, this Museum was such a treat.

It also seemed that whoever curates this Museum has such an eye for art and display.

Isn't this skeleton of a raptor displayed next to a painting of the same a wonderful display?

If you enlarge this, you can see some of the detail that is put into this work.

Here they have a display of two sabre tooth tigers in a duel. This one is up on the ceiling.

And this one is on the floor. This whole display is probably thirty feet long, rendered in full scale.

Is this one amazing place or what?

I really can't say enough good things about the Mesalands Dinosaur Museum. We have hopes of going again and taking the tripod so we can get better shots.

Also, if I can get to a spot with high speed internet, I'll be posting a Quicktime Movie of these shots, so keep an eye out for this. If you have a love of sculpting, dinosaurs or bronzes, don't miss the chance to visit this museum. It's worth going out of your way to visit.

And while this last picture has nothing to do with the Dinosaur Museum or even Tucumcari, it's what we saw when we were on our way back to the rig. It was at a gas station where the local kids are trying to fund raise for a trip to Walt Disney World.

I just thought the Mickey was hilarious. We gave them some money any way because we know they'll have a great trip. Maybe if they get to go to WDW, they can see what Mickey really looks like!

Boy is our life good.

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