If you don’t get to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History for one last look at its impressive collection of dinosaur fossils soon, you won’t be able to for another five years.
The national fossil hall will closed to the public on April 28 in order to begin a complete redesign and renovation, and won’t reopen until 2019.
The centerpiece of the new $48 million fossil hall will be a Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton. It is called one of the most complete specimens ever discovered, with 80 to 85 percent of the skeleton collected, including the skull.
The T. rex, discovered on federal land in Montana in 1988, comes from the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, Montana, where it had been on loan from the Army Corps of Engineers from 1990 to 2011. The Smithsonian will have it under a 50-year loan.
Dinosaurs won’t completely disappear from the museum system: The Smithsonian will continue to present dinosaurs and fossils through several other exhibits.
The T. rex is scheduled to arrive April 15. This week, the Smithsonian opened a display featuring a cast of its skull that is on view in the Constitution Avenue lobby.
The new fossil hall is being funded in part by a $35 million donation from David H. Koch, the largest single gift in the history of the museum.