15-foot-tall T. rex among additions in Natural History Museum renovation

WASHINGTON — The largest renovation in the history of the Smithsonian National Museum of History since the museum opened in 1881 is almost complete. Major changes to the Dinosaur Hall have been in the works since 2012.

Kirk Johnson, Sant director of the museum, stood in the new Dinosaur Hall, named Deep Time, next to a crate holding the skeleton of one of its newest additions: a Tyrannosaurus rex.

“This skeleton will be part of a complete skeleton that will be visibly chewing on another skeleton, ’cause that’s what T. rexes do,” said Johnson.

The newly restored dinosaur, named the Nation's T. rex, recently arrived back in the district after being restored in Canada. (WTOP/Melissa Howell)
The newly restored dinosaur, named the Nation’s T. rex, recently arrived back in the district after being restored in Canada. (WTOP/Melissa Howell)

“This skeleton will be part of a complete skeleton that will be visibly chewing on another skeleton, cause that's what T. rexes do," said museum director Kirk Johnson. (WTOP/Melissa Howell)
“This skeleton will be part of a complete skeleton that will be visibly chewing on another skeleton, cause that’s what T. rexes do,” said museum director Kirk Johnson. (WTOP/Melissa Howell)

Major changes to the Dinosaur Hall, which have been in the works since 2012, are part of the largest renovation in the history of the Smithsonian National Museum of History since the museum opened in 1881, and are almost complete. (WTOP/Melissa Howell)
Major changes to the Dinosaur Hall, which have been in the works since 2012, are part of the largest renovation in the history of the Smithsonian National Museum of History since the museum opened in 1881, and are almost complete. (WTOP/Melissa Howell)

From left to right: Kirk Johnson, director of the National Museum of Natural History, and Matthew T. Carrano, curator of Dinosauria, standing in the new Dinosaur Hall, named Deep Time, next to a crate holding the skeleton of one of it’s newest additions, a Tyrannosaurus rex. (WTOP/Melissa Howell)
From left to right: Kirk Johnson, director of the National Museum of Natural History, and Matthew T. Carrano, curator of Dinosauria, standing in the new Dinosaur Hall, named Deep Time, next to a crate holding the skeleton of one of its newest additions, a Tyrannosaurus rex. (WTOP/Melissa Howell)

The T. rex will stand 15 feet tall and 40 feet long, and the museum has almost half of the 450 bones that make up a T. rex. The missing pieces will be recreated. (WTOP/Melissa Howell)
The T. rex will stand 15 feet tall and 40 feet long, and the museum has almost half of the 450 bones that make up a T. rex. The missing pieces will be recreated. (WTOP/Melissa Howell)

"It's good to remember that when an animal dies, sometimes the entire skeleton is preserved, that's quite rare, and sometimes you find just a single bone. One thing that was remarkable about this skeleton was that so many of its bones were found. It's one of the more complete ones ever found,” said Sant Director Kirk Johnson. (WTOP/Melissa Howell)
“It’s good to remember that when an animal dies, sometimes the entire skeleton is preserved — that’s quite rare — and sometimes you find just a single bone. One thing that was remarkable about this skeleton was that so many of its bones were found. It’s one of the more complete ones ever found,” said Sant Director Kirk Johnson. (WTOP/Melissa Howell)

(1/6)
The newly restored dinosaur, named the Nation's T. rex, recently arrived back in the district after being restored in Canada. (WTOP/Melissa Howell)
“This skeleton will be part of a complete skeleton that will be visibly chewing on another skeleton, cause that's what T. rexes do," said museum director Kirk Johnson. (WTOP/Melissa Howell)
Major changes to the Dinosaur Hall, which have been in the works since 2012, are part of the largest renovation in the history of the Smithsonian National Museum of History since the museum opened in 1881, and are almost complete. (WTOP/Melissa Howell)
From left to right: Kirk Johnson, director of the National Museum of Natural History, and Matthew T. Carrano, curator of Dinosauria, standing in the new Dinosaur Hall, named Deep Time, next to a crate holding the skeleton of one of it’s newest additions, a Tyrannosaurus rex. (WTOP/Melissa Howell)
The T. rex will stand 15 feet tall and 40 feet long, and the museum has almost half of the 450 bones that make up a T. rex. The missing pieces will be recreated. (WTOP/Melissa Howell)
"It's good to remember that when an animal dies, sometimes the entire skeleton is preserved, that's quite rare, and sometimes you find just a single bone. One thing that was remarkable about this skeleton was that so many of its bones were found. It's one of the more complete ones ever found,” said Sant Director Kirk Johnson. (WTOP/Melissa Howell)

The newly restored dinosaur, named the Nation’s T. rex, recently arrived back in the District after being restored in Canada. The T. rex will stand 15 feet tall and 40 feet long. Johnson said they have almost half of the 450 bones that make up a T. rex. The missing pieces will be recreated.

“It’s good to remember that when an animal dies, sometimes the entire skeleton is preserved — that’s quite rare — and sometimes you find just a single bone. One thing that was remarkable about this skeleton was that so many of its bones were found. It’s one of the more complete ones ever found,” said Johnson.

With new educational components and many new exhibits, Johnson says the $125 million renovation will transform how the museum’s 6 million visitors view the world.

“We are actually sitting in the world’s largest and most visited informal science venue, so that’s why what we say here is so important,” said Johnson.

The new exhibit will open to the public on June 8, 2019.

Melissa Howell

Melissa Howell joined WTOP Radio in March 2018 and is excited to cover stories that matter across D.C., as well as in Maryland and Virginia. 

Like WTOP on Facebook and follow @WTOP on Twitter to engage in conversation about this article and others.

Get breaking news and daily headlines delivered to your email inbox by signing up here.

© 2021 WTOP. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up