The Tyrannosaurus rex is arguably the most popular and iconic dinosaur in history. The huge predator has been featured in movies, TV series and books and the dinosaur enjoys unrivalled fame compared to other lesser-known dinosaurs. While T. rex fans will be delighted to learn that a new T. rex skeleton will be heading off to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington in April to be part of the famous museum's dinosaur exhibit, a lot of dino-loving hearts will be broken because the museum's dinosaur wing is also scheduled for a lengthy renovation process that will last for around 5 years.
The Smithsonian Institute's highly popular fossil hall will be closed to the public this coming April 28, shortly after the new T. rex skeleton arrives at the museum. The fossil hall will be closed for major renovations, including the building of a huge 31,000 square foot facility that will serve as the museum's new dinosaur hall. The renovations will take some time and museumgoers and dinosaur lovers can expect a grand reopening in the year 2019 if everything goes smoothly.
In spite of the fact that the fossil hall will be closed for 5 years, many dinosaur lovers are excited about the new T. rex skeleton that will be open for viewing in 2019. The new skeleton was found in Montana back in 1988. While people will have to wait a few years for the skeleton to be unveiled, the Smithsonian Institute will serve as the skeleton's new home for a while since it will be on loan for 50 years by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The skeleton is one of the most complete T. rex skeletons ever found and it was discovered by Kathy Wankel in the eastern part of the state of Montana.
The upcoming redesign and renovation of the fossil hall will cost about $48 million. The renovation project was also made possible due to a generous $35 million donation from David H. Koch, a well-known philanthropist. While sections of the museum will be closed during the renovation, many of the dinosaur exhibits will still be viewable to museum guests according to Kirk Johnson, the museum director of the Smithsonian Institute.