One of the Museum's most well-loved specimens has been re-located to create space for the new Darwin the Geologist exhibition.
The conservation team at the Sedgwick Museum of Earth Science have finished moving the giant deer skeleton from its place at the end of the Museum to a new location on top of table case in nearby bay 4. This will free up space for the forthcoming Hertitage Lottery Fund(HLF) funded Darwin the Geologist exhibition set to open in the area to the far left of the Museum's entrance in 2009.
One of the Sedgwick Museum's most famous skeletal incumbents, the 'Irish Elk' (in-fact a kind of extinct giant deer) used to face the entrance and Iguanodon skeleton. On February 5th, Museum conservators removed the head of the looming, two-metre-tall deer skeleton beginning a careful period of deconstruction in which most of the skeleton was dismantled and removed from its previous base.
Darwin project conservator, Esther Sharp is pleased that the move has been less difficult than expected. "In general terms the biggest problem was getting the head from its high plinth, down to people on the ground. Because of the massive antlers (spanning nearly three metres) the skull has a really weird centre of gravity and you can only hold it at certain places without the danger of it breaking."
The deer's new base was constructed by the Department of Earth Sciences workshop and the skeleton carefully reassembled in its new location where it now awaits some final conservation before the project is complete.
The enormous endeavour has been supported by a keen crew of Department of Earth Sciences and Sedgwick Museum staff. In its striking new position, the giant deer rests opposite the Barrington Hippo, a metre above the ground on top of a table cabinet.
The new location will give visitors an opportunity to see an iconic part of the Museum collection from a different perspective.