Montshire Profile

May 2014, A T. rex Named Sue

What is special about A T. rex Named Sue exhibition?
This exhibition presents an exciting opportunity to come face to face with Sue, the largest, most complete Tyrannosaurus fossil ever discovered.

Sue is also the best-preserved T. rex fossil. The discovery and study of her skeleton has given the scientists at the Field Museum in Chicago  the “big picture” on one of the last great dinosaur species.

How long will it take to assemble the exhibition?
It took the scientists and technicians at the Field Museum in Chicago over two years to prepare and assemble the original fossil skeleton. Fortunately, it won’t take that long at the Montshire. Most of the individual elements of the fossil cast are pre-assembled on an armature (which holds it all together), but those pieces are quite large and quite heavy. It will take about 3 days to fully assemble the fossil cast on the first floor of the museum (from the trucks pulling up to the loading dock, to fully-assembled dino), and then there will be another two days of assembling the other exhibit elements and doing the final adjusting and lighting for the fossil cast. That's why the Museum will be closed May 12–14.

What will I see in the exhibition?
Meet the Tyrant Lizard King and witness her extraordinarily powerful jaws and massive serrated steak-knife teeth. Approach her slowly: her pose suggests that you may have just interrupted her meal.

A variety of multi-media and interactive elements make Sue’s life come alive.
Special elements include:

  • A T. rex interactive that allows visitors to speculate about the color of Sue’s skin
  • Touchable casts of Sue’s bones and teeth
  • An interactive activity that lets visitors diagnose a pathology in Sue’s jawbone
  • Visitor-controlled mechanical models and interactive pods that encourage visitors to explore in-depth topics related to Sue, T. rex, and dinosaur science

When was the last time Sue was in northern New England?
Never. This is the first time Sue has been to northern New England.

Why is Sue such a phenomenon?

  • A T. rex skeleton is made up of more than 250 bones. Sue was found with most of those bones. She’s missing only a foot, one arm, and a few ribs and vertebrae.
  • Sue weighed 7 tons when alive.  
  • The fossils of her bones weigh more than 3,000 pounds, and her skeleton measures 42 feet long and 12 feet high at the hips.
  • Her skull is 5 feet long and contains 58 teeth, which range in length from 7 1/2 to 12 inches.
  • The size of her brain cavity is just big enough to hold a quart of milk.
  • Only two complete T. rex forelimbs have ever been found—and Sue’s is one of them!
  • Sue’s legs are enormous, but her arms are the size of a human’s—so short they couldn’t even reach her mouth. No one knows how T. rex used those tiny forelimbs.
  • Sue’s razor-sharp teeth were continually shed and re-grown during her lifetime.

When was Sue discovered?
Sue was discovered on August 12, 1990, by fossil hunter Sue Hendrickson on the Maurice Williams Ranch near Faith, South Dakota. It took six fossil hunters 17 days to get Sue out of the ground; it took ten preparators two years to clean and repair her bones.

When will Sue be at the Montshire?
A T. rex Named Sue exhibition will be at the Montshire May 17 through September 7, 2014

How was the Montshire able to get this exhibition?
This exhibit was created by The Field Museum, Chicago, USA, and made possible through the generosity of McDonald’s Corporation. Local sponsorship is provided by Geokon, as well as Lake Sunapee Bank, and King Arthur Flour. Media sponsorship is provided by WCAX and NHPR.


Montshire Museum of Science Engage the Senses