The Montshire Museum of Science is an interactive science center in Norwich, Vermont, with more than 150 hands-on exhibits relating to the natural and physical sciences, ecology, and technology. Outdoors, visitors can explore nature trails and exhibits on wind, water, and sound in David Goudy Science Park. Visiting exhibitions, educational programs, and special events are offered throughout the year.
Montshire Goes Wild!
As you stroll through David Goudy Science Park, June 1 to September 7, be on the lookout for a Woolly Mammoth with thick fur, a tiny horse that could bound like an antelope, and a seven-foot tall carnivore that has the head of a giant warthog. Each of the six species on display represented in the Prehistoric Menagerie exhibition evolved during the Cenozoic Age—the “Age of the Mammal,” the last 65 million years since dinosaurs became extinct. During this time, the world’s climate went through several changes from hot to cold, and the continents slowly moved into their current positions after the breakup of the large Pangaea continent into those we know today.
The animals of the last 65 million years reflect this dramatically changing and evolving world. North America was a continent filled with many species of mammoths, camels, rhinos, sloths, lions, horses, giant bears—and people. As the glaciers retreated 12,000 years ago after the last ice age, humans migrated here and made their home in a new land filled with prehistoric beasts.
Artist Bob Shannahan has been making and exhibiting his animals in New England for the past ten years. They are an extension of his landscape work and his work with school gardens. Though primarily self-taught, he has studied at the New Hampshire Art Institute and the Boston Institute of Art.
Shannahan remarks that making an animal starts by choosing its geologic epoch. For instance, the mammoth is an easy choice for the Ice Age. “Once I choose the animal, I conduct my research, collect skeletal measurements, and make a small model out of wire and foil, says Shannahan. “Then I make a full-size drawing on cardboard and begin building the animal. The frame, made of steel rebar and aluminum screen, is used to depict the major muscle groups. It turns out that the autumn vegetation is perfect for the animals’ fur.”
In addition to various forms of vegetation, visitors will notice other natural material used in these incredible life-size sculptures. Come meet these special visitors this summer!