Tuesday, September 11, 2012

There's a hole in the wall!

We got the go-ahead to proceed with taking out the old windows and part of the exterior wall in what is now the Traveling Exhibit space:

Hole in exterior wall of new Traveling Exhibit space.

This hole will be filled with a door and windows that will allow us to access the area behind Doc Knight's copper T. rex statue, which will be turned into a "T. rex Patio" space! For now it will be "bare bones" (so to speak) patio, with just pavers on gravel, but we hope to do an all-out landscaping project involving the patio area, the front of the Geological Survey building next door, and the area in front of the museum in the next few years as funds are raised. We've been working with a landscape designer who has drawn up plans for a very cool outside space with exhibits on the ancient rocks of Wyoming and geologic time, as well as an informal outside "classroom" area where we can work with schoolkids and other visitors on special projects and programs.

Other things going on:

The floor in the main exhibit space has been finished! The asbestos tiles were removed back in May, and now the old mastic was ground off and the concrete was polished and densified. So, we now have a gorgeous polished concrete floor that will never need waxing or finishing of any kind!  It's very nice:
New polished concrete floor (green center is artifact of camera)

This will be the floor surface around the center island, and also in the prep lab. The Traveling Exhibit space, the entire upstairs balcony, and each of the alcove spaces will have carpet squares:

New carpet for the alcoves, upstairs, and Traveling Exhibit

And, the electrical panels are being put in!

Voltech Electric putting in the new panels!

These are brand-new panels that will control all the electrical thingies in the whole museum. The lighting will be controlled by a separate panel, and we will no longer turn the lights off and on by flipping the breaker switches like we used to!

So, check back soon as things are starting to happen fast and furious around here!!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Alrighty, things are slowly moving forward!!

In the main exhibit space, the Boxosaurus is coming down so that the concrete floor it is attached to can be densified and polished. (Sorry about the grainy picture, but the light is very low in the space since there are no actual lights yet...we just have construction lights hanging off the balcony.)

We've gotten so used to having a giant box in the middle of the museum, it's gonna be s shock to see a giant dinosaur or two there instead...

The Stegosaurus cast has been moved downstairs and now hangs on the new wall at the north end. The entrance to the glowing rocks room is now on the right side of the stego.

We've gotten the new fossil prep lab walls and ceiling painted:

And the new Traveling Exhibit space is painted also:

More pictures soon!

Monday, August 6, 2012

August 6, 2012

Things are progressing again in the museum renovations! We've got electricians and plumbers and painters, oh my!

The electrical stuff is getting done, but there's not much to see as it's mostly in the walls and ceiling. Painting started this afternoon, and I'll post photos once that is done. They will be starting with the ceiling and then moving on to all the walls upstairs and down. Once the ceiling is painted, Marshall Contracting will start taking down the Boxosaurus so that the floor it is attached to can get done.

The walls in the back room are getting drywalled and will be ready for painting later today:

New wall separating newTraveling Exhibit space from prep lab, with 
office in the background.

They've also built the new wall that extends out from the end of the fluorescent minerals room, and closed off the minerals room, too. The future entrance to the glowing rocks room will be on the far right. The stegosaurus cast from upstairs will go on this wall, once the electrical box is moved to the back room!

Closing off the glowing rocks door

We'll have more new pics once the painting is done in a couple of days!!

Monday, July 9, 2012

July 9, 2012

Well, things are progressing in the museum slowly as we wait for the bidding process to be done and the electrical, plumbing, etc. subcontractors to come on board. We have been working on more ideas for the exhibits, and trying to plan for the flurry of activity that will come once the upstairs is done and we can move the exhibits that are stored in a classroom back into the museum in time for classes to start!

The new wall in the back room is in the process of being framed in to separate the future prep lab from the future traveling exhibit space:

Front of viewable prep lab, with windows and door in the middle.

View from inside future prep lab.

The large boxes you see are covering open jackets of dinosaur bones that are partially finished and were just to fragile and too big to move out of the back room. So, our thoughtful construction folks made mini-boxosauruses to protect these specimens during construction! 

The future Cretaceous exhibit space is coming together, wall studs across the back where a large mural
will be placed:

I will have more updates soon!!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

June 13, 2012

Well, things are slowing down in the renovations. The demolition part of things is pretty much done, and the lights are down in the main exhibit space:

The fiberglass models of T. rex and Allosaurus have now gone to a new home at the Tate Museum in Casper, since we just won't have room for them in the new museum design. So, J-P Cavigelli from the Tate came down with a student and picked up the models to take them to their new home.

They fit just fine in the Tate's Suburban, which was a little disappointing because we didn't get to strap them to the roof and drive down the highway...

One exciting thing that's been finished is the floor in what will soon be our new prep lab. 

The floor used to be covered with the old asbestos tiles. Once those were removed, the mastic was ground off and the original cement floor was exposed. Then the concrete was densified, creating a glossy surface that is very durable and won't need any polishing. Very cool!!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Friday, June 1, 2012 (again)

Holy moly, look what happened this morning!!

This is the spot where the "What is a fossil" exhibit used to live, and it is now going to be the entrance into the traveling exhibit space. A wall will be built at the edge of the new hole to separate the traveling exhibit space from the new prep lab.


Friday, June 1, 2012

Lots to report this week!

The asbestos abatement of the back room floor tiles started on Tuesday afternoon, and was done by Thursday afternoon:

The next step in this room is to grind the floor down to the concrete and seal it. Then we will move the things that will stay in the new prep lab back in there before the wall is built to separate the future prep lab and traveling exhibit spaces. 

Back in the main exhibit space:

In preparation for being completely removed and re-built to code, the railing on the staircase on the south end of the museum was taken off: 

and then the rest of the staircase was un-bolted and came apart fairly easily:

Cases are being removed to make several of the alcoves bigger:

The process of breaking through the cement-block wall to create the new opening between the main exhibit space and the future traveling exhibit area has started:

And the wall on the end of the fluorescent minerals room has also been partially removed:

This area will be part of a future mineral exhibit that looks like a mine, and the fluorescent minerals room will be entered from the side rather than from the front.

It's pretty dusty in there, but the demolition will be done soon and the process of re-building can start!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Friday, May 25, 2012

Well, we did it - the back room is completely cleared out and ready for the asbestos tiles to be removed on Tuesday.
Back room of the museum. The wall between the two offices the wall 
between the offices and the main room have been removed

Because the space near the windows that was the offices had already had the tiles removed in past years, we were able to put some of the larger and more delicate things (like open jackets of dinosaur bones) there rather than move them into the exhibit space. That area will be isolated with plastic during the abatement. 

This space will be split in half by a wall, with the half towards the windows being converted to a small exhibit hall for traveling exhibits. The back half will become a viewable fossil preparation lab!

And, demolition started in the main exhibit space! The south staircase is going to be completely rebuilt to comply with modern building codes, so of course the old staircase was to be removed first:

South staircase, starting demolition

They also started taking out the upper parts of what will become an exhibit on the ecosystems of the Cretaceous. A floor-to-ceiling mural of Wyoming during the Cretaceous Period is planned for the back wall of this space, so the upper wood veneer is being removed. 

Future Cretaceous exhibit

That's it until Tuesday! The last part of asbestos abatement should be completed by Wednesday afternoon, and then we can get started on finishing the floor in the back room and then building the dividing wall! We will also start the detailed part of planning some of the exhibits which is very exciting!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Asbestos abatement in the main exhibit space is underway!!

Hallway entrance to museum with asbestos containment tent in place

In the meantime, we are working to get everything cleared out of the back room and offices so that abatement can happen there next Tuesday! 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

And asbestos abatement is done in the main exhibit space!

Main exhibit space after removal of floor tiles

Now to finish up clearing out the back room for removal of those tiles on Tuesday, and the start of actual construction in the exhibit space!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Updates on the renovations happening at the 

UW Geological Museum 

in Laramie!

Welcome to our blog on the summer of renovations!!

We are very excited to begin the work of updating our museum!  For more info on the renovations and how we got here, you can follow this link.

We are working with UW Facilities Planning, UW Physical Plant, Malone Belton Abel, P.C. (Architects and Engineers), Chase Studio (exhibit design), and Marshall Contracting of Laramie on this project.

I'm Kelli Trujillo, the manager of the museum, and I'll be your guide over the summer for our tour through the renovations!

On Friday, May 4, 2012, we began the work to get the museum ready for the upcoming renovations. 

First, we removed the end of the tail of the Apatosaurus as it would have been in the way of much of the work and could have been damaged. Anthony Maltese of Triebold Paleontology, Inc., the company that re-mounted the specimen in 2008, came up from Woodland Park, CO and we worked with him to make sure this was done as safely as possible for the specimen.

Anthony Maltese looks at the apatosaur tail to figure out the 
best way to remove it.

Next, since we had the scissor lift right there we took down the cast of the pterosaur as the current lights are going to be removed and the ceiling fixed up. Bill Turner of Marshall Contracting had the honor of hugging the pterosaur on his shoulder to safely lower the cast.

Bill Turner and Anthony Maltese take down the pterosaur

Then, after looking at how much the cast of Big Al would move when just barely touched, we decided to remove his skull and part of his tail in order to make him more stable during the construction. 

Bill Turner and Anthony Maltese remove Big Al's skull

The skull came off very easily, and it was placed at Big Al's feet where it will be very safe.

Anthony Maltese and a headless Big Al

The tail also came apart relatively easily.

Anthony Maltese removes part of Big Al's tail

Now Big Al should be stable enough to be safe through the demolition of a staircase and a nearby wall!

That was enough dino trauma for one day, poor things!

On Monday, May 7, we worked on getting the skull removed from the mosasaur so that it wouldn't be endangered during the removal of the railing around the center island and the cutting of that corner of the island to match the other three corners. 

I was able to easily slide the skull off of its metal support:

And then removed the jaws. Both the skull and the jaws were taken to the Collection of Fossil Vertebrates in the Earth Sciences Building where they are now safely stored.

With the help of several students from the Program in Ecology, we moved the cast skulls of the T. rex and the Triceratops to the Berry Center for Biodiversity Conservation, where they will spend the summer:  

Grace Carter and Mikey Tabak pose with their summer buddy Triceratops

T. rex at the Berry Center. Grad students taste good?
Wednesday, May 9th was the start of the first phase of asbestos abatement. Most of the floor tiles in the museum are asbestos and so will be removed. For this first phase, though, we just had them remove the tiles around the center island so that we could build a gigantic box to protect the specimens on the center island during construction, and also to be able to reach the ceiling over the Apatosaurus to remove the old lights and fix up the ceiling tiles. It all went very well, and we were able to get back into the museum on Thursday afternoon:

Asbestos tiles removed around center island

Friday, May 11 - time to start building the box!

And time to start removing every single thing in the museum that sits on the asbestos tiles. Yes, seriously. Not just free-standing exhibits and signs, but the exhibits in the glass cases, too. Each built-in exhibit case has an insert, and most of these inserts sat on asbestos tiles within the cases. So, each insert was removed from its case, all fossils and casts were taken either to collections (real fossils) or a safe storage room (casts), and most of the cases were moved into the classroom upstairs next to the museum balcony. Also, all of the cases upstairs that house the invertebrate fossils were also moved into the classroom so that all the asbestos tiles upstairs can be removed.

So, over the course of the next week, the box went up:

Once the framework for the box was up, plastic sheeting went on over the frame:

And then sheets of OSB board went over the plastic sheeting on all sides.

A cantilevered box was built around the head and first few neck vertebrae of the Apatosaurus:

And the final finished box!

Inside the box:

As the box was going up, the exhibit case inserts were removed and the case doors were removed. These, along with the upstairs invertebrate cases and most of the casts on display were shuffled temporarily into an upstairs classroom in the Geology Bldg. near the museum.

And, finally, the entire museum is ready for removal of the asbestos tiles! 

 Upstairs, the Anchiceratops specimen, the Stegosaurus cast, and the three murals were covered with plastic for protection.

The west side of the balcony, ready.

Doc Knight's Ice Age mural, protected for the tile removal.

Upstairs cases, inserts and doors in storage and ready for tile removal.

Downstairs east side from north end

T. rex stays for the moment...

Downstairs west side from south end. 

So, now for the removal of the asbestos floor tiles in the main exhibit space. This will start Monday, May 21, and we expect to be back in the museum at the end of the week!!