Earlier this week I mentioned in my Twitter feed that I’ve been working 20-hour days. In fact, last night was the first time in almost 2 weeks I’ve gotten to bed before 3:00 am. The reason was that we were trying to complete a new exhibit, “Rocks to Racing”. There’s always a rush for the exhibits department to complete everything before an opening, but this one was hard on me because I was building several display models. The really tough one was a life-size model of the Ordovician nautiloid Cameroceras, which I only completed a few hours before the opening reception. The photo above doesn’t really do justice to its size…
The model is just over 3 meters long, and weighs perhaps 30 pounds. It includes roughly 80 square feet of 0.5-inch sheet styrofoam, about 3.5 gallons of patching plaster, and 352 flanged washers, among other hardware. It’s by far the largest model I’ve ever built, and I’ve learned a lot about model construction in the process (in case I ever need to build another giant nautiloid). Incidentally, this is not a particularly large example of Cameroceras; some published estimates indicate they could have reached 6 meters in length.
About a quarter of the exhibit is dedicated to the Ordovician Period, with the remainder talking about the connections between geology, moonshine and auto racing. This is why I’ve been collecting so much material in Kentucky, Iowa, and Indiana over the last couple of years.
I have several other models in this exhibit, including a colony of the bryozoan Heterotrypa and the nautiloid Isorthoceras sociale:
We’ve had a shortage of cases lately, as a lot of our exhibit materials are out on loan to another museum. My longtime volunteer Mike Morriss owns a cabinet construction business, Imageworks, and to help us out he designed and built this beautiful case and donated it to the museum:
“Rocks to Racing” will be open until November 3, and I encourage you to stop by the museum for a tour.
Incidentally, and acknowledging the significance of big numbers that are multiples of 10, this is my 500th post on “Updates”, over a period of about 4.5 years. I have to admit, when I started writing I didn’t really expect it would last this long!