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Wednesday, March 3, 2021

The dinosaurs are coming to FW Museum of Science and History

It’s an exhibit millions of years in the making.

Actually, it’s brand new, but museum visitors young, old and in between will have fun with the latest exhibit at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History.

DinoGlow, the first collaborative, interactive 3D mapping dinosaur, opens to the public on Friday, June 22.

“When I was growing up, I remember my mother talking about a lesson she used in her first-grade classroom,” said Amy Romans, conceptual designer of DinoGlow. “She encouraged her young students to use their creativity as they imagined what dinosaurs might have looked like. Then they drew and colored their dinosaurs.

“DinoGlow is the 21st-century version of that lesson.”

DinoGlow is a three-dimensional Stegosaurus sculpture, a blank canvas surrounded by six projectors upon which imagination takes flight. Guests work together or individually to paint with a variety of textures and colors and to create a unique Stegosaurus every time. The process prompts users to contemplate how scientists and paleontologists might search for clues to the past.

In short, it combines technology, science and fun.

DinoGlow started with the idea of a guest experience which was brought to life by a team of designers, educators and technology experts. Software developers and technicians with Arlington-based Inside Image Design worked with museum team members to help make the exhibit a reality.

“It provides a new kind of guest experience that is an artful use of technology to explore science and encourages users to work together,” said Mike Cocanower, principal of Inside Image Design.

“The combination of innovative technology and creative design is so novel the museum will be looking into patenting the experience,” said Astrophysicist and Museum Chief Technology Officer Dr. Doug Roberts.

Museum Technology Committee Board Member Dr. Anthony Edwards said projects such as DinoGlow make STEM (science, technology, engineering math) learning interactive and fun.

“For the Fort Worth region to remain competitive, we need to continue to develop a pipeline of workers with STEM skills,” he said. “The exhibit also engages those who enjoy art and creativity.”

DinoGlow completes the museum’s transformation of DinoLabs, which fosters an understanding of earth sciences, geology, and even conservation through the story of the dinosaur. It is an interactive, futuristic gallery filled with artifacts and cutting-edge technology designed to inspire, enthrall and entertain. The move of Paluxysaurus jonesi, the official State Dinosaur of Texas, to a prominent spot in the Atrium in 2016 was the first step in the reinvention of DinoLabs.

The 20-ton dinosaur now greets guests as they arrive at the museum, and DinoDig remains part of the museum’s dinosaur experience where budding paleontologists can dig for fossils.

“Museums everywhere are recreating themselves, and this is a way for us to do this,” said Vice President of Marketing and Communications Director Rebecca Rodriguez. “It can be as fantastic and alive as you, the guest, want it to be.”

Other interactive exhibits in DinoLabs include:

*DinoStomp, a multi-screen interactive featuring creatures of the Mesozoic Era. Motion recognition cameras follow and mimic the action of users as they come within range of the screen, prompting the dinosaurs to roar and leap in an imaginary 3D landscape.

*DinoLand is a mixed reality experience that offers multiple layers of interaction. It is an immersive theater space where guests of all ages can draw, and color dinosaurs then use scanners to project artwork onto a vibrant prehistoric scene projected on a massive wall.

“DinoGlow and the renovation of DinoLabs as a whole, represent our future. It is the integration of technology in a way that enhances the traditional experience,” said Museum President Van Romans.

“For a long time we have been left to our imagination what a dinosaur looks like. This allows you to play with different concepts,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez said it is no mistake the opening of the exhibit coincides with the theatrical opening of “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.” It is the fifth installment in the “Jurassic Park” series that began in 1993.

“We were looking for the right time,” she said. “It seems to be working in our favor.”

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