Addition to Missouri Institute of Natural Science almost complete

Published: Jul. 21, 2016 at 7:09 AM CDT
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The new home for Springfield's resident dinosaur is complete, but the Missouri Institute of Natural Science still needs the public's help to entirely finish their building addition.

For a long time, the museum has needed more space for its exhibits, especially Henry, the skeleton of a triceratops that will be front and center in the museum's new space.

The dig to find as much of Henry as possible finished up a few weeks ago, just in time for his new home.

The new space allows the museum to handle larger crowds and has seen a lot of school groups come through. Some new exhibits will be opening in the next few months and the museum is possibly looking at acquiring another dinosaur.

"This gives us the space to mount cool specimens like Henry, to make us more competitive with other museums," said Museum Director Matt Forir. "Because now, if you want to see a dinosaur, you come here, obviously, but before that, you had to go to Denver or Chicago to see them. So we want to get a little more competitive with them and we feel that we're pretty much on that edge right now of doing that."

Though Henry's space is complete, the museum is still about $20,000 short of completely finishing the project.

Hitting that $20,000 goal will build a deck outside the new space and finish up all the odds and ends.

The museum is free and staffed entirely by volunteers, so it really depends on the help of the public.

Donating to the museum will allow them to have more exhibits like Henry, which might in turn inspire future scientists. Forir said having that accessibility to science is so important for our kids and our community.

"That's why this place is so important for the community is that it offers that inspiration to everybody that may need or just want it," he said.

If you want to make a donation to get the project finished up, you can donate online or by dropping it off at the museum.

As for Henry, Forir and other volunteers are working on putting the skeleton together for display. The skull displayed in the new space now is not the same skull that the public will eventually see. The current skull is too small for the rest of the triceratops skeleton, so a new skull is being worked on in the meantime.

Forir said he is hoping to have a grand opening and really put Henry on display by the end of the summer.