San Diego Natural History Museum--Your Nature ConnectionSDNHM Exhibits
Dinosaurs: Reel and Robotic
This exhibition closed January 2, 2007.
Exhibit Overview
Featured Dinosaurs
Movie Posters
Teacher's Guide
Fun Facts
Dinos Parade across the Silver Screen

Godzilla Movie PosterFrom May 27, 2006, through January 1, 2007, see how Hollywood's biggest stars, dinosaurs, have come to life in the movies. See how the portrayal of dinosaurs has evolved and changed over the years through artistic portrayal and advances in scientific information and technology. Dinosaurs: Reel & Robotic highlights classic films, Hollywood memorabilia, and life-like, robotic dinosaurs.

The exhibition boasts the world's largest collection of original movie posters (some very rare) and models which trace the history of dinosaurs in the movies. Visitors will learn about early dinosaur illustration, stop-motion and contemporary computer-generated animation technology, and Hollywood's changing perspective on prehistoric life.

New servo-digital technology and a patented body sculpting process make the three-quarter-size dinosaurs life-like. Each creature is individually computer-programmed and handcrafted, and the "skin" is as pliable as living tissue.

Kokoro Dinosaur -- Tyrannosaurus rexThe exhibition also includes original models by the quintessential museum artist Charles Knight, with faithfully copied movie dinosaurs side by side. Contemporary artist William Stout's work is also featured. Stout is the modern-day equivalent of Knight, and his murals will also populate the forthcoming permanent exhibition, FOSSIL MYSTERIES, which will open July 2006. Click here for more information about FOSSIL MYSTERIES.

In the less scientific films, fantastical creatures—amalgams of lizards, dragons and dinosaurs—also paraded across the silver screen. Sometimes live lizards, alligators and even armadillos, were festooned with extra rubber fins and frills, making caricatures of real dinosaurs.

Visitors will watch a recording of Disney animators at work and Gertie, the 1914 cartoon that first depicted dinosaurs. Winsor McCay, Gertie's illustrator, based his cartoon on the then-called Brontosaurus (now known as the Apatosaurus) on the scientific information available at the time and on the American Natural History Museum's Brontosaurus. McCay did take some artistic liberty: Gertie eats an entire tree, drinks a whole lake, and dances to vaudeville music.

Movie memorabilia and related materials are from the traveling exhibition CINESAURUS The History of Dinosaurs in the Movies, which is organized and circulated by Czerkas Studios. The robotic dinosaurs were created by Kokoro Dinosaurs, the leading mechanized dinosaur innovator.