New pterosaur exhibit on display in Southwest Oregon



Senior Writer
Over the past few months the team here at Earth Archives and Pteros has been working hard on something special, and we couldn’t be more proud. This week marks the opening of a new museum exhibit, “Pterosaurs: Ancient Rulers of the Sky,” at ScienceWorks Hands-on Museum in Ashland, Oregon.

The exhibit includes life-sized reconstructions of several pterosaur species. They include casts of tiny Pterodactylus and Rhamphorhynchus still embedded in limestone, and skeletons of many large species like Anhanguera flying overhead or Pteranodon launching from rocks, and models of how pterosaurs looked in life, all made by Triebold Paleontology.

But the star of the show is a 12-foot tall Quetzalcoatlus made in-house from molded and routed plywood that towers over visitors at the exhibit’s main entrance.

To complete the hands-on experience there are several augmented reality stations that let visitors dive into the lives of pterosaurs. They include a station that allows you to paint pterosaurs, trying out different color schemes. At another, visitors can see their own skeletons move and see the same arm bones in silhouettes of pterosaurs, birds, and bats. Two flight simulator stations (for novice and advanced flappers) allow visitors to guide a pterosaur on the hunt for lunch by flapping your arms. The full experience is capped with CGI films of “living” pterosaurs are projected onto one of the walls of the exhibit space.

Our team, led by Nick Garland, Franz Anthony, and Pete Buchholz, worked together with the staff of the museum to create exhibit signage and an integrated app to be used in the exhibit. Franz and Pete focussed on translating the museum’s signage needs into lively and up-to-date prose coupled with the most accurate illustrations possible made by our excellent team of illustrators. Nick completed work on a kiosk app loaded into several stations in the exhibit that allows users to go deeper and explore our Pteros website. Our overall goal was to make attractive and accurate signage that’s accessible to all, and complements the fossil replicas and models.

The final product is pretty dang cool, if we don’t say so ourselves!

If you’re in southwestern Oregon, come check-out “Pterosaurs: Ancient Rulers of the Sky” now through the end of 2018 at ScienceWorks Hands-on Museum, 1500 E Main St, Ashland, Oregon. They’re open 10am-5pm Wednesday-Sunday (off-season), and 10am-6pm every day (Summer).

This giant Quetzalcoatlus towers over visitors, but can stand within a parking space. Pterosaurs: Ancient Rulers of the Sky at ScienceWorks Hands-on Museum in Ashland, Oregon

Visitors can guide a hunting pterosaur by flapping their arms

Augmented reality helps teach homology; showing that our arm bones are the same as the wing bones in birds, bats, and pterosaurs

Visitors can explore different color schemes with augmented reality

Male (flying) and female (launching) Pteranodon skeletons

The skulls of Pterodaustro, Dsungaripterus, and Anhanguera with plaques describing different pterosaur diets and head crests

These plaques deliver information about pterosaur “fur”, lungs and breathing, wing shape, and a pterosaur dissection

A flying skeleton and model of Rhamphorhynchus

These large-sized informational panels were printed on stretched canvas, reminiscent of pterosaur wing membranes

The exhibit has several kiosks with an integrated app letting visitors explore

Image Credit: Kyle Wells



Senior Writer