Due to public health efforts to contain COVID-19, the Ark Encounter and Creation Museum are temporarily closed until April 20 or later.
Recently a mission team from Little Egg Harbor, New Jersey came for the second time this year. Apparently we didn’t work them hard enough to scare them off the first time, so our Gifts in Kind director, Skip, lined up no small task for their second trip. Actually these volunteers were in for quite an adventure—collecting dinosaur bones (well, sort of)!
Buddy Davis recently completed life-sized sculptures of dinosaur skeletons to be used on the outside of the building. The problem was that these huge, one-of-a-kind sculptures needed to be shipped from Buddy’s workshop in Utica, Ohio to a company in Massachusetts that we selected to make a mold. It’s the same company that is creating the customized faux rockwork to construct the “rock layers” masonry for the outside of the museum, in which the dinosaur skeletons will be placed.
The six dedicated individuals from Calvary Baptist Church in NJ accompanied Skip to Utica, where they quickly but carefully worked to prepare and load the sculptures. Before going, however, they had to outfit the rental truck for this unusual job. They installed a sliding rack system so their cargo could be transported—like loaves of bread on racks in a bread truck.
Once in Utica on Tuesday evening, the team found time for a couple hours of work in Buddy’s shop. They did make time for some fun, as Buddy shared his testimony and gave them a tour of his rustic log cabin home, workshops and storage buildings where they saw an amazing collection of taxidermy, sculptures and more that Buddy had made. Then the fun was over and it was time to begin measuring and carefully cutting the massive sculptures.
After spending the night at Buddy’s, some in his house and others in a small cabin on his property, the team got to work early. After each piece was cut, a sub frame and backer board was custom cut, fitted and attached to the sculpted piece. The piece was then lifted up into the truck on the rack assembly and secured. Some of these pieces were over 14 feet long and up to 6 feet wide. The team completed the job by evening and headed back to the museum site.
The rest of the week the team primarily worked on making steps and landings to be used on the new mobile offices for the museum staff, who are now working on the site. They built four sets of steps and landings and installed two of them before leaving on Saturday. Skip safely transported the sculptures to the rock company, and with two trips the mission was completed! We’d like to send a big “thank you” to the team and the many other volunteers who have helped in the construction of the museum!
(If you are in the shipping business and are able to help the museum by loaning and/or driving a truck for future deliveries, please contact us.)
A volunteer cutting the sculpture for framing and loading.
Skip and a volunteer holding up a portion of the framed skeleton.
Skip and a volunteer securing a sculpted piece.
Click thumbnails for larger images.