Need a skeleton or artifact? Ask the Field

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Chicago Tribune journalists Chris Jones, Nina Metz, and Mark Caro on the Field Museum's first ever web series, which debuted earlier this month. (Posted on: August 27, 2013)

He has been using the Harris for about 20 years, he said, and is hoping to win funds to pay for the dinosaur through the local Oppenheimer Family Foundation Teacher Incentive Grant program. "Otherwise, I'm out maybe 600 bucks," he said, between the rental of the skull and the truck and the purchase of photo paper for his students' projects and a giant roll of plastic wrap.

Before leaving the library, he and Snyder carefully wrapped the former predator in plastic, not to keep in freshness, but to help protect the painted plaster fabrication on its journey.

They and Jarecki wheeled it through the museum's back halls on a big hand truck, moved down a level in a freight elevator and brought it out into the daylight, where the U-Haul pick-up was waiting.

There was a pause and some head scratching.

"You don't really think about how you're going to get it in the truck," Jarecki said.

But David Mendez, a taller-than-average museum worker, was among those dragooned into helping lift it.

"No problem," Jarecki said, as she helped slide the skull into place. "Dinosaur schminosaur."

Then there was more head scratching over how to pack it safely in the truck bed, alongside the heavyweight cart on which it usually rests. Ropes? Blankets?

Mendez stepped in and arranged things, artfully using the weight of the cart to wedge both skull and cart into place. It was an impressive use of available space and materials.

What department are you in? someone asked him.

"Traveling exhibits," said Mendez.

sajohnson@tribune.com

Twitter @StevenKJohnson

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