The Arctic Museum's Great Animal Migration

Story posted February 07, 2012

How do you safely coax a polar bear, caribou and pair of muskoxen off their lofty perches in the front gallery of the Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum and reinstall them in the rear gallery?

You cannot touch these extremely fragile animals and have little room in which to maneuver. That was the challenge facing David Maschino, the Arctic Museumís exhibits coordinator and the six-man crew from the Harold Nickerson Trucking Company.

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On Monday, after some logistical planning, they gently lifted each animal by its base and moved each creature onto wooden platforms supported by scaffolding that took up most of the front gallery.

Two winch-operated lift trucks were tucked in on either side of the scaffolding and raised to the platform level to become the supports for the platform containing the animal. Nickersonís crew then carefully disassembled the scaffolding and, in a coordinated fashion, used the winches on the lifts to keep each animal level and lower it slowly.

Once an animal was close to floor level, the movers placed the creature on dollies for a quick trip into the back of the museum exhibit space. The process was then repeated in reverse to install each animal on its new display platform.

The animals will reign over one of the Arctic Museumís new exhibitions, Animal Allies: Inuit Views of the Natural World, opening to the public April 6, 2012.

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