Goodbye, Juliet!

Juliet in the process of being revealed from her resting place for the last 66 million years in Montana.
Bob strapping down the big tail section for the drive to South Bend.
On her way out of the workshop; all @8000lbs of her tail and surrounding rock.

With a little bit of mixed emotions we are saying goodbye (or just, “see you later”) to the dinosaur named Juliet. My brother-in-law and I worked really hard for weeks and weeks over a couple of field seasons to fully expose, plaster field jacket and then bring home Juliet, the 28’ long, almost fully articulated hadrosaur from Montana. She’s been housed in our workshop here in Martinsville since it came to its new home in Indiana back in 2015. So she’s been a fixture here in the shop for a long time.

Chest block – field jacket – of burlap strips soaked in moulding plaster then criss-crossed in all directions around the bones to protect them for transport.
Another view of the chest block that contains Juliet’s backbones, partial rib cage, neck vertebrae and at least one shoulder.

A new museum is being planned to open in South Bend, IN in 2023 and Juliet will be quite the centerpiece as a team of preparators work to expose the huge tail and the whole chest cavity block which has the back vertebrae, neck vertebrae, the left side of the rib cage and the left scapula (shoulder bones). It will definitely take a team of folks because the tail and possibly part of the chest area has mineralized (fossilized) skin impressions, which have to be exposed very carefully to be preserved.

This week the large tail section on a 22 foot long trailer was moved out of the shop and pulled up to South Bend. It was a beautiful sunny day, perfect for the drive. They came back later in the week to collect the chest block but unfortunately their box truck doors, fully open, were not quite open enough. The chest block hangs over the pallet on all four sides – so no go. They’ll have to return soon with a different truck that has a larger door opening.

My neighbors from the machine shop next door graciously helped with their forklift to lift Juliet’s chest block so we could try to load it into the truck – partial success. We lifted it with no damage but the truck doors weren’t wide enough to accommodate!

I’ll miss talking about the dinosaur Juliet and showing people the two huge blocks that encapsulated most of her bones but I’m also glad she will be on display soon here in Indiana. And I get a big part of the shop back – time to look for and bring home another cool specimen to work on!