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 Elephant Rotunda

 

 CLIENT National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution 

LOCATION Washington, DC 

 

The focal exhibit of the main lobby of the Museum of Natural History on the National Mall, this welcoming exhibit leverages the majesty of the world’s largest mounted elephant and explores the multiplicity of ways that a single species can impact an entire ecosystem. Exhibits at the savannah diorama and surrounding mezzanine look at the elephant through the lens of the anthropologists, entomologists, paleontologists and other scientists who acted as specialist consultants during the design process. Work included a complete renovation of the landmark neoclassical Rotunda, including data, electrical, lighting and seating, as well as engineering the rigging required to move the elephant. Exhibits feature extensive use of custom bronze sculptures, from an African dung beetle to a "herd" of elephants' evolutionary ancestors, that, as intended, stay polished from millions of touching fingers.