Location: American Museum of Natural History, New York
News Link: Rock of ages cast in story of geology
In the summers of 1998 and 1999, we travelled to Scotland, Switzerland, Italy, Hawaii and within the continental U.S. to mold geological formations for the American Museum of Natural History’s new geology hall. All of the molding for this project occurred on site. Once the molds were complete, they were shipped back to our shop for casting. The largest land peel that we molded and cast was 35 feet high x 35 feet long. The completed casts were then cut into manageable pieces for ease of transport and installation. We take pride in producing seamless work and all of the seams were finished in situ at the museum. The metal columns that support the peels were also produced in our shop.
No matter how much planning is done in advance, there’s always a chance that something unexpected can occur. On July 12th, 1998 we left for Siccar Point, Scotland planning to make a mold of a site on the Hutton Unconformity that was accessible with 40 feet ladders. When we arrived, a more representative sample of the formation had been found, which was close to the planned site. The new site just happened to be located on a cliff face 80 feet above the North Sea! To access the site, we had to build a working platform that was anchored to the ground on top of the cliff. Steel for the platform and ground anchors and climbing gear needed to access the site were purchased locally. Once the platform and ground anchors were built, the molding crew belayed to the site. Rubber was measured out, mixed, and tossed over the cliff in lidded 5 gallon pails to workers on the platform. Once the mold was completed, we hired local riggers to help us lift the mold to flat ground. The mold was then shipped back to our shop for casting. By the time we were finished molding the new site, we had only added one week to our trip.