Casting & Molding Program
The Virginia Museum of Natural History's new casting and molding program, led by Research Technician Ray Vodden, is making possible multiple new displays both at VMNH and at partnering museums across the U.S. thanks to support from the Patterson Charitable Foundation Trust, the Hermes Family Foundation, and generous donations to the VMNH Foundation Discovery Fund. The process involves creating molds of fossils and other specimens that can then be used to create scientifically accurate casts for use in research, exhibits and education programs. Upcoming exhibits will include casts of Castoroides (an extinct giant beaver), and Smilodon fatalis (Saber-toothed cat). Both creatures lived in what is now North America (including Virginia) during the Pleistocene epoch, which lasted from about 2.5 million to 11,000 years ago. Ray and other staff and volunteers are also producing a variety of casts to be available for purchase in the VMNH Store. These amazing casts will be available for purchase online in the coming weeks.
Castoroides (Giant Beaver)
Ray Vodden and other staff and volunteers are creating casts of Castoroides, an extinct giant beaver that lived in what is now North America (including Virginia) during the Pleistocene epoch, which lasted from about 2.5 million to 11,000 years ago. These casts will be featured in a new exhibit to be unveiled at the Virginia Museum of Natural History in early-fall 2015.
Smilodon fatalis (Saber-toothed Cat)
The Virginia Museum of Natural History recently received $20,000 from the Patterson Foundation Trust to add a new Saber-toothed cat (Smilodon fatalis) exhibit in the museum’s Harvest Foundation Hall of Ancient Life. This new exhibit will feature a scientifically accurate cast of the skeleton of Smilodon, which lived in what is now Virginia during the Pleistocene epoch, from 2.5 million years ago to 11,000 years ago. Ray Vodden and other staff and volunteers are creating the cast to be in a one-of-a-kind pose not on display at any other museum. This exhibit will be unveiled at VMNH in early-fall 2015, and will then travel to other venues in the following months. The display will then come back to VMNH in 2016 for display in the Harvest Foundation Hall of Ancient Life.