Casting & Molding Program
The Virginia Museum of Natural History's 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. Ray and his team have created a variety of casts that are now on public display, including 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. The team is currently working on life-size recreations of ancient creatures that lived during the age of dinosaurs, many of which will debut during the museum's Dino Festival on July 26-27, 2019.
Castoroides (Giant Beaver)