Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Day 2: Out of the city, Into the Exhibit

Countryside on train ride from Zurich to Aathal
It is the second day of my research trip, and so far my time in Switzerland has been pleasant. The neighborhood in Zurich where I am staying is charming, with old stone buildings and a warren of cobblestone streets and passages where restaurants, cafes, bars, and shops abound. Zurich seems to be a very social town, which makes traveling alone feel somewhat discordant, but that is the nature of the research trip. I have yet to feel uncomfortable or unsafe in any given situation, which is reassuring. Today I made the journey by rail from Zurich out to the Sauriermuseum Aathal in Aathal, a stop in the Swiss countryside 30 minutes away from the Zurich HB (the Main train station). After having a bit of trouble finding the train, I arrived at museum in Aathal. The walk from the train station to the museum is not very long, but was made awkward by the 4 foot long calipers I was carrying. In fact, everything is made a bit more awkward by the 4 foot long calipers I carry, so I stored them at the museum for the week.

Stegosaurus armatus, "Sarah"  Sauriermuseum Aathal

Hesperosaurus mjosi, "Victoria" Sauriermuseum Aathal
Upon my arrival I was kindly received by Museum Director Dr. Siber. I was taken for a tour of the museum, which houses many great specimens. An especially striking exhibit are those handpicked from Siber's personal collection for their aesthetic power; as well as a very cool exhibit on European dinosaurs that is in the process of going up. The tour culminated in the downstairs room where the Stegosaurs which I had come to study were displayed. The Stegosaurus and Hesperosaurus specimens on display there are truly remarkable in their completeness and preparation, and I have access to photograph and make measurements of all four of the specimens in the symposium paper “The Stegosaurs of the Sauriermuseum Aathal”. Today I started work on the specimen called "Victoria", and hope to focus on an average of one specimen per day. The specimens are mounted in such a way that they can be easily accessed for study, and the individual bones can even be removed from the mounts for closer inspection if need be. I think that this is an innovative and practical way to showcase specimens such as these, as opposed to just displaying a cast and having the real specimen buried in the collections.
Hesperosaurus mjosi, "Moritz" Sauriermuseum Aathal
Hesperosaurus mjosi, "Lilly" Sauriermuseum Aathal


  1. Ari,

    I don't find your blog boring at all. What did Victoria's bones say to you? Did you feel like you had done a bit of time travel? This is very informative. Enjoy your research. I await your next post.

  2. Hi,

    Stegosaurus is my favourite dinosaur. What I find when looking for info is that its all for children. I want REAL statistics.
    I love these photos.
    Please write to me: send me your paper so that I can get a clear idea of the measurements etc.

    How exciting.

    closet paleontologist and Stego fan.