COSI’s Lost Egypt Exhibition


How to Make a Camel by COSI

Author: Kate

Our exhibit fabricator for Lost Egypt was the Science Museum of Minnesota. The camel was subcontracted out to Blue Rhino Studio, who create amazing animal and architectural models.

The first step was to research what camels look like. While in Egypt, COSI photographer Brad Feinknopf paid a guard to let us photograph his guard camel while it was lying down, from all angles.

Camel Research #1

Camel Research #1

Camel Research #2

Camel Research #2

These photos and other research provided Blue Rhino Studio with front, side and back views of a camel, which they scaled to an average camel height, width and length based upon project advisor Jonathan Elias’ recollections and other photo research. From there, artist Jim Burt at Blue Rhino amalgamated the information, started sculpting and gave Sarah the Camel her personality.

Jim Burt was the main artist and had 2 to 3 people helping him. 2’ x 4’ x 8’ urethane foam blocks were glued and then carved and sanded to get the basic shape.

Sculpting #1

Sculpting #1

Sculpting #2

Sculpting #2

Sculpting #3

Sculpting #3

Sculpting #4

Sculpting #4

This was then covered with water-based fiberglass cloth similar to a paper mache’ process.

Fiberglass

Fiberglass

Then a water-based epoxy was applied over the fiberglass. The hair and detailing were added in the epoxy layer while it was in a soft putty state. The epoxy was then color-stained with base pigment colors and acrylic paint highlights were added after that.

Fiberglass and Paint

Fiberglass and Paint

The project from start to finish was estimated at 12 weeks, including the photo research, back-and-forth discussion, sculpting, modeling, painting, etc. The discussions were about things such as the camel’s size; whether it should be made of soft or hard material (in order to last the 6+ years that Lost Egypt will be touring, the camel needed to be sturdy); the angle of the head in order to make it more appealing and photogenic; the color of the fur; how to give the impression of those long eyelashes that camels have; and whether we could add an interactive feature to make the camel spit or grunt (unfortunately, the budget didn’t allow this!).

Face

Face

Body

Body

The neck and tail were reinforced with metal tubing and fiberglassed into the foam substructure. This made Sarah the Camel very durable.

The camels ears are bent metal covered with epoxy. The teeth are epoxy. The stirrups are metal – painted to look like leather straps and act as a step up to the camel.

Ears

Ears

Ears Finished

Ears Finished

Teeth

Teeth

The saddle is modeled upon photo research of camel saddles, with wood and metal frame construction. We added foam padding for comfort, a real middle eastern blanket and an underblanket replicated from pictures.

Blue Rhino Guys on Camel

Blue Rhino Guys on Camel

The materials used are all high quality and fire-rated, giving us a unique and sturdy ambassador for the Lost Egypt exhibit.

Finished Camel

Finished Camel

Blue Rhino on Camel

Blue Rhino on Camel

Camel at ASTC

Camel at ASTC



The Pieces are Coming Together! by COSI
February 6, 2009, 10:13 am
Filed under: Construction News | Tags: , ,

Author: Carli

I went to the Science Museum of Minnesota (SMM) last week to check out the exhibit components for Lost Egypt, accompanied by our VP of Experiences, Steve Langsdorf, and Senior Director of Design, Erik Burdock. While COSI is the official “producer” of the exhibit, we have tremendous help from our partners at SMM in building the actual experiences, creating the large structures, and putting all the pieces together.

Mummy reflective room

It’s been almost a year since this blog began with our trip to Egypt to collect the information, take photos and video, and conduct interviews. So the anticipation of walking into the warehouse at SMM to see the exhibit components come to life was really a thrill. As we entered the warehouse, we could see the giant canopy tents, and I knew I wouldn’t be disappointed. One of my favorite pictures from the trip was of the young niece and nephew of our Egyptologist guide wandering among the towering pillars of Karnak Temple; their tiny hands tightly gripped together, and anxious faces staring up at the columns. It was a beautiful juxtaposition of modern-day children consumed by the power of these ancient structures. My heart nearly skipped a beat, when I saw the picture again. Only now, it was a life-size canvas mural, built into the walls of the exhibit, that would allow the entire world to experience what we saw.

Exhibit wall with murals

The SMM team lead us through each component of the exhibit, and we tried out a few of the interactives including the rock challenge, where guests will be able to test the technologies that may have been used to move the enormous stones used to the build the pyramids. We also tested the Sands of Time Aeolian Landscape, showing how sites in Egypt are lost under the changing sands. And tried the pottery re-construction, which was a 3-dimensional pottery puzzle that made my head spin! The most exciting structure we saw was the pseudo-tomb hallway with reconstructions of artwork and hieroglyphics, dimly lit to reflect the actual insides of the tombs.

Art & heiroglyphics on the 'tomb wall'

And I couldn’t help but be in awe of the engineers who were working on what will eventually be the climate-controlled display cases for the artifacts, animal mummies, and human mummy. The intricacy of design, material specifications, and other rules and regulations for construction in order to put these priceless artifacts on display was mind boggling.

Future Mummy case

All in all, it was a fascinating trip, and I really think the city of Columbus will have something to be proud of when the exhibit finally arrives and opens this summer!



Thank You Blue Rhino Studio and Science Museum of Minnesota! by COSI

Author: Kate

camel head 2

Our camel, Sarah, is finished! She will be joining us at the Association of Science-Technology Centers conference in Philadelphia in a couple of weeks before coming to live at COSI until Lost Egypt opens. I’m hoping I can get a luggage strap and some wheels and pull her through the Philadelphia airport as my carry-on item (although I’m guessing she won’t fit under the seat in front of me…).

blue rhino team

We want to give a huge thank you to the Blue Rhino Studio folks who created our delightful dromedary – Jim Burt (left) is the main sculptor at Blue Rhino Studio – he sculpted Sarah. Also shown are Jeff Nelson, Aaron Dysart, Nikkia Vredenburg and Ryan Dahl. Not pictured are Dave Leak and Tim Quady. We all enjoyed working with them, checking on Sarah’s progress, and visiting Blue Rhino Studio!

sarah dan and dick close

We’re also grateful to our partners at the Science Museum of Minnesota who worked on Sarah, including Dan Miller and Dick Leerhoff, who are pictured here.

Thank you!



Lost Egypt’s Amazing Camel by COSI

Author: Kate

Our camel (who we’ve nicknamed Sarah) is almost finished! A couple of our Science Museum of Minnesota (SMM) partners headed to Blue Rhino Studios to see the progress. To see if the camel is going to hold up as thousands of kids climb on it, we have to test it (that’s the fun part!), so here’s the team at Blue Rhino, as well as Dan Miller and Dick Leerhoff from SMM hard at work!

Blue Rhino Testers

Blue Rhino Testers

Dan Miller and Camel

Dan Miller and Camel

Dick Leerhoff and Camel

Dick Leerhoff and Camel

Since last time, the eyes, ears, and teeth have been added, and the camel has been painted.

Camel Face

Camel Face

Camel Face

Camel Face

Sarah’s hump is pretty tall, and we’ve had to think about how people will climb into the saddle. We designed the saddle similar to real ones on camels, and we’ll be adding some decoration like blankets to soften it up. We have added a stirrup as well to help the riders.

Complete Camel

Complete Camel

It’s been amazing seeing Sarah emerge from a block of foam, being sculpted into a camel that looks just like the ones we saw in Egypt!



Back to Reality by Josh

Author: Josh

Well, we’ve been back stateside for almost two weeks now, and I feel I can safely say that I’m no longer jetlagged. Well, at least no more than usual.

We’re busy downloading all of the information and images that we picked up on this trip, sharing with our team here and our partners at the Science Museum of Minnesota. Of course, that’s going to take a minute – Brad shot over 3,000 photos during the course of the trip, and Cindy recorded over 15 hours of video! That’s a lot of post-production work! What we’ve looked at so far has been absolutely beautiful. Be sure to check out Carli’s link to Brad’s images – pretty impressive stuff.

And we aren’t even done with the interviews! We’ll be meeting with forensic anthropologist Dr. Tosha Dupras in early April to discuss forensics and mummies. Later that month we’ll travel to Birmingham, Alabama, to meet with Dr. Sarah Parcak, who’s doing some incredible work using satellite imagery to identify new archaeological sites in Egypt. And later this summer, we’ll meet with Dr. Janice Kamrin, an expert in Egyptian hieroglyphs who works for the Supreme Council of Antiquities. And, of course, we’re all keeping our fingers crossed that we’ll be able to speak with Dr. Zahi Hawass…

We’ll keep updating the blog to provide the latest “behind-the-scenes” view of the making of “Lost Egypt.” There’s still plenty of excitement yet to come.