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National History Museum's Dinosaur Hall closing for major renovation

Sunday - 4/27/2014, 6:19pm  ET

Natural History Museum (Paula Wolfson/WTOP)
The Natural History Museum's "Dino Hall" will be closing for a $48 million renovation that includes dismantling, cleaning and rebuilding dinosaur exhibits. (WTOP/Isabella Heegaard-Rytz).

WASHINGTON - The great Dinosaur Hall at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History is getting a major facelift.

The old exhibit will be restored and updated in a project with a $48 million price tag.

It's going to take five years to do the job - much longer, some would say, than building a new museum. But it includes the painstaking work of dismantling, cleaning and then rebuilding dinosaur skeletons that have been on display for almost a century.

Sunday was the final day for the old exhibit, and area families came for one last look.

"I wanted to see the dinosaurs because they are really cool," 9-year-old Orion Carrera of Frederick, Md., explained as he sat with family and friends near the museum entrance.

"It feels really special because I know that my parents and their siblings saw it," he said, while his parents nodded in agreement.

Carol Waldman Carrera said she saw the old exhibit many times as a child, and she sighs when she thinks of the changes coming to a place that holds so many fond memories.

"It is not so much that it will be closed for five years, but that it will be different," she explained, adding "new is not always better."

Still, she welcomes the notion of an exhibit that is more open air and will include a new centerpiece: the Wankel T rex - one of the most complete Tyrannosaurus rex skeletons ever found.

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