Thursday, March 29, 2001

Ice age statues out on the town

Mammoth family on the move

By Susan Vela
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        A family of woolly mammoths migrated across Cincinnati Wednesday, leaving barely a rumble as they trekked the earth — or rather, the city streets.

        The 1,000-pound fiberglass parents and their children, which became Cincinnati landmarks about two decades ago, moved from the former Museum of Natural History building on Gilbert Avenue to Fountain Square.

[photo] A woolly mammoth sculpture is prepared for its move to Fountain Square by Chris Altman (left), Dave Williams and Jim Hensley of Hensley industries.
(Glenn Hartong photo)
| ZOOM |
        They will remain on the public square downtown through April 30 before making their next move for “Mammoths on Tour.”

        Future migrations will be to Cincinnati Zoo, Taste of Cincinnati, and MainStrasse Village in Covington before the behemoths arrive at 505 Gest St., the new home for Cincinnati Museum Center's fossil, mineral, archaeological, vertebrate and invertebrate collections.

        “Mammoths On Tour” was a dream of Doug McDonald, president of the Cincinnati Museum Center. It will take care of the No. 1 question that he's faced since telling city officials that the collection materials would move:

        “What are you doing with the mammoths?”

        “They're unique,” Mr. McDonald said. “You don't have mammoths everywhere. If we have to move them, why not have some fun doing it?”

    • Fountain Square: today through April 30.
    • Cincinnati Zoo: April 30-May 26.
    • Taste of Cincinnati: May 26-May 29.
    • Yeatman's Cove: May 29-June 4.
    • King's Island: June 4-June 29.
    • MainStrasse: June 29-July 31.
    • Yeatman's Cove: July 31-Sept. 4.
        The museum center and Episcopal Diocese of Southern Ohio swapped buildings in October. The diocese plans to open a new school in the former natural history museum building while the museum center's collections department will move into its new Gest Street residence by September.

        On Wednesday, cranes, ropes and special pallets were used to hoist the mammoths from their decades-old post outside the former natural history museum. The sculptures dangled in the air before being placed on flatbed trucks. In the afternoon, they made the trek to Fountain Square.

        Portman Equipment Co. of Cincinnati and Hensley Industries of Evendale donated equipment and manpower for moving day.

        Artist Neal Deaton built the male bull and female cow mammoths in 1980. They were part of the museum's Ice Age exhibit, which depicts this region 19,000 years ago.

        The museum built the two smaller mammoths soon after. The smallest depicts a 6- to 7-month-old baby mammoth discovered intact in northeastern Siberia in 1977.

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