Keeper of the Plans

Wichita gets to keep its T. rex skeleton in Old Town

The Museum of World Treasures will host a special event on Saturday to commemorate the donation of a T. rex, Ivan, to the museum.
The Museum of World Treasures will host a special event on Saturday to commemorate the donation of a T. rex, Ivan, to the museum. Courtesy

Ivan the T. rex is the Museum of World Treasures’ signature attraction.

The skeleton, one of the most complete Tyrannosaurus rex skeletons in the world, has towered over museum visitors since 2007, when it was first installed.

However, there has always been a chance he could go away.

Ivan was on a “perpetual loan” from private owners who could have, theoretically, taken the T. rex elsewhere – but not anymore.

Last month, the owner of the T. rex skeleton donated it to the Museum of World Treasures, meaning it will stay at 835 E. 1st Street for years to come, said Lon Smith, its chief development officer.

“It’s a huge deal for the museum,” Smith said. “In museums, we don’t talk about the actual value of the artifact, but needless to say it’s a multimillion-dollar acquisition.”

Over the past few weeks, the museum has revamped its fossil area – updating its signs, repainting the walls, adding new lighting and displaying a timelapse video of Ivan’s installation.

The museum will host an open house at 10 a.m. Saturday welcoming Ivan the T. rex as “an honorary citizen of Wichita,” Smith said.

Mayor Jeff Longwell is expected to speak, and cake and punch will be served. Regular museum admission applies: $9.95 for adults, $8.95 for seniors 65 and older, and $7.95 for youth ages 4-12.

Ivan the T. rex was discovered by paleontologist Alan Komrosky in 2007, in South Dakota – apparently only 5 feet underground. Soon after, it was sent on loan to the Museum of World Treasures.

It is approximately 40 feet long from its nose to the tip of its tail and 12 feet tall at the hip.

It has roughly 65 percent of its bones. Few T. rexes currently have more bone structure intact – Sue (roughly 80 percent complete) at Chicago’s Field Museum and Stan (roughly 70 percent complete) at the Black Hills Institute.

For more information, visit www.worldtreasures.org.

Matt Riedl: 316-268-6660, @RiedlMatt

Ivan the T. rex celebration

When: 10 a.m. Sat.

Where: Museum of World Treasures, 835 E. 1st Street

What: Celebration to mark the donation of Ivan the T. rex to the museum. Speech by Mayor Jeff Longwell, followed by punch and cookies.

Admission: $9.95 for adults, $8.95 for seniors 65+, and $7.95 for youth ages 4-12

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