What Happened in Museums this Week?

What Happened in Museums This Week? March 15 – 21

Carnegie Museum Unveils Dinosaur Nicknamed ‘Chicken From Hell’

In prehistoric North Dakota, a marshy land roamed by turtles and crocodiles, there lived a dinosaur that experts think looked sort of like a giant chicken.

When the species’ bones arrived at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History a decade ago, employees looked at the 11-foot-long animal — with its beak, long neck, crested head and slanted posture — and nicknamed it the “chicken from hell.” To read more, click here.

Cleveland Museum of Natural History Scientist Identifies 19 New Species of Praying Mantis

Dr. Gavin Svenson, a Cleveland Museum of Natural History zoologist, has identified 19 previously unknown species of tropical praying mantis, and it should warm hearts in the occasional tundra of Northeast Ohio. To read more, click here.

Denver Museum to Consult with Native Americans

Colorado’s state museum has agreed to consult with Native American tribes after the museum closed an exhibit on the Sand Creek Indian massacre over complaints from descendants of the slaughter’s survivors that they weren’t consulted about the display. To read more, click here.

Disputed Art to Remain at Berlin Museum

A medieval treasure trove at the center of a long-running ownership dispute should stay with a Berlin museum and not be given to the heirs of Nazi-era Jewish art dealers, a panel set up by the German government said Thursday.

The recommendation on the fate of the Welfenschatz, or Guelph Treasure, by a decade-old commission created to help resolve restitution claims isn’t binding but carries strong moral weight. To read more, click here.

Gardner Museum Teams with Google for Virtual Tour

On the anniversary of the 1990 theft that is still the world’s most notorious art heist, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum on Tuesday became the first New England museum to use Google’s Street View technology to let viewers navigate their way virtually around its galleries.

The collaboration with the Google Cultural Institute allows what the Gardner describes as a “complete first-person walk-through experience” of the museum. To read more, click here.

Kurt Cobain’s Childhood Home Could Become a Museum

Nirvana fan from Portland, Oregon is looking to purchase Kurt Cobain’s childhood home through crowdfunding and turn it into a museum. The grunge icon’s mother listed the 1.5-story Aberdeen, Washington house last fall, according to Spin, for $500,000 – despite a valuation of less than $67,000 – so journalist Jaime Dunkle has launched a campaign on GoFundMe.com to raise $700,000 to purchase the home and for curatorial costs. The campaign has been live for 17 days as of Thursday and has raised $135 so far. To read more, click here.

Museum Lets Visitors ‘Digitally Unwrap’ an Egyptian Mummy

A new exhibition in Stockholm uses complex 3D models and a giant touchscreen to let visitors look deep inside an Egyptian sarcophagus. As BBC News reports, the Museum of Mediterranean and Near Eastern Antiquities in Stockholm recently used computed topography (CT) and photogrammetry on eight Egyptian sarcophagi in order to see inside the coffins. It’s common to use CT scanning to aid in the analysis of such items, but the museum is turning one of the scans into an “virtual autopsy table” for a new exhibition. To read more, click here.

Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego Picks Architect for Expansion

The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego has chosen the firm of architect Annabelle Selldorf to head a multimillion-dollar expansion that is expected to triple the size of the museum’s location in La Jolla. To read more, click here.

Norwegian Museum to Return Matisse Looted from French Art Dealer by the Nazis

A museum in Norway co-founded by the Olympic skating champion Sonja Henie has agreed to return one of its signature works, a portrait by Matisse, to the New York family of a prewar Paris art dealer after determining the painting was stolen by the Nazis. To read more, click here.

ROM Announces Two $3-million gifts for its New Centennial Campaign

The Royal Ontario Museum celebrated the 100th anniversary of its opening by announcing it will spend millions to make the Toronto institution, its public presentation dominated since 2007 by the controversial Michael Lee-Chin Crystal, more inviting to visitors.

Officials used the occasion of the centennial to mark the start of a public campaign to raise a total of $15-million by June next year, all from non-government sources. The museum already has received commitments of nearly $7-million for what it is calling the Love the ROM Centennial Campaign. To read more, click here.

The National Women’s History Museum is Swamped in Controversy, Without Even Existing

After more than 17 long years of work, advocates may at long last establish a National Women’s History Museum on the National Mall–or at least get a little closer.

But celebration over the news that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor will bring legislation to the floor this year establishing a commission for the museum is being overshadowed. There’s a fierce battle dividing the museum and its historians, an incident that women’s history activist Denise Baer is referring to as the “Friday night massacre of women’s history,” a reference to the Nixon administration’s “Saturday Night Massacre.” To read more, click here.

What headlines caught your eye this week?

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