Fresno's Museum Makeover

Metropolitan Museum of Art & Science in Fresno, Calif.

The renovated Metropolitan Museum of Art & Science in Fresno, Calif. is set to reopen.

Leapin' lizards! The Metropolitan Museum of Art & Science in Fresno, Calif., has finished resuscitating its dinosaur of a building, and on Thursday, November 13, it roars back to life with the exhibit Feathered Dinosaurs and the Origin of Flight.

A $28 million project has restored the luster of the 1922 structure—originally home to the Fresno Bee newspaper—and swept away clumsy additions made before the museum took over in 1984. Festivities begin with a ribbon cutting at 5 p.m. on opening day. A nonstop 55-hour celebration, with acts ranging from fire dancing to Shakespeare, starts at noon the next day.

Greeting visitors inside is Deinonychus, a fanged carnivore resembling a 10-foot reptile crossed with a plumed Las Vegas showgirl—just one of 15 life-size models in the headlining exhibit. Among the show's 34 fossils is an ancestor of Archaeopteryx, the famous primitive bird unearthed in the 18oos. In other galleries, Fade: The Dark Side of Light, explores how overexposure can damage artworks. At one display, visitors can test the impact of different light wavelengths on a painting.

"It's been a long road to get here," says Paul Gottlieb, president of the museum's board of trustees. "But the results are amazing."

Photography by Catherine Karnow

This article was first published in November 2008. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.

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