Durham museum will repair brontosaurus

Posted June 24, 2009

— The brontosaurus will live again at Durham’s Museum of Life and Science, but only with help from donors.

Vandals removed the head from the model, which was part of the museum’s old Dinosaur Trail, in May. It was found two days later off Preston Andrews Road in northern Durham County. The culprits apparently used an ax to cut off the head, police said.

The museum has reached an agreement for restitution with the people who took the head, a museum spokesman said Wednesday.

"I don't think it is in anybody's interest to pursue charges," said Julie Rigby, the museum's vice president for external relations.

Police said the theft appeared to be a prank.

The museum needs $4,000 before they can begin repairs. They already have two big donors on board. Joe Colopy, CEO of Bronto Software, announced a $2,000 pledge as a challenge grant to encourage community support for the project. An unidentified museum benefactor also stepped forward with a $1,000 pledge.

The Northgate Park Neighborhood Association is also collecting donations toward the “Bronto Project.” To donate, e-mail or mail to NPNA Bronto Fund, P.O. Box 15985, Durham, N.C. 27704.

The museum estimated that repairs would begin later this summer.

The museum will open a new Dinosaur Trail July 25.


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  • FromClayton Jun 25, 2009

    why do they need donations? why cant the law make the people who did it pay for the repairs? They should press charges. It's not fair to ask donors to pay for this when the people who did it should pay. then the donors money could go for other things.

  • White Eagle Jun 25, 2009

    I think it's a good idea to refurbish the dinosaur and I think the first people to contribute to the restoration should be the individuals who damaged the beast. Jail would be a waste of time but service to the museum, such as cleaning the animal facilities in addition to paying for the damage would be acceptable.

  • hp277 Jun 24, 2009

    That last $1,000 should come from the families of the criminals who did this. Ever heard of responsibility??

  • durham_nc Jun 24, 2009

    I don't think anyone should be going to jail over $4000. It would likely end up costing the tax payers 10's of thousands of dollars to send them to jail.
    Make them pay back the damages and police costs yes, put them up in jail no.

  • rebekah816 Jun 24, 2009

    "The museum has reached an agreement for restitution with the people who took the head, a museum spokesman said Wednesday."

    Read that sentence verrrry carefully...the word 'restitution' ring a bell?

    I remember the old trail and the caveman and woman very well...I loved that dark and deep...coming around another corner to find another wonder...not much like that around anymore. I took both of my kids there when they were little and they both loved it, was so sad when they finally closed it down.

  • mrduffin Jun 24, 2009

    Why don't the criminals who damaged it have to pay for the repairs? Sounds like they are getting off scott-free when they should be in jail!

  • rsmilward Jun 24, 2009

    It's unfortunate that your reporter didn't get the facts straight. There is a brand new dinosaur trail being opened, the old trail is not being renovated. And what the heck does this sentence mean? "The Northgate Park Neighborhood Association is also collection donations toward “Bronto Project.”"

  • Adelinthe Jun 24, 2009

    I think charges should be pressed, and I think the vandals should also pay to have the thing repaired.

    My nephews, now grown, use to love that trail, in fact that whole park.

    God bless.


  • FragmentFour Jun 24, 2009

    I kind of question the wisdom of not pressing charges for a "prank," but... I'm glad the dino will be restored.

  • DougWare.NET Jun 24, 2009


    I remember them vaguely, but I remember parts of the dinosaur trail very vividly.

    I also clearly remember when the museum was on the other side of the road, had the Piedmont airplane (is it still there?), had a Jacob's ladder and working periscope. I also remember a traveling animatronic dinosaur exhibit, which was the last time I went as a child (around 22 years ago).