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Black Mesa Construction Photos

A record of the installation of the new Black Mesa exhibit in the Sam Noble Museum's Hall of Natural Wonders, Feb. 2011.  Exhibit construction by Chase Studio. Photos by Linda Coldwell.  The Black Mesa exhibit is supported by the Whitten-Newman Foundation.

Click here to view a story on the Black Mesa exhibit by Gaylen Culver of KFOR


Black Mesa rock wall construction

Simulated rock walls being constructed. The surface is cast from real rock and brought in in large segments.

Support poles becoming trees Support pillars becoming trees and rock formations taking shape.
Tree limbs being brought in

A crew member brings in limbs and leaves for the cottonwood trees. 

Each leaf is cast from real cottonwood leaves, and there are many color variations to simulate sunlight in the branches.

A Chase team member sculpts bark to cover seams where limbs are attached.

These hand-made cactus use porcupine quills for their spines.

pronghorn A taxidermied pronghorn is installed and seems to patiently await the ground form to be built up beneath it.

Taxidermied mule deer are installed. 

You can see the mural in the background, as well.

Terry Chase, owner of Chase Studios, adds detail to rock formations
Installing prickly pear cactus is delicate work. 
A taxidermied porcupine awaits installation.
A pronghorn
A tray full of tiny cast crustaceans that will be used in the ephemeral lake part of the diorama.  Each of these little critters is cast in plastic and painted by hand.
A cougar stalks the mule deer from above.
This mouse is 12 times life sized.  It's a mini-diorama that showcases the lifestyle of the American burying beetle, an endangered beetle that buries small dead mice or birds and lays its eggs on the carcass.  Gross, but cool!
Another mini diorama being installed.  This one shows life in the stream with lifelike turtles, frogs, fish and tadpoles. 
The signage and glass is going in now, and there's a team member on site fine-tuning the computer interactives before they are installed. Flooring will be going in soon!