By Audra Blasdel, Vice President of Operations at The Children’s Museum
March Madness is in the air and we’re excited to have the NCAA Division I men’s college basketball tournament in arenas that are not too far from the museum. What better way to celebrate the unique setup of this year’s tournament than by outfitting our iconic sculpture of the Alamosaurus family bursting out of our building and onto the intersection of 30th and Illinois Streets? We’ve outfitted Yvonne, Greg, and Diana with gear during the football season. It only made sense to equip them for the basketball tournament!
You’re probably wondering, “How’d they do that?” Well, I’m glad you asked.
How we made the masks
As you can imagine, it’s quite an undertaking to create masks for a life-sized sauropod sculpture. Even the baby dinosaurs are taller than the average grown-up! The masks ranged in size from 14″x18″ to 22″x28″. You can’t find a mask that big at your friendly neighborhood shopping center. So we made our own.
We began by making a test mask.
Our dinos have been wearing masks for a while now. You may have seen photos of them or you might have seen them when you visited The Children’s Museum. These are a little different. We wanted to make sure everyone could see the March Madness logo as they passed by, so we redesigned them and made a test mask to make sure everything looked right before creating the final product.
Once we had determined the correct size and shape of the masks, we printed the March Madness logo and the gray background on a material called dyesub. Once the logo and background were printed, a local seamstress transformed the material into the masks.
How we made the basketball
Our team designed and built a metal stand and mounting mechanisms for a 42″ high density foam ball. Once it was mounted, they carved out seams and grooves on the ball. Then it was ready for some LINE-X.
That’s right. We coated our basketball with the same material you use to line a truck bed! Why? It’s the middle of March and this basketball is going to be outside for the rest of the month. And you know how the weather is in March. With sleet, snow, sun, wind, and rain, it’s possible that this basketball will encounter all of the weather's elements so it needs protection from the Indiana weather.
Once the LINE-X coat was completed, it was time to add some color.
Putting it all together
Once the masks were ready and the basketball was dry, it was time to put everything together. It took some teamwork, ladders, and a large boom lift to get everything put into its proper place.
A team effort
The majority of the design, production, and installation of the dino masks and basketball were handled by our in-house teams of carpenters, artisans, and graphic designers. All told, approximately 95 hours of work went into making this happen!
We’re happy to be able to flex our creative muscles while joining the Indianapolis area in celebrating the arrival of March Madness to the Circle City. With the reopening of the outdoor areas of our Riley Children’s Health Sports Legends Experience®, it just made sense to recognize this unique event in a big way.
And of course, we couldn’t limit the excitement to our Alamosaurus family. Bumblebee had to get his March Madness swag on, too!