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MILWAUKEE – The Milwaukee Public Museum (MPM) is opening a new exhibit starting tomorrow, Feb. 18. T. rex and its ancestors are back from extinction beginning Friday with the opening of the special exhibit, Tyrannosaurs – Meet the Family. Preconceptions will be overturned when exploring the latest tyrannosaur’s family tree discoveries in this highly engaging exhibition.

We all have learned about the ferocious T. rex, but this “king of the tyrant lizards,” as its name translates, wasn’t the first of its kind by a long stretch. Paleontologists have found that tyrannosaurs “came in all shapes, sizes, colors and textures, spanning different continents and time periods,” according to MPM literature.

Tyrannosaurs – Meet the Family is unlike any other exhibit we’ve had at the Museum,” said MPM President and CEO Dr. Ellen Censky. “It showcases the important discoveries scientists have made over the past couple decades about why tyrannosaurs evolved the way they did during different time periods on Earth, while using impressive and interactive displays as well as technology to keep visitors engaged from beginning to end.”

Tyrannosaurs – Meet the Family

Originally created by the Australian Museum, the special exhibition has been touring internationally since 2014. Visitors will see:

  • Five complete tyrannosaur cast skeletons
  • Seven tyrannosaur cast skulls
  • Three life-sized models of feathered dinosaurs
  • An immersive video projection tunnel
  • Hands-on activities
  • A dinosaur-themed gift shop
  • Much more

The exhibit explores several key themes:

  1. What is a tyrannosaur: Learn about the key features that define a tyrannosaur and make them different from other dinosaur groups.
  2. Meet the family: Tyrannosaurs came in a range of sizes and shapes, some with feathers, some without and some much more threatening than others.
  3. Explore the family: Tyrannosaurs lived in different habitats, at different times and evolved to fill different ecological niches.
  4. T. rex—the ultimate: What makes T. rex one of the most formidable predators that ever lived? The focal piece of this section is the cast of “Scotty,” one of the largest and most complete T. rex specimens in the world.
  5. Tyrannosaurs, the legacy: Despite their final demise during one of Earth’s biggest mass extinction events, tyrannosaurs live on—in our imagination, our culture and in their bird cousins in our backyard.
Tyrannosaurs family tree – Credit: Milwaukee Public Museum

Special Programming

A unique lecture series through Science on Tap will take place on Feb. 24 at 6 p.m. called “The Evolution of Dinosaurian Flight” with Dr. Jingmai O’Connor of the Field Museum.

The Dome Theater and Planetarium will host two programs from Feb. 18 through June 2.

  • DinoSOARS!
    Explore the fascinating connections between birds and dinosaurs
  • Dinosaurs of Antarctica
    Join today’s intrepid Antarctic scientists and their quest to understand the lost prehistoric world of Gondwana

The Alvin & Marion Birnschein Foundation, Schoenleber Foundation, Inc. and Elizabeth Elser Doolittle Charitable Trusts have provided the support to bring DinoSOARS! To MPM. Likewise, generous support for Tyrannosaurs – Meet the Family is provided by The Karen J. Glanert Charitable Trust.

Tickets and Hours of Operation

Tyrannosaurs – Meet the Family is open during regular MPM hours:
Wednesday through Monday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Tickets for Museum admission and the Tyrannosaurs – Meet the Family exhibition can be purchased online or by calling 414-278-2728.

Visitors are required to follow MPM’s COVID-19 procedures, such as, but not limited to, social distancing and mandatory masks for ages three and up.

About the Milwaukee Public Museum

The Milwaukee Public Museum is Wisconsin’s natural history museum, welcoming over half a million visitors annually. Located in downtown Milwaukee, the Museum was chartered in 1882, opened to the public in 1884, and currently houses more than 4 million objects in its collections. MPM has three floors of exhibits that encompass life-size dioramas, walk-through villages, world cultures, dinosaurs, a rainforest, and a live butterfly garden, as well as the Daniel M. Soref Dome Theater & Planetarium. MPM is operated by Milwaukee Public Museum, Inc., a private, non-profit company, and its facilities and collections are held in trust and supported by Milwaukee County for the benefit of the public.


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