Drawing Out the Dinosaurs

Curated by palaeontologist Richard Butler and literary critic Will Tattersdill, Drawing Out the Dinosaurs asks viewers to reflect on the fact that the history of extinct life is an art history as well as a natural history.

Since palaeontology became a formal science at the beginning of the nineteenth century, scientists and artists have worked together to produce images which restore long-vanished ecosystems – including dinosaurs. Their interpretations have been extremely diverse and have inspired rafts of cultural and scientific work. In this exhibition we present some of this history, share modern restoration techniques, display examples from popular music and film, and even invite you to try your hand at the process for yourself!

Paintings on a museum wall

Drawing Out the Dinosaurs was first displayed at the University of Birmingham’s Lapworth Museum, and then moved to Erasmus Darwin House, Lichfield, and the Dudley Museum. A workshop devised as a portable, interactive version of the project has been held at a conference at Ryerson University and as part of the extended Visions of Nature project at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, in collaboration with Verity Burke from Birmingham and David Button from the Natural History Museum in London. The project also led to a collaborative event with Stefanie Jovanovic-Kruspel from the Naturhistorisches Museum in Vienna at the Palaeontological Museum in Munich as part of the programme for an exhibition on Paleo Art in 2020.

Image: Drawing Out the Dinosaurs, Lapworth Museum of Geology, University of Birmingham