How Do You Support a 5-ton Elephant?

Meet Henry.  He’s a male African bush elephant who first graced the rotunda of the National Museum of Natural History in 1959.  Constructed of metal lathe, wood, plaster, and a lot of clay Henry weighs in at over 10,000 pounds.

Henry the elephant greets visitors to the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.

While it might not occur to visitors to the Museum, supporting that kind of weight (to say nothing of Henry’s setting, the nearby information booth, or all of the people walking through) isn’t easy.  So how does the Museum do it?  Steel beams in the floor would seem logical and would get the job done, but the real answer is something much less mundane.  Henry is actually standing on tiles. Continue reading “How Do You Support a 5-ton Elephant?”