At the American Museum of Natural History’s annual Winter Dance, there was one thing on just about everyone’s mind: the Titanosaur.
The museum’s biggest dinosaur yet, it went on view earlier this year. But sadly, the Titanosaur isn’t the type to revel on a weeknight and was closed off from Thursday night’s party.
Guests clinked glasses instead under the massive Barosaurus, which stands five stories tall in the Theodore Roosevelt Rotunda. Apparently, the Titanosaur would have been tall enough to peek into a five-story window, too.
Magician Ryan Oakes entertained the young philanthropists at the event, including Melissa Hawks, who, with her husband Carney Hawks, was among the co-chairmen of the gala.
“He turned $1 bills into $100 bills. My husband was like, ‘My wife is good at doing the reverse of that,’ ” Ms. Hawks said.
Dinner was served alongside a parade of elephants in the Akeley Hall of African Mammals, where conversation quickly moved from “What do you do?” to “What did the Titanosaur do?”
Dessert included blue cotton candy, and Harley Viera-Newton DJ’d the dancing under the museum’s famed blue whale.
The question naturally arose: Which was bigger, the blue whale or Titanosaur?
“This is a brand-new species that’s ridiculously huge, right? Bigger than the blue whale, but the blue whale is the biggest animal anyone ever knew of, and this thing has exceeded it,” said George Jovanoski, a co-chairman of the Junior Council, which supports the museum through membership and events.
“What it also represents is that the museum is at the forefront of discovery.”
The Titanosaur, indeed, seems to be gaining in popularity around town.
“I was at the Harvard Club yesterday, and people were gossiping about it between stalls in the bathroom,” said Andrew Yanev, another Junior Council co-chairman. “I was washing my hands, like, ‘Really?’
“When they came out of the toilet, I said, ‘Did you know that the Titanosaur is actually so big that they had to put it in an anatomically incorrect pose to get it in the museum?’ He or she—because we don’t know—is squatting in such a way that was not possible because otherwise it wouldn’t have fit,” Mr. Yanev said.
Greg Kwiat, another co-chairman of the event, said the Titanosaur is particularly popular among the youngest museum visitors.
“I like it—my son loves it. My son is 5 and he thinks it’s amazing,” Mr. Kwiat said. “The whole museum is amazing. Seeing through it through the eyes of a child is the most fun thing. I remember it from when I was young, and now seeing it through my son’s eyes is like reliving my childhood again.”
If you haven’t met the Titanosaur yet, don’t worry; it is included with regular admission. Plus, there will be opportunities to drink under the Titanosaur during the museum’s SciCafe after-hours program, where curious patrons can mingle with scientists.
Overall, the Winter Dance brought in just under $200,000 for the museum.
Supporting the museum helps promote science, technology, engineering and math education, said Courtney Drayer, a host committee member. “They do so many great programs for schools around the city and suburbs, and encouraging them from a young age to love science. I think that’s definitely a cause worth supporting.”
Still, Mr. Jovanoski said the money raised at the Winter Dance was a drop in the bucket of the overall budget.
“We’re all in our 20s and 30s, and there’s no amount of money I can give today that’s going to shift the dial,” he said. “That’s not the point of tonight. The point is to bring people to our community and introduce people to the museum. My hope is one day when I’m 50 and 60—if I do well enough—that I’ll give back.”