A local sculptor has carved out a unique niche for himself as nearly everything he creates ends up in a museum.
Chickens rule the roost outside this barn in rural Kearney, MO. Inside the barn, though, prehistoric animals are brought to life by artist and sculptor Gary Staab.
"When people go to museums this might be the only way they can ever interact with an animal they've never seen before. My job is to try and make an accurate restoration of an animal that may only be known from bones," Staab said.
His work is currently on display in museums in New York, Denver, Houston and the Smithsonian in Washington, DC.
"In museums all over the world - in Japan, Turkey, Europe, so I'm lucky to have that opportunity where I can make things for people all over the world," Staab said.
Many may wonder how he got the job. He got the idea in college while working on an assignment to draw animals in a museum display.
"People have to build these don't they? (I thought) That would be an amazing job that would allow me to study animals and pursue my interest in art," Staab said.
A quick tour of the barn and nearby buildings illustrate how busy he is.
"This is arapaima, a huge South American fish, it's going to be for a traveling exhibition called monster fish," he said.
Staab and his team have been working on the sculpture for months.
In the back of the barn, he's working on a smaller version of what will soon be "mammoth".
"A life-size Columbian mammoth, so it will be over 14-feet tall and it will be cast in bronze, so it'll be about 5,000 pounds of bronze," Staab said.
When finished, its permanent home will be the Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo.
Staab is also the envy of archeologists everywhere as he was chosen to recreate the mummy of King Tut. He was allowed unprecedented access to the tomb to measure and photograph the mummy. A 3D printer helped create it.
"It's really hard to describe how magical it was, it was really intense and I felt very privileged to be a part of it. It was stunning," he said.
Staab's recreation of King Tut's mummy is on display right now at the "King Tut" exhibit at Union Station.
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