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Art Comes to Life at The Mammoth Site® By: Bethany Cook

Published on March 3, 2016 under Current Research
Art Comes to Life at The Mammoth Site® By: Bethany Cook

The Mammoth Site revealed a new mural in the Education Building at the Annual Meeting on January 18, 2016. The mural was painted by Kelli Juhl, a Mammoth Site employee that works in our Molding and Casting Department.


The plan for the mural was approved last fall. The mural covers the entire North wall of the Education Building.


According to Kelli, “The purpose of the mural is to give our visitors a sense of what it might have been like to stand at the edge of a sinkhole 26,000 years ago.”

The mural features sections of Trompe l’ oeil painting, which is French for “fool the eye.” Around the perimeter of the walls, floor and ceiling, the building has been made to appear as though it is falling away. This feature is to cause a more direct interface between our modern space and that of the prehistoric world to draw people in and make it more real.

Finished Mammoth

The mural displays the convergence of plants and animals on the same geographical location. Kelli has made every attempt to reconstruct the Ice Age environment using information that was available from scientific papers, books, pollen samples drawn from the sinkhole itself, and talking with scientific staff at The Mammoth Site. The animals and plants pictured are confirmed residents of the region based on fossil remains and pollens present or suspected residents based on modern native species that might have lived in a cooler climate. As with all artistic rendition of prehistory, the result is an educated interpretation and peaks your curiosity.


The mural was possible through a grant funded by the Stanford Adelstein Grant in participation with the Allied Arts Fund, Hot Springs Cultural Development Organization, Benjamin Moore Paints and Roger Frye’s Paint and Supply Inc.

The mural is still a work in progress, but according to Kelli, “It should be a fascinating glimpse into the past.”

Kelli has already started working on a new project at The Mammoth Site. She is creating a cave like appearance to the entrance of the children’s room in the Gift Shop.