A 2-ton giant sequoia slice moved to a new home on the UA campus Friday.
Movers spent several hours using a crane and forklift to transport the 10-foot-diameter slice from the Arizona State Museum's south building to a flatbed tractor-trailer in five pieces. They took the rest of the day to reassemble the slice in the new Bryant Bannister Tree-Ring Building off of East Lowell Street.
The sequoia section arrived at the UA in 1931 for study by astronomer A.E. Douglass, who later founded the world's first tree-ring research laboratory underneath the Arizona Stadium. The slice came from a tree that grew from A.D. 212 to 1913 in California.
The Arizona State Museum displayed the slice with a timeline marking its rings with historic events from 1938 until the late 1990s, when it was left in storage.
The tree-ring laboratory requested the return of the slice for the new building that will open early next year. The ground floor will feature a visitor space highlighting the giant sequoia in an interactive exhibit.
"It's the first piece of wood in the new building," said Christopher Baisan, senior research specialist for the lab. "It's exciting for me, for sure."
Movers wheeled out the sequoia pieces and used rope to secure each one to a board before lifting them with a crane and placing them on the truck. Workers had to remove the museum's doors before moving the largest piece.
The pieces were moved into the south side of the new building between wooden columns. The building is still under construction and is surrounded by dirt, which made the installation more complicated, said Albert Kinder IV, rigger foreman for ASR Transport Inc. The company has also moved giant mirrors and other fragile objects on campus.
Kinder is the third generation of his family to transport the giant sequoia segment. His grandfather helped coordinate the original move in the 1930s while his father helped with a subsequent move in the 1980s.
"This is just fun," Kinder said. "It's neat to see something like this move in town."
The new building will give the public a chance to see the sequoia and other impressive tree rings. The slice, which became iconic to museum visitors in the 20th century, will now be accessible to a new generation, Baisan said.
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Brenna Goth is a NASA Space Grant intern. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org