NU State Museum rolls out new mascot

Dec 17th, 2010 | By | Category: Arts & Entertainment, November 18

Attention Lil’ Red and Herbie Husker, there’s a new mascot on campus.

In a move to spread public awareness about the University of Nebraska State Museum, museum officials purchased a mammoth mascot costume. The mascot’s name is Archie, a moniker he shares with the museum’s signature mammoth specimen and bronze sculpture in front of Morrill Hall.

“The name Archie has been around here at the museum for a long time,” said Mark Harris, associate director of the museum.
The name is derived from “Archidiskodon imperator maibeni,” the scientific term for the world’s largest mammoth skeleton, which is currently housed and on display in Morrill Hall.

Archie’s costume is just one element that brings the actual mascot to life. Deciding who would don the mammoth attire presented a challenge for the museum.

“One of the conundrums I faced in ordering a mascot was figuring out who would wear it because you have to order (the costumes) by size,” Harris said. “He’s a mammoth, so you’d think he’d be the biggest and tallest mascot possible.”
Harris said that for the first year, he doesn’t mind using his height for the museum’s benefit.

“I’m the only person around here who is tall enough — and probably willing enough — to wear the costume,” he said.
Harris trades the mascot-wearing responsibilities with a museum student worker, whose nearly 6-foot frame plays up the larger-than-life presence of a mammoth.

The bulk of the costume consists of faux mammoth fur, which can result in discomfort because of the heat and lack of oxygen created within the costume’s close quarters.

“It has to be well below freezing to be comfortable inside the costume,” Harris said. “It’s like wearing two snowsuits with mittens and then putting a 10-gallon bucket over your head.”

Despite the comfort obstacles, Harris said Archie the mascot has proved to be the perfect addition to the museum’s family.
“People love him,” he said. “It’s impossible not to smile when you have a mammoth mascot waving at you or wanting to high-five you.”

Aside from making appearances at every home football game complete with a “Go Tuskers” sign, Archie will mingle with museum visitors during all of the museum’s upcoming public events.

“We’re having about five major (public events) in 2011,” Harris said. “It’ll be a big year.”
Archie will also venture to classrooms across the Lincoln community to ignite historical curiosity among elementary students. Each student will have the opportunity to film a song or dance sequence with Archie to commemorate his visit.

“We’ll make a fun, energetic video piece that these kids can share with their family and friends to help them remember the day for the rest of their lives,” Harris said.

With Archie’s schedule packed with various public appearances, Harris said he is pleased that the mascot’s reception has been positive.

“Having a mascot reminds people how precious of an institution we are,” he said. “It just requires a little bit of imagination and goofiness. It’s something we haven’t tried and it’s something that’s long overdue.”

– Mekita Rivas, University Communications

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