Red would also appear at the New River Gorge Bridge display, singing notes from "Take Me Home, Country Roads," and offering details about the bridge's construction.
• "Country Roads" would be a recurring musical theme among the upgraded displays, including a new display where the sounds of animatronic crows, hawks, rattlesnakes, owls, raccoons and sparrows would merge into the song's melody.
• Not all the proposed animatronic elements would be animals. The RSL enhancements call for two animated talking busts, including one in the Case for Statehood display, who upon activation, would say to visitors, "Well now, don't stand there like a statute. Come closer, dear guest, and I'll tell you the tale of how West Virginia became a state."
Also proposed to be located between displays for John Brown's raid and the Battle of Philippi would be a life-size animatronic Civil War soldier, who would discuss the aftermath of the raid, and would urge caution for visitors as they proceed into the Civil War displays, saying, "I got a bad feeling coming over me."
Also, the Connections Room would feature a full-size animatronic conservator named "Kay," possibly in tribute to Education and the Arts Secretary Kay Goodwin, who would tell visitors about her work preserving and cataloging state artifacts.
• Other proposed upgrades would range from modest, including adding glowing logs to the fireplace in the frontier cabin, to sophisticated: At the Fairs and Festival display, the proposal calls for an interactive video display that would allow visitors to appear in the on-screen video, as performers in a bluegrass band.
Gresham said the RSL document is intended to serve as a guideline for the winning contractor.
"What we're asking the A&E firm who gets the contract to do is, to look at these enhancements, and consider how they might use them," she said.
According to records in the state auditor's office, Culture and History has paid RSL a total of $2.433 million since 2007 for "professional services for museum renovations," including a total of $141,988 in 2011, the year the enhancements document was produced.
The State Museum was opened in 2009, a decade after the new museum was initially approved, and five years after the old museum on the lower level of the Culture Center was gutted.
Museum construction came in under its $17.6 million budget, and Gresham said the upgrades will be partially funded from unexpended funds in that account.
Bid openings are set for Sept. 10.Reach Phil Kabler at ph...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1220.