American Museum of Natural History
Central Park West & 79th St, New York, NY 10024
+1 (212) 769-5100
For a fee. Free after 4:45pm.
(81st St.-Museum of Natural History)
Founded in 1869 on the initiative of Albert Smith Bickmore, a former student of Harvard zoologist Louis Agassiz, with the aim of encouraging and developing studies in the natural sciences, the American Museum of Natural History is among the largest museums of natural history in the world. The complex comprises 28 interconnected buildings housing 45 permanent exhibition pavilions, as well as a planetarium and library with a total area of 186,000 square meters. The collections contain over 33 million specimens of plants, animals, fossils, minerals, rocks, meteorites, human remains and human cultural artifacts, of which only a portion is exhibited and are visited by more than six million people annually.
In 1874, in the presence of the 18th President of the United States, Ulysses S. Grant, work began on the construction of the first Victorian Gothic building designed by architects J. Wrey Mould and Calvert Vaux, which was inaugurated in 1877, the latter being the designer of Central Park together with Frederick Law Olmsted. The building was soon expanded with a larger structure by J. Cleaveland Cady following the Richardsonian Romanesque style, an interpretation of the Romanesque Revival architecture of American architect Henry Hobson Richardson.
The triumphant entrance to Central Park West, completed by John Russell Pope in 1936, follows the neoclassical Beaux Arts style and is dedicated to the 26th President of the United States, Teddy Roosevelt. It leads to a large hall dominated by the large skeleton of a mother of Barosaurus in the act of defending the child from an Allosaurus.
Over the years, the complex has undergone renovations and extensions, the last of which date back to 1992 with the new eight-storey AMNH library and 2016, with the opening of the Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education and Innovation
In the museum there are areas dedicated to anthropology, paleontology, biodiversity conservation, zoology of vertebrates, which includes mammology, ornithology, ichthyology, herpetology. So invertebrate zoology, genomics (which studies the organization and structure of genes of an organism in the context of the entire genome), physics, astrophysics with The Hayden Planetarium and the sciences of earth and space.
In particular there are the Mammal halls
, dedicated to extinct mammals, African, Asian and of course North American mammals. Then the Birds, reptiles and amphibian halls
with birds from North America, the sea and other parts of the world, as well as reptiles and amphibians. The Biodiversity and environmental halls
are intended for the natural environment of the state of New York, the American forests and life in the oceans, with a life-size model of a blue whale. The Human Origins and cultural halls
are divided into the part on the origins of humanity and the part dedicated to the history and culture of peoples. The Native Americans, those of the north-west coast, the plains and eastern forests. Then the populations of Central America, Mexico, Asia and Africa to end with those who populate the Pacific. Then there are the Earth and planetary science halls
with a room on the history of the earth and others with meteorites, minerals and gems. In the latter are exhibited the Star of India
, a starry sapphire of 563.35 carats, one of the largest gems of this type in the world and the Patricia Emerald
, which with its 632 carats is considered one of the largest emeralds in the world. It was found in Colombia in 1920 and took its name from the daughter of the owner of the mine. The Fossil halls
collect a large collection of fossils while the Rose Center for Earth and Space
includes the Hayden Planetarium
opened in 2000 to replace an earlier one opened in 1935 and closed in 1997. Finally, there is a library open to staff and the public, and the AMNH Exhibitions Lab
, founded in 1869, has created thousands of installations, and its team currently consists of over sixty artists, writers, trainers, designers and programmers.
ReferencesKenneth T. Jackson, Lisa Keller, Nancy Flood
. The Encyclopedia of New York City: Second Edition
. Yale University Press, 2010. pp. 35-36Francis Morrone
. The Architectural Guidebook to New York City
. Gibbs Smith, 2002. pp. 285-287Gerard R. Wolfe
. New York, a Guide to the Metropolis: Walking Tours of Architecture and History
. McGraw-Hill, 1994, 2° ed. pp. 385-386About the Museum
(American Museum of Natural History)American Museum of Natural History
Useful linksAmerican Museum of Natural History
(New York Times)