American Museum of Natural History, New York
The American Museum of Natural History (also known as AMNH) in New York, is one of the world’s largest and most popular science museums.
The AMNH, founded in 1869, is located since 1874 in its current site on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, adjacent to Central Park and almost opposite the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which is located on the park’s eastern edge.
The first building of the current museum’s complex was a Gothic-revival construction built in 1874 after a design by architects Calvert Vaux and J. Wrey Mould.
The museum has been expanded repeatedly thereafter and is now a large complex of various buildings, interconnected to one another, encompassing a gross floor area of over 2,000,000 square feet. Buildings part of the complex include an imposing Romanesque revival building designed in 1888 by J. Cleaveland Cady, as well as the monumental entrance on Central Park West and the Theodore Roosevelt Rotunda (1936), both by John Russell Pope.
A new 245,000-square-foot educational facility, the Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation, designed by Studio Gang Architects and Ralph Appelbaum Associates, is scheduled for opening in 2023.
American Museum of Natural History, main facade on Central Park West with the monumental entrance designed by John Russell Pope in 1936; photo: David Jones
The over-33-million-piece collection of the American Museum of Natural History comprises animal and plant specimens, minerals, meteorites, gems, fossils, human artifacts, dioramas, photos, and models. The museum’s permanent exhibition is divided into ten thematic sections.
The Biodiversity and Environmental Halls present the diversity of life on Earth, its evolution over time, and why extinctions occur; a giant model of a blue whale is on show in the Milstein Family Hall of Ocean Life.
The Birds and Reptiles and Amphibians Halls focus on these classes of animals, with a surprising section dedicated to the over 400 species of birds living in New York City.
The Earth and Planetary Sciences Halls focus on planets and meteorites (in the Ross Hall, including Ahnighito, the largest meteorite housed in a museum), rare stones and gems (Morgan Hall), and minerals (Guggenheim Hall).
The Fossil Hall features an impressive collection of fossil specimens and skeletons of extinct mammals, dinosaurs, and other vertebrates; while the Wallach Orientation Center, through reconstructions and audiovisuals, presents their fascinating history in detail.
The Grand Gallery presents various specimens and artifacts, including fossils, minerals, and a 63-foot-long Native American canoe, dating back to 1870, suspended from the ceiling.
The Human Origins and Cultural Halls explore the different human cultures around the globe and the origins of mankind.
The Mammal Halls presents the history and evolutions of mammals, including primates, through outstanding specimens, models, and dioramas.
The Rose Center for Earth and Space explores the history of the Universe and includes a planetarium, a “Big Bang” theater, large-scale installations depicting astrophysics, cosmological theories, and the genesis and geology of the planet Earth, and. The centerpiece of the exhibition is a large 2-levels sphere, 87 feet across, which contains the Hayden Planetarium in its upper level and a 429-seat multimedia theater in its lowest.
The Theodore Roosevelt Memorial is dedicated to the 26th President of the United States, who was a passionate explorer and a naturalist. The memorial includes also exhibition galleries such as its famous rotunda featuring dinosaur exhibits and specimens.
Finally, the Discovery Room is an interactive learning space for children and families.
The American Museum of Natural History organizes temporary exhibitions, research programs, educational activities for all ages, and learning courses for educators.
The museum’s complex includes a library, two cinema theaters, three shops, a restaurant, and two cafes.
The museum is fully accessible to people with disabilities. The museum also provides a free wheelchair borrowing service, special programs, and equipment for people affected by autistic disorders, as well as for blind and deaf people.
A curiosity: the American Museum of Natural History is also famous as the main set of the 2006 film Night at the Museum.
Fossil of a Tyrannosaurus Rex, Hall of Saurischian Dinosaurs; photo: Daniel Mennerich
A historical postcard depicting the south range building designed by J. Cleaveland Cady and opened in 1888; image: jasonwoodhead23
The famous 94-foot-long model of a Blue Whale on view in the Milstein Family Hall of Ocean Life; photo: Chris Ford
Dinosaur replicas (of a Barosaurus, and an Allosaurus) in the Theodore Roosevelt Rotunda (also known as Grand Entrance); photo: Mark Ryan
A diorama with a group of Gemsbok antelopes in the Akeley Hall of African Mammals; photo: klara f
The Rose Center for Earth and Space, exterior view; photo: Marcin Wojcik
Cover image: main facade of the American Museum of Natural History on Central Park West; photo: Ferran
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