American Museum of Natural History


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The collections contain over 32 million specimens, of which only a small fraction can be displayed at any given time. The American Museum of Natural History has a scientific staff of more than 200, and sponsors over 100 special field expeditions each year.

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The American Museum of Natural History (abbreviated as AMNH), located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in New York City, United States, is one of the largest and most celebrated museums in the world. Located in park-like grounds across the street from Central Park, the Museum comprises 25 interconnected buildings that house 46 permanent exhibition halls, research laboratories, and its renowned library.

The American Museum of Natural History Exhibition halls
The American Museum of Natural History boasts habitat views of African, Asian and North American mammals, a full-size model of a Blue Whale suspended in the Milstein Family Hall of Ocean Life, sponsored by the family of Paul Milstein (reopened in 2003), a 62 foot (19 m) Haida carved and painted war canoe from the Pacific Northwest, a massive 31 ton piece of the Cape York meteorite, and the Star of India, the largest star sapphire in the world. The circuit of an entire floor is devoted to vertebrate evolution.
The American Museum of Natural History has extensive anthropological collections: Asian People, Pacific People, Man in Africa, American Indian collections, general Native American collections, and collections from Mexico and Central America.

The Hall of Ocean Life opened in 1933 and was renovated in 1969 and later 2003. In the first of these renovations the hall's star attraction appeared; the 94-foot (29 m)-long blue whale model, which is suspended from the ceiling behind its dorsal fin. The American Museum of Natural History was redesigned dramatically in the 2003 renovation: its flukes and fins were readjusted, a navel was added, and was repainted from a dull gray to various rich shades of blue. Other exhibits in this hall include the Andros Coral Reef Diorama, which is the only two-level diorama in the Western Hemisphere.

The Human Biology and Evolution; Bernard and Anne Spitzer Hall of Human Origins, formerly The Hall of Human Biology and Evolution, opened on February 10, 2007. Originally known under the name "Hall of the Age of Man", at the time of its original opening in 1921 it was the only major exhibition in the United States to present an in-depth investigation of human evolution. The American Museum of Natural History displays traced the story of Homo sapiens, illuminated the path of human evolution and examined the origins of human creativity.

On the Halls of Minerals and Gems display are many renowned samples that are chosen from among the Museum's more than 100,000 pieces. Included among these are the Patricia Emerald, a 632 carat (126 g), 12 sided stone that is considered to be one of the world's most fabulous emeralds. It was discovered during the 1920s in a mine high in the Colombian Andes and was named for the mine-owner's daughter. The Patricia is one of the few large gem-quality emeralds that remains uncut. Also on display is the 563 carat (113 g) Star of India, the largest, and most famous, star sapphire in the world. It was discovered over 300 years ago in Sri Lanka, most likely in the sands of ancient river beds from where star sapphires continue to be found today. The Star of India was donated to the Museum by the financier J.P. Morgan. The thin, radiant, six pointed star, or asterism, is created by incoming light that reflects from needle-like crystals of the mineral rutile which are found within the sapphire. The Star of India is polished into the shape of a cabochon, or dome, to enhance the star's beauty. Among other notable specimens on display are a 596 pound (270 kg) topaz, a 4.5 ton specimen of blue azurite / malachite ore that was found in the Copper Queen Mine in Bisbee, Arizona at the turn of the century; and a rare, 100 carat (20 g) orange-colored padparadschan sapphire from Sri Lanka, considered "the mother of all pads."

The Arthur Ross Hall of Meteorites contains some of the finest specimens in the world including Ahnighito, a section of the 200 ton Cape York meteorite which was found at the location of the same name in Greenland. The meteorite's weight at 34 tons, it is the largest meteorite on display at any museum in the world (requires support by columns that extend through the floor and into the bedrock below the Museum).

Most of the Fossil Halls at The American Museum of Natural History collections of mammalian and dinosaur fossils remain hidden from public view. They are kept in numerous storage areas located deep within the American Museum of Natural History complex. Among these, the most significant storage facility is the ten story Childs Frick Building which stands within an inner courtyard of the Museum. During construction of the Frick, giant cranes were employed to lift steel beams directly from the street, over the roof, and into the courtyard, in order to ensure that the classic museum façade remained undisturbed. The predicted great weight of the fossil bones led designers to add special steel reinforcement to the building's framework, as it now houses the largest collection of fossil mammals and dinosaurs in the world. These collections occupy the basement and lower seven floors of the Frick Building, while the top three floors contain laboratories and offices. It is inside this particular building that many of the Museum's intensive research programs into vertebrate paleontology are carried out.

The American Museum of Natural History hall showcases the vanishing wildlife of Africa, in spaces where the human presence is notably absent, and includes hyperrealistic depictions of elephants, hippopotamuses, lions, gorillas, zebras, and various species of antelope, including the rarely-seen aquatic sitatunga. Some of the displays are up to 18 feet (5 m) in height and 23 feet (7 m) in depth.

Renowned naturalists, taxidermists, artists, photographers, and other Museum personnel have blended their talents to create the great habitat dioramas which can be found in halls throughout the Museum. In an era of black-and-white photography, when wildlife photography was in its earliest stages, the dioramas have themselves become major historic attractions. Notable among them is the Akeley Hall of African Mammals which opened in 1936.

The Heilbrun Cosmic Pathway is one of the most popular exhibits in the Rose Center, which opened February 19, 2000.

The Hayden Planetarium, connected to the Museum, is now part of the Rose Center for Earth and Space, housed in a glass cube containing the spherical Space Theater, designed by James Stewart Polshek.

From its founding, the Library of the American Museum of Natural History has grown into one of the world's great natural history collections. In its early years, the Library expanded its collection mostly through such gifts as the John C. Jay conchological library, the Carson Brevoort library on fishes and general zoology, the ornithological library of Daniel Giraud Elliot, the Harry Edwards entomological library, the Hugh Jewett collection of voyages and travel and the Jules Marcou geology collection. In 1903 the American Ethnological Society deposited its library in The American Museum of Natural History and in 1905 the New York Academy of Sciences followed suit by transferring its collection of 10,000 volumes. Today, the Library's collections contain over 550,000 volumes of monographs, serials, pamphlets, reprints, microforms, and original illustrations, as well as film, photographic, archives and manuscripts, fine art, memorabilia and rare book collections. The American Museum of Natural History Library collects materials covering such subjects as mammalogy, earth and planetary science, anthropology, astronomy and astrophysics, entomology, ethology herpetology, ichthyology, paleontology, ornithology, mineralogy, invertebrates, systematics, ecology, oceanography, conchology, exploration and travel, history of science, museology, bibliography, genomics, and peripheral biological sciences. The collection is rich in retrospective materials some going back to the 15th century that are difficult to find any wherew else.

The American Museum of Natural History has a scientific staff of more than 200, and sponsors over 100 special field expeditions each year. Many of the fossils on display represent unique and historic pieces that were collected during the Museum's golden era of worldwide expeditions (1880s to 1930s). Examples of some of these expeditions, financed in whole or part by the AMNH are: Jesup North Pacific Expedition, the Whitney South Seas Expedition, the Roosevelt-Rondon Scientific Expedition, the Crocker Land Expedition, and the expeditions to Madagascar and New Guinea by Richard Archbold. On a smaller scale, expeditions continue into the present. The American Museum of Natural History also publishes several peer-reviewed journals, including the Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History

American Museum of Natural History in popular culture:
The museum in the film Night at the Museum (2006) is based on a 1993 book that was set at the AMNH (The Night at the Museum). The interior scenes were shot at a sound stage in Vancouver, British Columbia, but exterior shots of the museum's façade were done at the actual AMNH. The museum in the film itself features a Hall of African Mammals, a Hall of Reptiles is mentioned, "Gems and Minerals" can be seen on a sign, there is a brief scene featuring the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life and the Blue Whale model, and it is dedicated to Teddy Roosevelt. AMNH officials have credited the movie with increasing the number of visitors during the holiday season in 2006 by almost 20%. According to Museum president Ellen Futter, there were 50,000 more visits over the previous year during the 2006 holiday season. Its 2009 sequel was partially set in this museum.
Several scenes in the 2004 movie The Day After Tomorrow were set in the Museum's halls.
The American Museum of Natural History was in the film The Nanny Diaries.
As the "New York Museum of Natural History", the Museum is a favorite setting in many Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child novels, including Relic, Reliquary, The Cabinet of Curiosities, and The Book of the Dead. F.B.I. Special Agent Aloysius X. L. Pendergast plays a major role in all of these thrillers. Preston was actually manager of publications at the Museum before embarking upon his fiction writing career.
The title of Noah Baumbach's 2005 film The Squid and the Whale refers to a diorama in the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life. The diorama is shown at the end of the film.
Other novels in which the AMNH is featured include Murder at the Museum of Natural History by Michael Jahn (1994), Funny Bananas: The Mystery in the Museum by Georgess McHargue (1975), The Bone Vault by Linda Fairstein (2003) and a brief scene in Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem (1999).
An ending for the film We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story shows all four dinosaurs finally reaching the AMNH.
Portions of the Sony PlayStation game Parasite Eve take place within the AMNH.
The AMNH is featured in the film An American Tail: The Treasure of Manhattan Island. Fievel Mousekewitz and Tony Toponi go to the AMNH to meet Dr. Dithering to
In many episodes of the Time Warp Trio on Discovery Kids, Joe, Sam, and Fred are in the Museum; in one episode they see it 90 years into the future.
On early seasons of Friends, Ross Geller works at the Museum.
The Museum has appeared repeatedly in the fiction of dark fantasy author Caitlín R. Kiernan, including appearances in her fifth novel Daughter of Hounds, her work on the DC/Vertigo comic book The Dreaming #47, "Trinket", and many of her short stories, including "Valentia" and "Onion" (both collected in To Charles Fort, With Love, 2005).
A scene in John Boorman's Exorcist II: The Heretic is set before one of the dioramas.
decipher a treasure map they have found in an abandoned subway.
The AMNH appears as a Resistance-controlled building in the Sierra game Manhunter: New York.
A scene from the biographic film Malcolm X was filmed in the Hall of African Mammals.
The AMNH is featured in the video game Grand Theft Auto IV where it is known as the Liberty State at The American Museum of Natural History.
In the fourth volume of Mirage's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Michelangelo acts as a tour guide for visiting aliens. His first assignment is the Saurian Regenta Seri and her Styracodon bodyguards who wish to see the Museum, specifically the dinosaur exhibit.
The Museum was the setting for the 1970 novel The Great Dinosaur Robbery by David Forrest, but was not featured in the film adaptation One of Our Dinosaurs Is Missing, which was set in the Natural History Museum in London, England.
In 2009, the Museum hosted the live finale of the second season of The Celebrity Apprentice.
In a second season episode of The Spectacular Spider-Man titled "Destructive Testing", Spider-Man fights Kraven the Hunter in The American Museum of Natural History.
An episode of Mad About You entitled "Natural History" is set in the museum.
The American Museum of Natural History is featured in the Dinosaur King episode The Big Apple Grapple
The American Museum of Natural History is featured in the How I Met Your Mother episode Natural History, although it is renamed the Natural History Museum.
In J. D. Salinger's book The Catcher in the Rye, the protagonist Holden Caulfield at one point finds himself heading towards the Museum, reflecting on past visits and remarking that what he likes is the permanence of the exhibits there.