American Museum of Natural History. Grand Gallery.

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Exist Dates

1888 - present

Biographical or Historical Note

abstract
Permanent exhibition. Opened approximately 1888. Located on Floor 1, Section 2. The Grand Gallery at the American Museum of Natural History, located just off the 77th Street entrance, is one of the most iconic public spaces in the Museum. The Grand Gallery has been home to many temporary exhibits, including horticultural shows, meteorites, and specimens from various expeditions and has hosted the Great Canoe associated with the Hall of Northwest Coast Indians since 1960 (1. 1962, p. 15; 2, 1960/61, p. 25; 3). As part of a larger project concerning the Museum's historic south side, the Grand Gallery underwent restoration in 2007 (2, 2007, p. 4).

The Grand Gallery was historically known as Memorial Hall and is more commonly referred to as the 77th Street Foyer or Lobby. In addition to numerous temporary exhibits, the hall has also hosted many other, more permanent installations, some of which are no longer on display or have moved to different halls. The Museum installed in the gallery a marble statue by William Couper of Museum President Morris K. Jesup, following his death in 1908 (2, 1908, p. 17). In addition to the statue of Jesup, the hall also featured marble busts in niches, which included those of Benjamin Franklin, Alexander von Humboldt, Louis Agassiz, Joseph Henry, John James Audubon, Spencer Fullerton Baird, James Dwight Dana, John Torrey, Edward Drinker Cope, Joseph Leidy, and Robert Peary (1, 1914, p. 21). In the early twentieth century, the Foyer also exhibited a model of the solar system suspended from the ceiling as well as the Ahnighito and Willamette meteorites which are on exhibit in the Arthur Ross Hall of Meteorites and the Rose Center for Earth and Space, respectively, as of 2017 (1, 1911, p. 13-14). The hall was also once home to the Museum's Junior Shop (1, 1962, p. 15).

In 1960, the Great Canoe, with figures of Chilkat Indians, moved from the Hall of Northwest Coast Indians to the 77th Street Foyer where it was installed in the center of the floor (2, 1960/61, p. 25; 4). In 2007, the Canoe underwent conservation, restoration, and reinstallation on the ceiling as part of a restoration project that included the Grand Gallery, the 77th Street façade, and the installation of the new Anne and Bernard Spitzer Hall of Human Origins (1, 200,7 p. 4).

Sources

    (1) American Museum of Natural History. General Guide to [the Exhibition Halls of] the American Museum of Natural History. New York: American Museum of Natural History, 1911-1962.
    (2) American Museum of Natural History. Annual Reports. New York: American Museum of Natural History, 1908-2007.
    (3) American Museum of Natural History. "Grand Gallery," accessed May 10, 2017, http://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/permanent-exhibitions/grand-gallery.
    (4) American Museum of Natural History Research Library Digital Special Collections. "The Great Canoe, 77th Street Foyer, from east end, 1960," accessed August 1, 2017, http://lbry-web-007.amnh.org/digital/items/show/47343.
    Information for the hall appears in the following Museum publications:
    American Museum of Natural History Annual Reports for years 1906 (page 24);1908 (page 17); 1909 (page 21); 1912 (page 31); 1913 (page 47); 1914 (page 51); 1915 (page 43); 1916 (page 50, 57, 69-70, 95-96) 1921 (page 45); 1922 (page 68); 1924 (page 36); 1925 (page 33); 1926 (page 26, 45); 1927 (page 142); 1928 (page 60), 1930 (page 12), 1933 (page 6); 1942 (page 17); 1948 (page 6); 1954 (page 49); 1960 (page 25); 1969 (page 43); 1970 (page 3, 43); 1971 (page 37), 1975 (page 30); 1976 (page 31); 1981 (page 55); 1986 (page 65); 2001 (page 5); 2007 (page 4, 41, 65-66); 2009 (page 52-53, 60); 2010 (page 36, 50, 53)
    American Museum of Natural History General Guides for years 1911 (page 13); 1913 (page 19); 1914 (page 19); 1916 (page 21); 1918 (page 9); 1919 (page 9); 1920 (page 8-11); 1921 (page 9); 1922 (page 9); 1923 (page 9); 1926 (page 4-7); 1927 (page 4-7); 1928 (page 9); 1930 (page 9); 1931 (page 17); 1932 (page 17); 1933 (page 17); 1934 (page 18); 1935 (page 18); 1936 (page 18); 1939 (page 16); 1943 (page 16); 1945 (page 16); 1947 (page 16); 1949 (page 16); 1953 (page 22); 1956 (page 25); 1958 (page 25); 1962 (page 12, 15); 1964 (page 12, 15)
    American Museum of Natural History: A Pictorial Guide, 1967
    American Museum of Natural History: An Introduction, 1972 (page 8, 13, 140)
    American Museum of Natural History Official Guides for years 1993 (page 36, 50); 2001 (page 30, 60)

Terms

place
New YorkExternal link
AMNH: Floor 1, Section 2. Additional location information: South Pavilion. Section 1-A indicated in 1953, 1956, 1958 General Guides.

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Related Resources

subjectOf
Historic Halls of the American Museum of Natural History
Curated digital images of permanent halls in the American Museum of Natural History Library, Digital Special Collections.

Written by: Clare O'Dowd
Last modified: 2019 February 13


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