American Museum of Natural History. Hall of Early Mammals.

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Exist Dates

1953 - 1991

Biographical or Historical Note

abstract
Permanent exhibition. Opened approximately 1953 and closed 1990-1991. Located on Floor 1, Section 5. The Hall of Early Mammals at the American Museum of Natural History focused on the origins of mammals and their evolution from the Mesozoic to Cenozoic periods and exhibited primitive fossil mammals (1, 1953, p. 64; 1, 1962, p. 37). The hall was revised as part of the Museum's ten-year exhibition program to update and create halls, reopening in May of 1965 (2, 1964/65, p. 3-4). Curators for the hall included Bobb Schaeffer and Mary B. Patsuris (2, 1957/58, p. 37-38).

The Hall of Early Mammals was known also the Giant Sloth or Paleocene Hall and many specimens were moved here from the Hall of Late Mammals. The Hall of Early Mammals exhibited extinct primitive mammals such as Diprotodon, Phobosuchus, Meniscotherium, Ectoconus, Phenacodus, Coryphodon, Uintatherium, Orycteropus, Macrauchenia, Toxodon, Scarritta, Hapaclops, Megalocnus, Glyptodon, Panochthus, Oxyaena, Deltatheridium, and Tarsius, as well as other fossil animals such as fish and a Pleistocene tortoise from India. A highlight of the hall was a group of giant ground sloths from South America that included Mylodon and Lestodon (1, 1953, p. 64-67; 1, 1956, p. 69). Dioramas presented Eocene and Paleocene lake life from Wyoming, Colorado, and Utah, exhibits on the evolution of primates, bats, and insectivores. Exhibits on fossilization, fossil collecting, preparation, and interpretation were on view and visitors could examine the evolution of non-dinosaur reptiles, and the skull and restoration of Andrewsaurchus (1, 1962, p. 37; 3, 1972, p. 66).

In the early 1990s the Halls of Early and Late Mammals were closed to make way for the Hall of Primitive Mammals and the Paul and Irma Milstein Hall of Advanced Mammals (2, 1990/91, p. 1). Many of the same fossil specimens from the previous halls can be viewed in the current halls.

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, 1953-1962.
    (2) American Museum of Natural History. Annual Reports. New York: American Museum of Natural History, 1957/58-1990/91.
    (3) American Museum of Natural History. American Museum of Natural History: An Introduction. New York: American Museum of Natural History, 1972.
    Information for the hall appears in the following Museum publications:
    American Museum of Natural History Annual Reports for years 1954 (page 50); 1955 (page 42); 1956 (page 32); 1957 (page 37); 1958 (page 37, 38); 1961 (page 55); 1962 (page 47); 1963 (page 70); 1964 (page 3); 1968 (page 10); 1982 (page 4); 1990 (page 1)
    American Museum of Natural History General Guides for years 1953 (Floor plans, page 64); 1956 (page 69); 1958 (page 69); 1962 (page 13, 37, 45); 1964 (page 13, 44)
    American Museum of Natural History: Pictorial Guide 1967.
    American Museum of Natural History: An Introduction 1972 (page 5, 7)
    American Museum of Natural History Official Guide for years 1984 (page 22); 1993 (page 50)

Terms

place
New YorkExternal link
AMNH: Floor 4, Section 5. Additional location information: 1956, 1958 General Guides indicate Hall Number 4-T.

Related Corporate, Personal, and Family Names

Hall of Late Mammals
Companion hall
Hall of Primitive Mammals
The Hall of Primitive Mammals replaced the Hall of Early Mammals (2, 1990/91, p. 1).
Patsuris, Mary
Curator for hall (2, 1957/58 p. 37-38).
Schaeffer, Bobb 1913-2004
Curator for hall (2, 1957/58 p. 37-38).
Simpson, George Gaylord 1902-1984
Led South American Expedition featured in exhibit in hall (2, 1957/58 p. 37-38).

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: 2018 December 7


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