1900 - 1952
The hall's origins were in the early fourth floor geology and paleontology exhibits, which covered the entire floor from 1877 to approximately 1900. The original hall also contained vertebrate paleontological specimens, which were gradually separated into subject specific halls for paleontology (1, 1880, p. 9-11; 1, 1903, p. 17-18). By 1910, a new plan to rearrange the hall was outlined by assistant curator Chester A. Reeds. By 1913 a new style of exhibition borrowed from the National Museum in Washington D.C. was employed in which specimens were fastened to tablets resting on metal strips and attached to an inclined false back in upright floor cases as opposed to presentation on traditional shelves (1, 1913, p. 48-49). Considering moving exhibit to space being vacated by old systematic bird exhibit (2-1)
The Ward-Coonley Meteorites, which were on loan to the Museum and had been exhibited in the hall, moved to a devoted space in the Foyer in 1910. In 1913 six small cases of meteorites were transferred from the Foyer to the Hall of Geology, though it is unclear if they were the Ward-Coonley Meteorites (1, 1910, p. 46- 47; 1, 1913, p. 48). By 1914 the hall contained the general collection of meteorites as well as a fossilized tree stump, relief maps of Mt. Pelee, rock specimens from Manhattan, exhibits of biologic geology, and models of North America from the Cambrian through Tertiary periods (2, 1914, p. 109-111). Models of the Copper Queen Mine, Weyer's Cave in Virginia, and the Bright Angel area of the Grand Canyon were constructed between 1914 and 1919 (1, 1914, p. 56-57, 1, 1919, p. 63-64). By 1924, the hall included fifteen geological relief maps (1, 1924, p. 36).
In 1937 some exhibits were transferred to the new Hall of Petrology, which covered topics related to rock formation, petrology, and the application of geology to the industrial world. The invertebrate paleontology exhibits were revised at this time and a geological relief map of the Hudson River region was installed (1, 1938, p. 2). In 1941 the New Zealand Synoptic Exhibit, which presented material and data from the Michael Lerner-American Museum Expedition to New Zealand and Australia, was unveiled. By the next year, plans were being developed to install two new geological halls (1, 1941, p. 34; 1, 1942, p. 16), eventually leading to the closure of both the Geology and Petrology Halls by 1953. The Hall of Oil Geology, which covered economic geology, opened in 1955, and the Hall of Earth History, which covered geology and invertebrate paleontology opened in 1969.
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