American Museum of Natural History. Hall of Geology and Invertebrate Palaeontology.

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Exist Dates

1900 - 1952

Biographical or Historical Note

abstract
Permanent exhibition. Opened approximately 1900 and closed approximately 1950-1952. Located on Floor 4, Section 1. The Hall of Geology and Invertebrate Palaeontology at the American Museum of Natural History, for the majority of its existence, contained fossil invertebrates and geological exhibits (1, 1912, p. 33). Revisions and updates were made throughout the 1910s and 1920s (1, 1910-1929) and again in the early 1940s, before it was decided to completely replace it with a more modern hall (1, 1942, p. 16).

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.

Sources

    (1) American Museum of Natural History. Annual Reports. New York: American Museum of Natural History, 1880-1942.
    (2) 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, 1914.
    (3) American Museum of Natural History"Pre-Cambrian eras exhibit, Geology Hall, 1952," Research Library Digital Special Collections, accessed June 21, 2017, http://lbry-web-007.amnh.org/digital/admin/items/show/47016.
    Information for this hall appears in the following Museum publications:
    American Museum of Natural History Annual Reports for years: 1910 (page 1910); 1912 (page 1912); 1914 (page 1914); 1916 (page 1916); 1923 (page 1923); 1923 (page 1923); 1924 (page 1924); 1925 (page 1925); 1925 (page 1925); 1929 (page 1929); 1930 (page 1930); 1936 (page 1936); 1937 (page 1937); 1938 (page 1938); 1939 (page 1939); 1940 (page 1940); 1941 (page 1941); 1942 (page 1942)
    American Museum of Natural History General Guides for years: 1904 (page 17); 1904 (page 20); 1904 (Table of Contents); 1911 (page 73); 1911 (page 87); 1911 (page 87); 1913 (page 101); 1913 (page 101); 1913 (page 87); 1914 (page 109); 1914 (page 109); 1914 (page 96); 1916 (page 103); 1916 (page 118); 1916 (page 118); 1918 (page 111); 1918 (page 111); 1918 (page 96); 1918 (page 96); 1919 (page 113); 1919 (page 113); 1919 (page 99); 1919 (page 99); 1921 (page 113); 1921 (page 113); 1921 (page 99); 1921 (page 99); 1922 (page 113); 1922 (page 113); 1922 (page 99); 1922 (page 99); 1923 (page 112); 1923 (page 112); 1923 (page 99); 1923 (page 99); 1926 (page 33); 1926 (page 39); 1927 (page 33); 1927 (page 39); 1928 (page 100); 1928 (page 100); 1930 (page 100); 1930 (page 100); 1931 (page 115); 1931 (page 115); 1931 (page 120); 1931 (Table of Contents); 1932 (page 115); 1932 (page 115); 1932 (page 120); 1932 (Table of Contents); 1933 (page 117); 1933 (page 117); 1933 (page 122); 1933 (Table of Contents 1934 (page 119); 1934 (page 119); 1934 (page 124); 1934 (Table of Contents); 1935 (page 119); 1935 (page 119); 1935 (page 124); 1935 (Table of Contents); 1936 (page 119); 1936 (page 119); 1936 (page 124); 1936 (Table of Contents); 1939 (page 19); 1939 (page 24); 1943 (page 19); 1943 (page 24); 1945 (page 19); 1945 (page 24); 1947 (page 19); 1947 (page 24); 1949 (page 19); 1949 (page 24)

Terms

place
New YorkExternal link
AMNH: Floor 4, Section 1. 1904 General Guide indicates the location of the hall in the North Wing section, Hall Number 408. Later General Guides indicate the South Wing section.

Related Corporate, Personal, and Family Names

Haas, Otto 1887-1976
Possible curator for hall (3).
Hall of Petrology
Exhibits from Hall of Geology transferred to Hall of Petrology (1, 1938, p. 2).
Michael Lerner-American Museum of Natural History Expedition to New Zealand And Australia
Expedition collected material for hall (1, 1941, p. 34).
Reeds, Chester A. (Chester Albert) 1882-1968
Assistant curator, designed new plan for hall (1, 1913, p. 48-49).
Ward-Coonley Meteorites (Hall)
Ward-Coonley Meteorites were exhibited in the Hall of Geology and Palaeontology (1, 1910, p. 46-47).

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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