American Museum of Natural History. Hall of Late Mammals.

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Exist Dates

1902 - 1991

Biographical or Historical Note

abstract
Permanent exhibition. Opened approximately 1902 and closed 1990-1991. Located on Floor 4, Section 3. The Hall of Late Mammals at the American Museum of Natural History exhibited fossil mammals from many periods, including specimens collected by the Third Asiatic Expedition (1, 1923, p. 32). In 1904 it was the Museum's only fossil mammal hall, but by 1911 it exhibited Tertiary mammals and the later fossil mammals moved into the Hall of the Age of Man (2, 1904, p. 13; 2, 1911, p. 77). After the closure of the Age of Man Hall and the opening of the Hall of Early Mammals in the 1950s and 1960s, the Hall of Late Mammals exhibited more advanced fossil mammals such as those formerly in the Age of Man Hall (2, 1962, p. 37). Exhibits were periodically modified over many years, and the hall was rearranged in the 1930s and 1940s, between 1971 and 1973, and again in 1988-1989 with assistance from exhibition coordinator Lowell Dingus (1, 1932, p. 60; 1, 1971/72 p. 31; 1, 1972/73, p. 8; AR 1988-1989 p. 38). Curators for the hall included Edwin H. Colbert, Henry Fairfield Osborn, and Walter Granger (1, 1933, p. 6: 1, 1937, p. 12; 1, 1941, p. 9).

The Hall of Late Mammals, along with contemporary and later fossil mammal halls, had its origins in the original fourth floor fossil exhibits from the Museum's 1877 building, which included dinosaurs. The hall, initially the Hall of Fossil Vertebrates, even exhibited a small collection of dinosaurs before the fossil reptiles were transferred to their own hall. By 1903 the hall, now named the Fossil Mammal Hall exhibited the Frick Collection, including primitive hoofed mammals, mastodons, elephants, carnivores, and even-toed hoofed mammals, and the Evolution of the Horse (3, 1902; 2, 1904, p. 13; 1, 1987/88, p. 49). By 1911, the new Quaternary Mammal Hall, later named the Age of Man Hall, opened and the mastodons, mammoths, and other advanced mammals were moved there. The Fossil Mammals of the Tertiary Period, as the Hall of Late Mammals was then known, exhibited fossil camels and giraffes; giant pigs and pygmy hippopotamus; ancestors of the rhinoceros; primitive dogs and cats, including the saber-toothed tiger; titanotheres and uintatheres; and the Evolution of the Horse, which included the skeleton of Eohippus, and paintings and models by Charles R. Knight (2, 1911, p. 74-80). By 1919, fossil primates, rodents, and marsupials were added (2, 1919, p. 106).

Specimens may have moved between the Hall of the Age of Man and the Hall of Late Mammals during hall revisions. Some specimens from the Late Mammals Hall, such as the Toxodon, Glyptodon, Macrauchenia, Uintatherium, and giant sloths appear in the Hall of Early Mammals in the 1950s. The mammoths and mastodons moved to the Hall of Late Mammals following the closure of the Hall of the Age of Man in the 1960s (2, 1953, p. 64-67; 4, 1967). 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 (1, 1990/91 p. 1). Many of the same fossil exhibits from the previous halls can be viewed in the current halls.

Sources

    (1) American Museum of Natural History. Annual Reports. New York: American Museum of Natural History, 1923-1990/91.
    (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, 1904-1962.
    (3) Matthew, W.D., The Hall of Fossil Vertebrates. New York: American Museum of Natural History, 1902.
    (4) American Museum of Natural History. American Museum of Natural History: A Pictorial Guide. New York: American Museum of Natural History, 1967.
    Information for the hall appears in the following Museum publications:
    American Museum of Natural History Annual Reports for years: 1919 (page 94); 1921 (page 96); 1923 (page 32); 1927 (page 32); 1928 (page 6); 1929 (page 59); 1930 (page 38, 52); 1931 (page 60); 1932 (page 59); 1936 (page 9); 1937 (page 11); 1969 (page 43); 1971 (page 31, 43); 1972 (page 8, 24, 32); 1985 (page 55); 1986 (page 55); 1987 (page 49); 1988 (page 38, 45); 1990 (page 1)
    American Museum of Natural History General Guides for years: 1911 (page 73, 77); 1913 (page 87, 90); 1914 (Table of Contents, 96, 99); 1916 (page 103, 108); 1918 (Table of Contents, 96, 101); 1919 (Table of Contents, 99, 101); 1920 (Table of Contents, 99, 103) 1921 (Table of Contents, 99, 103); 1922 (Table of Contents, 99, 103); 1923 (Table of Contents, 99, 103); 1926 (page 31, 39); 1927 (page 31, 39); 1928 (page 93); 1929 (Table of Contents, 93); 1930 (Table of Contents, 93); 1931 (Table of Contents, 107); 1932 (Table of Contents, 107); 1933 (Table of Contents, 109); 1934 (Table of Contents, 111); 1935 (Table of Contents, 111); 1936 (Table of Contents, 111); 1939 (page 19, 45); 1943 (page 19, 45); 1945 (page 46); 1947 (page 46); 1949 (page 46); 1953 (Floor plans, 67); 1956 (Table of Contents, 74); 1958 (Table of Contents, 74); 1962 (page 13, 37, 44); 1964 (page 13, 37, 44)
    Matthew, W.D., The Hall of Fossil Vertebrates. Supplement to the American Museum Journal Vol. II, No. , January, 1902, Guide Leaflet No. 3
    Matthew, W.D., The Collection of Fossil Vertebrates: A Guide Leaflet to the Exhibition Halls of Vertebrate Palaeontology at the American Museum of Natural History. Published by the Museum as a supplement to the American Museum Journal Vol. III, No. 5, October, 1903, Guide Leaflet No. 12
    American Museum of Natural History Pictorial Guide 1967.
    American Museum of Natural History: An Introduction 1972, page 5, 9, 67.
    American Museum of Natural History Official Guide 1984, page 22.

Terms

place
New YorkExternal link
AMNH: Floor 4, Section 3. 1926, 1927, 1934-1936 General Guides indicate the hall was located in Southeast Wing section. 1956, 1958 General Guides indicate the Hall Number 4-U.

Related Corporate, Personal, and Family Names

Colbert, Edwin H. (Edwin Harris) 1905-2001
Curator for hall (1, 1937, p. 11-1).
Dingus, LowellExternal link
Exhibition Coordinator (1, 1988/89, p. 38).
Evolution of the Horse: Sysonby (Exhibition)
associated dates: 1908 November 13, 1908-1908 December/1909 January, approximately
Granger, Walter 1872-1941
Curator for hall (1, 1941, p. 9).
Hall of Early Mammals
Companion hall from 1953 to closure
Hall of the Age of Man
Fossils exhibited moved between the Halls of Late Mammals and Age of Man (2, 1911, p. 77; 2, 1962 p. 37).
Knight, Charles Robert 1874-1953
Artist, murals in hall 2, 1911, p. 74-80).
Museum Art and Methods (Exhibition)
associated dates: 1907 May-1907 May
Osborn, Henry Fairfield 1857-1935
Curator for hall (1, 1933, p. 6).
Paul and Irma Milstein Hall of Advanced Mammals
The Paul and Irma Milstein Hall of Advanced Mammals replaced the Hall of Late Mammals (1, 1990/91 p. 1).
Rainey Asiatic Expedition 1918-1919
Expedition collected material for hall (1, 1923, p. 32)

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 10


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