American Museum of Natural History. Hall of North American Forests.

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Exist Dates

1958 - present

Biographical or Historical Note

abstract
Permanent exhibition. Opened Spring 1958. Located on Floor 1, Section 5. The Hall of North American Forests at the American Museum of Natural History explores the ecology and variety of the Forests of North America from Canada to Mexico. Curators and scientists that contributed to the planning and installation of the hall included George H. Childs, scientific artist and curator in Invertebrate Zoology and Aquatic Biology, Richard H. Pough, chairman of the Department of Conservation and General Ecology, and Jack McCormick, in charge of Vegetation Studies and author of the companion book for the hall, The Living Forest. Gordon Reekie and Alice Gray contributed to the installation of exhibits. Artists that created the hall's dioramas included George Adams, John Babyak, Walter Blache, Raymond Bermudez, Lewis Brown, Gardell Christensen, Seymour Couzyn, Raymond deLucia, Anthony Faranda, Francis Lee Jaques, Freidoun Jalayer, James Hagenmeyer Studio, Jonas Brothers, Inc., Denver, Jonas Brothers, Inc., New York, Jonas Brothers, Inc., Seattle, Robert Kane, Alan Munro, Tomas Newbery, Joseph Nocera, George Petersen, Paul Richard, Reginald "Buddy" Sayre, Schwendeman's Taxidermy Studio, Charles Tornell, and James Perry Wilson. Support for the hall was provided by Mr. and Mrs. Robert D. Sterling. Curator and zoologist T. Donald Carter collected specimens for dioramas (1, 1952/53, p. 45; 1, 1956/57, p. 24; 1, 1957/58, p. 7, 20, 44, 49; 1, 1958/59 p. 57; 1, 1970/71, p. 3).

Construction for the Hall of North American Forests began on November 1, 1948. The halls were originally planned as a trio that included a Botany Hall, which was never built (1, 1948/49, p. [11]). The Hall of North American Forests were intended to have explanatory, instructive exhibits as well as dramatic, aesthetically-pleasing habitat dioramas (1, 1957/58, p. 9).

At the opening of the hall, the exhibits included Maple Syrup-Making in the Catskills 1870, The Vegetation of Middle North America (map), The Forest River-Bottom to Hilltop (mural), Fire in the Forest, How Nature Harvests the Forest, Forest Tree Diseases, Forest Insects, How Man Harvests the Forest, Forest Protection, Multiple Use of Forest Lands, How We Use Our Timber, Forest Soils, and Weather in the Forest (2, 1958, p. 220-23).

The highlights of the hall include an enlarged model of the Anopheles Mosquito, originally exhibited in the Hall of Public Health and Life of the Forest Floor, a display case 24-times enlarged with a giant millipede, earthworm, daddy longlegs, and carpenter ant. This hall also houses the Big Tree or Giant Sequoia, a section of the Mark Twain Tree, which began growing around A.D. 550 and was cut down in 1891 in the Big Stump Basin in Kings Canyon National Park. The section weighs 9 tons and has 1,342 annual rings with markers for major historical events (2, 1958, p. 220-232; 3, 1993, p. 26; 3, 2001, p. 51; 4).

The forest habitat dioramas are as follows:

Early October in Southern New Hampshire

Giant Cactus Forest

Jeffery Pine Forest

Mixed Deciduous Forest

Northern Spruce-Fir Forest

Oak Hickory Forest

Olympic Forest

Pinyon-Juniper Forest

Southeastern Coastal Plain Forest

Timberline in the Northern Rocky Mountains (5, 2006, p. 168)

Sources

    (1) American Museum of Natural History. Annual Reports. New York: American Museum of Natural History, 1948/49-1970/71.
    (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, 1958.
    (3) American Museum of Natural History. Official Guide: Images from around American Museum of Natural History. New York: American Museum of Natural History, 1993-2001.
    (4) American Museum of Natural History, "Hall of North American Forests," accessed May 14, 2017, http://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/permanent-exhibitions/biodiversity-and-environmental-halls/hall-of-north-american-forests.
    (5) Quinn, Stephen C. Windows on Nature: The Great Habitat Dioramas of the American Museum of Natural History. New York: Abrams; New York: American Museum of Natural History, 2006.
    Information for the hall appears in the following Museum publications:
    American Museum of Natural History Annual Reports for years 1948 (page [11]); 1950 (page 5, 35); 1951 (page 6, 32-33); 1952 (page 45, 50); 1953 (page 5, 53); 1954 (page 50); 1955 (page 42); 1956 (page 24, 36-38); 1957 (page 3, 6-7, 9-11, 20, 44-45, 49, 54); 1958 (page 34, 57); 1962 (page 3); 1970 (page 3); 1975 (page 31)
    American Museum of Natural History General Guides for years 1953 (Table of Contents, page 215); 1956 (Table of Contents, page 215); 1958 (Table of Contents, page 220); 1962 (page 12, 19); 1964 (page 12, 18-19)
    American Museum of Natural History: Pictorial Guide, 1967
    American Museum of Natural History: An Introduction, 1972
    American Museum of Natural History Official Guides for years 1984 (page 35); 1993 (page 26, 50); 2001 (Table of Contents, page 51, 60)

Terms

place
New YorkExternal link
AMNH: Floor 1, Section 5.

Related Corporate, Personal, and Family Names

Adams, George
Diorama taxidermist (5, 2006, p. 168).
Babyak, John
Diorama taxidermist (5, 2006, p. 168).
Bermudez, Ramon
Diorama foreground artist (5, 2006, p. 168).
Blache, Walter C.
Diorama foreground artist (5, 2006, p. 168).
Brown, Lewis Stacy
Diorama foreground artist (5, 2006, p. 168).
Childs, George Henshaw 1891-1963
Scientific artist, worked on exhibits in hall.
Christensen, Gardell Dano
Diorama taxidermist (5, 2006, p. 168).
Couzyn, Seymour
Diorama taxidermist (5, 2006, p. 168).
DeLucia, Raymond H.
Diorama foreground artist (5, 2006, p. 168).
Faranda, Anthony
Diorama foreground artist (5, 2006, p. 168).
Jalayer, Freidoun
Diorama foreground artist (5, 2006, p. 168).
James Hagenmayer Studio
Diorama taxidermist (5, 2006, p. 168).
Jaques, Francis Lee 1887-1969
Diorama background artist (5, 2006, p. 168).
Jonas Brothers, Inc., New York
Diorama taxidermist (5, 2006, p. 168).
Jonas Brothers, Inc., Seattle
Diorama taxidermist (5, 2006, p. 168).
Kalmenoff, Matthew
Diorama background artist (5, 2006, p. 168).
Kane, Robert W. 1910-1982
Diorama background artist (5, 2006, p. 168).
Munro, Alan R.External link
Diorama foreground artist (5, 2006, p. 168).
Newbery, Tomas Horacio, 1928-
Diorama foreground artist (5, 2006, p. 168).
Nocera, Joseph
Diorama taxidermist (5, 2006, p. 168).
Petersen, George E.
Diorama foreground artist (5, 2006, p. 168).
Richard, Paul Thomas
Diorama foreground artist (5, 2006, p. 168).
Sayre, Reginald J.
Diorama foreground artist (5, 2006, p. 168).
Schwendeman Taxidermy Studio
Diorama taxidermist (5, 2006, p. 168).
Tornell, Charles B.
Diorama foreground artist (5, 2006, p. 168).

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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