American Museum of Natural History. Hall of Petrology.

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Exist Dates

1937 - approximately 1950-1952

Biographical or Historical Note

Permanent exhibition. Opened approximately 1938 and closed approximately 1950-1952. Located on Floor 3, Section 7a. The Hall of Petrology at the American Museum of Natural History was closely associated with the Hall of Geology and Invertebrate Palaeontology. The Hall of Petrology or Rock History presented a graphic visualization of the basic processes of rock formation, petrology, and ore deposits as well as the application of the science of geology to modern life and the industrial world (1, 1938, p. 2; 1, 1939, p.7). Plans for the hall were prepared by Curator Chester A. Reed, and WPA artists Frank Vallone, Paul Brabazon, and Andrew R. Janson created volcano paintings on curved surfaces. Models of New Jersey and New York were produced by A.H. Niles and I.C. Conforti (1, 1937, p. 12).

The hall featured paintings of famous volcanoes, including those of Mt. Lassan, Mt. Pelee, Vesuvius, Sakurajima, and Kilauea (1, 1937, p. 12). The hall also exhibited specimens of magma, intrusive igneous rocks, sedimentary rocks, structural geology, metamorphic rocks, economic geology and ore-bearing rocks, with exhibits depicting the processes that produce coal, the history of coal in the United States, and the interior of the earth (2, 1949, p. 26). Draftsman M.P. Gagliardi worked on a relief model of the Hudson Submarine Canyon based on coast and geodetic survey maps and sonic depth sounding which were supplied by Dr. A.C. Veatch. A relief model of Bryce Canyon by WPA artists was installed as entrance feature (1, 1937, p. 12).


    (1) American Museum of Natural History. Annual Reports. New York: American Museum of Natural History, 1937-1939.
    (2) General Guide to the Exhibition Halls of the American Museum of Natural History. New York: American Museum of Natural History, 1949.
    Information for the hall appears in the following Museum publications:
    American Museum of Natural History Annual Reports for years 1937 (page 12); 1938 (page 2); 1939 (page 7); 1941 (page 8)
    American Museum of Natural History General Guides for years 1939 (page 18, 26); 1943 (Table of Contents, page 18, 24, 26); 1945 (Table of Contents, page 18, 26); 1947 (Table of Contents, page 18, 26); 1949 (Table of Contents, page 18, 26)


New YorkExternal link
AMNH: Floor 3, Section 7a. Located in corridor adjacent to Hall 7.

Related Corporate, Personal, and Family Names

Brabazon, Paul
WPA artist, model of 1914 eruption of Sakurajima (1, 1937, p. 12).
Building Stones (Exhibit)
The Building Stones were moved to the Hall of Petrology in 1937 (1, 1937, p. 12).
Conforti, I.C.
Artist, model of New York City (1, 1937, p. 12).
Gagliardi, M.P.
Worked on Hudson submarine relief map (1, 1937, p. 12).
Janson, Andrew R. 1900-
WPA artist, model of Kilauea (1, 1937, p. 12).
Niles, A.H.
Artist, model of New Jersey (1, 1937, p. 12).
Reeds, Chester A. (Chester Albert) 1882-1968
Curator, created plan for hall (1, 1937, p. 12).
Vallone, Frank
WPA artist, models of Vesuvius, Pompeii, Pelee(1, 1937, p. 12).
Veatch, A. C. (Arthur Clifford), 1878-1938External link
Geology, gathered information used for Hudson models (1, 1937, p. 12).

Related Resources

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: Iris Lee
Last modified: 2018 December 7


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