American Museum of Natural History. Hall of Primates.

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Exist Dates

1904 - present

Biographical or Historical Note

abstract
Permanent exhibition. Opened approximately 1904. Located on Floor 3, Section 2. The Hall of Primates at the American Museum of Natural History explores the mammalian order that includes apes, monkeys, and humans. Exhibits shown in the first iteration of this hall may have existed as early as 1878 when mammals were exhibited on the lower story of the Museum. The hall has gone through three renovations: 1916-1919, 1927-1932, and 1960-1964 (1, 1932 p. 62; 1964-1965 p. 4; 1879 p. [0]).

Circa 1911-1913, the Hall of Primates featured models and skeletons of orangutans, monkeys, gorillas, and a chimpanzee named "Mr. Crowley". In addition to primates, the hall displayed rodents, including bats, mice, and squirrels, and a model of a North Atlantic right whale was suspended from the ceiling (2,1911 p. 55; 1913. 64). Other exhibits were temporarily displayed in the hall, including small groups from the local bird collection before they moved to their own space (1, 1913 p. 36).

The hall was rearranged around 1916-1919, with the additions of an African red monkey, spider monkeys, howling monkey, lemurs, and an exhibit of the Systematic Series of Primates from man to lemurs arranged in wall cases around the room (2, 1918 p. 67). The orangutan group, then thirty-five years old, was rearranged in 1919 (1, 1919 p. 89). In 1936, gorillas collected and mounted by Carl Akeley were temporarily exhibited outside the Hall of Primates (2, 1931 p. 77) while awaiting completion of a habitat group within the Hall of African Mammals.

According to the 1932 Annual Report, the central section of the hall had been closed to the general public, but finally reopened in 1932 after many years of rearrangement (1, 1932, p. 62), and it was rearranged again in 1941. Later, the hall was further renovated as part of the ten-year exhibition expansion program to create and update halls and the Hall of Primates reopened in June 1964, with a presentation still seen today in 2017. (1, 1964-1965 p. 4). Divided into families, the hall features skeletons, mounted specimens, and artwork of primates that demonstrates relationships and the unique characteristics among primate species. The hall also features the Family Tree of Primates, which includes humans (3; 4, 1967).

Additional location information: South Pavillion section is indicated in the AMNH General Guides from 1931-1936.

Sources

    1) American Museum of Natural History. Annual Reports. New York: American Museum of Natural History, 1879-1964/65.
    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, 1904-1931.
    3) American Museum of Natural History. "Hall of Primates" accessed July 28, 2017, http://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/permanent-exhibitions/mammal-halls/hall-of-primates.
    4) American Museum of Natural History. The 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 1913 (page 36); 1915 (page 109); 1916 (page 42, 43); 1917 (page 46, 83); 1918 (page 42); 1919 (page 89); 1922 (page 38); 1924 (page 142); 1925 (page 18, 119); 1926 (page 33); 1927 (page 32, 33); 1928 (page 35); 1929 (page 47); 1931 (page 47); 1932 (page 62); 1933 (page 6); 1941 (page 21); 1960 (page 45, 63); 1961 (page 38); 1962 (page 39, 58); 1963 (page 46); 1964 (page 4); 1968 (page 10); 1986 (page 65); 2010 (page 8)
    American Museum of Natural History General Guides for years 1904 (page 24); 1911 (page 55); 1913 (page 64); 1914 (page 71); 1916 (page 75); 1918 (Table of Contents, page 67); 1919 (Table of Contents, page 69); 1921 (Table of Contents, page 69); 1922 (Table of Contents, page 69); 1923 (Table of Contents, page 69); 1926 (page 38); 1927 (page 38); 1928 (Table of Contents, page 66, 67); 1930 (Table of Contents, page 66, 67); 1931 (Table of Contents, page 77, 78); 1932 (Table of Contents, page 77); 1933 (Table of Contents, page 79, 80); 1934 (Table of Contents, page 84, 85); 1935 (Table of Contents, page 84, 85); 1936 (Table of Contents, page 84, 85); 1939 (page 18, 114); 1943 (page 18, 121); 1945 (page 18, 121); 1947 (page 18, 121); 1949 (page 18, 121); 1953 (Floor plans, page 155); 1956 (page 161); 1958 (page 163); 1962 (page 13); 1964 (page 13)
    American Museum of Natural History Original Guides for years 1984 (page 34); 1993 (page 31, 50); 2001 (Table of Contents, page 62)
    American Museum of Natural History Pictorial Guide 1967.
    American Museum of Natural History: An Introduction 1972, page 6, 7, 126.
    American Museum of Natural History Floor Plan, Summer 2012

Terms

place
New YorkExternal link
AMNH: Floor 3, Section 2.

Related Corporate, Personal, and Family Names

Otavipithecus: Ape or Ancestor? (Exhibition)
associated dates: 1992 March 31-1992 May

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: 2019 February 15


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