American Museum of Natural History. Hall of the Natural History of Man.

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Exist Dates

approximately 1932-1934 - approximately 1959-1960

Biographical or Historical Note

abstract
Permanent exhibition. Opened approximately 1932-1934 and closed approximately 1959-1960. Located on Floor 3, Section 4. The Hall of the Natural History of Man at the American Museum of Natural History was created under the supervision of the Departments of Comparative Anatomy and Anthropology and covered topics related to physical anthropology. The curators for the hall were Harry L. Shapiro and William K. Gregory. George E. Brewer and Harry C. Raven created exhibits for the hall (1, 1931, p. 46-47; 1, 1932, p. 12).

The Hall of the Natural History of Man was divided into two parts: Human and Comparative Anatomy and the Races of Man. Exhibits included Man in His Cosmic Aspect; The Skeleton from Fish to Man; The Position of Man Among the Vertebrates; Exhibits Illustrating Human Biology; Organ Systems of Sharks and Man; Elements of the Locomotor Apparatus; Maintenance of Upright Posture; Hands and Feet of Primates; Embryology; Comparative Embryology from Fish to Man; Skulls, Jaws, and Teeth; Man Among the Primates; Elements of the Nervous System; Rise of the Human Brain; and The Brain and its Functions. The hall also included a series of model vertebrate heads, models of facial muscles, an exhibit that divided man by different demographic groups, an exhibit explaining the science of physical anthropology, the Family Tree of Man with model skulls, and the mounted skeleton of "Meshie", a domesticated chimpanzee who lived with Harry C. Raven (2, 1934, p. 103-105; 2, 1939, p. 114-117; 2, 1943, p. 125; 1, 1938, p. 10). Another, related exhibit, the Early Races of Man, which featured model heads of hominids, appeared in the Age of Man Hall (2, 1939, p. 118). The hall was replaced in concept by the Hall of Human Biology in 1961.

Sources

    (1) American Museum of Natural History. Annual Reports. New York: American Museum of Natural History, 1931-1938.
    (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, 1934-1943.
    Information for the hall appears in the following Museum publications:
    American Museum of Natural History Annual Reports for years 1904 (page 22); 1911 (page 60); 1912 (page 71); 1914 (page 75); 1926 (page 22); 1930 (page 38, 42, 53); 1931 (page 47, 60); 1932 (page 58, 61, 76, 96); 1935 (page 12, 13); 1936 (page 35, 48); 1937 (page 18); 1938 (page 10); 1940 (page 22); 1941 (page 22); 1944 (page 1); 1946 (page 13)
    American Museum of Natural History General Guides for years 1934 (Table of Contents, page 102); 1935 (Table of Contents, page 102); 1936 (Table of Contents, page 102); 1939 (page 18, 114); 1943 (page 18, 121); 1945 (page 18, 121); 1947 (page 18, 121); 1949 (page 18, 121); 1953 (Floor plans, page 157); 1956 (page 161); 1958 (page 163)

Terms

place
New YorkExternal link
AMNH: Floor 3, Section 4. [Additional location information: the hall was located in the Southwest Wing, Hall Number 3-B. In 1953 General Guides, Biology of Man is indicated on the Third Floor of the Floor Plan. The content in the guide refers to Natural History of Man and Comparative Anatomy.]

Related Corporate, Personal, and Family Names

Brewer, George
Supervised preparation of human anatomy models for hall (1, 1931, p. 46-47).
Dawson, Beryl
Created wall chart exhibited in hall (1, 1936, p. 35).
Gregory, William K. (William King) 1876-1970
Curator for hall (1, 1932, p. 12).
Hall of Human Biology
The Hall of Human Biology replaced the Hall of the Natural History of Man.
Have you ever seen….the Knockout Fist of Joe Louis? (Exhibition)
associated dates: 1946 June 8-1946 June
Raven, Henry Cushier 1889-1944
Curator for hall (1, 1932, p. 12).
Shapiro, Harry L. (Harry Lionel) 1902-1990
Curator for hall (1, 1931, 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: 2019 January 25


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