American Museum of Natural History. Harry Frank Guggenheim Hall of Minerals.

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Exist Dates

1976 May 21 - 2017 October 26

Biographical or Historical Note

abstract
Permanent exhibition. Opened May 21, 1976 and closed October 26, 2017. Located on Floor 1, Section 8. The Harry Frank Guggenheim Hall of Minerals at the American Museum of Natural History exhibited specimens from the Museum's collection of more than 100,000 gems and minerals with its companion hall, the Morgan Memorial Hall of Gems. It opened as part of a three-part exhibition with the Arthur Ross Hall of Meteorites and the Morgan Memorial Hall of Gems on May 21, 1976; The new gem and mineral halls directly replaced the old Morgan Memorial Hall of Minerals and Gems. The Guggenheim hall, along with the Morgan Memorial Hall of Gems, emphasize the necessity for people to scale their desire for and use of minerals and other resources to the world's finite supply.

The Harry Frank Guggenheim Hall of Minerals at the American Museum of Natural History opened as part of a three-part exhibition with the Arthur Ross Hall of Meteorites and the Morgan Memorial Hall of Gems on May 21, 1976 (1, 1975/76 p. 20); the latter two of which replaced the old Morgan Memorial Hall of Minerals and Gems (1, 1969/70 p. 29). Construction began in May 1973 and the three halls opened on May 21, 1976. The Guggenheim hall, along with the Morgan Memorial Hall of Gems, emphasize the necessity for people to scale their desire for and use of minerals and other resources to the world's finite supply (1, 1973/74, p. 21) The curators of the Hall of Minerals were D.M. Vincent Manson from Minerology with the assistance of Robert Middleton of the New York State Council on the Arts Earth Science (1, 1974/75, p. 20) and with contributions from Christopher J. Schuberth of the Department of Education. Planning for the gem and mineral halls began in 1968 and construction began in May 1973. The new Morgan Hall and the Guggenheim Hall occupied a space on the first floor that measured 65’ x 160’ (5). The gem and mineral halls were designed to mimic a cave-like atmosphere and had earth-colored carpeting on both the floor and the walls. The hall was used not only for permanent collections but for temporary exhibits on related topics (1, 1979/80, p. 33).

Sponsors for the building of the hall were the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, George F. Baker Trust, the Cerro Fund and Corporation, Mrs. Catherine Cook, Christian Hohenlohe, the Phelps Dodge Foundation, the Arthur Ross Foundation, St. Joe Minerals Corporation, and Texas Gulf, Inc. (4).

The new halls, while very different in presentation, exhibited many of the same specimens as the original Morgan Hall of Minerals and Gems, including William Boyce Thompson collection of minerals in the Guggenheim hall. (1,1974/75, p. 4).

Major subject treated in the hall were (5):

*The properties of minerals

*Mineral-forming environments

*Systematic mineralogy

*Interaction of minerals and energy

A sequence of cases on one side of the hall presented the system of classifying minerals based on chemical composition such as native elements, oxides, silicates, and others, with examples displayed. Additional cases were devoted to esthetic minerals, large specimens, geodes, and microminerals. At the center of the hall, one section depicted the chemical, physical, optical, and other properties of minerals, and another demonstrated the eight environments in which minerals form (2)

Highlights included (1, 1985/86, p. 36; 2):

*Giant topaz from Brazil

*4.5-ton block of azurite-malachite ore from Arizona

*Nephrite jade slab from Poland

*Newmont Azurite from Namibia

*California gold specimens, including crystallized gold, gold dust, and gold leaves from the Sierra Nevada range and paraphernalia of mining and assaying from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries

*"Forever Gold," a film narrated by George Plimpton in a dedicated theater

The Harry Frank Guggenheim Hall of Minerals and the Morgan Memorial Hall of Gems closed on October 26, 2017 to be replaced by the Roberto and Allison Mignone Halls of Gems and Minerals (3).

This is a condensed summary of the exhibition. For additional information, see Sources and/or Related Resources.

Sources

    (1) American Museum of Natural History. Annual Reports. New York: American Museum of Natural History, 1969/1970-1985/1986
    (2) American Museum of Natural History. Harry Frank Guggenheim Hall of Minerals, accessed October 3, 2016, http://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/permanent-exhibitions/earth-and-planetary-sciences-halls/harry-frank-guggenheim-hall-of-minerals.
    (3) American Museum of Natural History. Press Release. "American Museum of Natural History to Design All-New Halls of Gems and Minerals." October 2017.
    (4) American Museum of Natural History. Press Release. "Fact Sheet: Hall of Minerals and Gems." April 23, 1976. DR 101 American Museum of Natural History Library..
    (5) American Museum of Natural History. Press Release. "Fact Sheet: Hall of Minerals and Gems." January 27, 1976. DR 101 American Museum of Natural History Library.

Chronology

  • 1968: Planning for new halls of minerals and gems begins
  • 1973 May: Construction begins on new halls.
  • 1976 May 21: Hall opens alongside the Morgan Memorial Hall of Gems and Arthur Ross Hall of Meteorites.
  • 1986 March 10: Forever Gold, a film narrated by George Plimpton, installed and opens in hall.
  • 2017 October 26: The Morgan Memorial Hall of Gems and the Harry Frank Guggenheim of Minerals close for renovations with plans to reopen as the Roberto and Allison Mignone Halls of Minerals and Gems.

Terms

place
New YorkExternal link
AMNH: Floor 1, Section 8.

Related Corporate, Personal, and Family Names

American Gemstone Jewelry Collection (Exhibition)
associated dates: 1979 December 3-1980 January 27
American Museum of Natural History. Arthur Ross Hall of Meteorites.
Opened at the same time as the Harry Frank Guggenheim Hall of Minerals and the Morgan Memorial Hall of Gems. Meteorites were also displayed in the former Morgan Memorial Hall of Minerals and Gems (approximately 1890-1974), which new halls of mineral and gems directly replaced.
American Museum of Natural History. Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences.
Related department
American Museum of Natural History. Department of Mineral Sciences.
Related department
American Museum of Natural History. Morgan Memorial Hall of Gems.
Companion hall
American Museum of Natural History. Morgan Memorial Hall of Minerals and Gems.
The Harry Frank Guggenheim Hall of Minerals and the Morgan Memorial Hall of Gems replaced the Morgan Memorial Hall of Minerals and Gems, which was open from approximately 1890-1974.
Arthur Ross FoundationExternal link
Sponsor of hall (2)
Cerro Fund and Corporation
Sponsor of hall (2)
Cook, Catherine
Sponsor of hall (2)
George F. Baker TrustExternal link
Sponsor of hall (2)
Harlow, George E.
Curator, Earth and Planetary Sciences
Harry Frank Guggenheim FoundationExternal link
Sponsor of hall (2)
Hohenlohe, Christian
Sponsor of hall (2)
Manson, D. M. Vincent
Department of Minerology, curator for hall (1, 1974/75, p. 20).
Middleton, Robert
New York State Council on the Arts Earth Science Intern, worked on exhibits in hall with D. Vincent Manson (1, 1974/75, p. 20).
Phelps Dodge Foundation
Sponsor of hall (2)
Plimpton, GeorgeExternal link
Narrator of film in hall, "Forever Gold" (1, 1985/86, p. 36).
Schuberth, Christopher J.
Department of Education, worked on hall (1, 1971/72 p. 28).
St. Joe Minerals CorporationExternal link
Sponsor of hall (2)
Texas Gulf, Inc.External link
Sponsor of hall (2)

Related Resources

American Museum of Natural History. Annual Reports. New York: American Museum of Natural History.
1974 (page 4, 20); 1978 (page 7); 1979 (page 33); 1980 (page 2); 1983 (page 58); 1984 (page 35); 1985 (page 36, 66); 1987 (page 43); 1988 (page 7, 31); 1989 (page 32); 1990 (page 6, 28, 60); 1993 (page 45); 2006 (page 11)
American Museum of Natural History annual reports, 1902-2001.
Department of Mineralogy/Mineral Sciences/Earth and Planetary Sciences for years 1962-1963, 1967-1968, 1969-1970, 1972-1973, 1973-1974, 1974-1975, 1975-1976, 1977-1978, 1983-1984, 1993-1994, 1994-1995; Department of Exhibition and Graphic Arts for years 1967-1968, 1973-1974, 1975-1976
American Museum of Natural History. The Official Guide to the American Museum of Natural History. New York: American Museum of Natural History, 1984.
Pages 57, 58
American Museum of Natural History. Official Guide: Images from Around the American Museum of Natural History. New York: American Museum of Natural History, 1993.
Page 6
American Museum of Natural History. American Museum of Natural History: The Official Guide. New York: American Museum of Natural History, 2001.
Page 60
American Museum of Natural History press releases, 1933-1990s.
"Amethyst Lore is Focus of Minerals Exhibit at American Museum of Natural History." May 30, 1974; "Fact Sheet: Hall of Minerals and Gems." January 26, 1976/April 23, 1976; "Gemstones, Minerals Give Off Full Luster in Elegant New Exhibition Hall Opening at American Museum of Natural History." January 26, 1976/April 27, 1976; "Famous Diamonds Shine at Opening of New Hall of Minerals and Gems at American Museum of Natural History." April 23, 1976/May 12, 1976/May 21, 1976; Calendar of Events. May 1976; "American Museum’s ‘Best Friends’ to Remain through November; Flaming Star and Golden Hope are Added to Diamond Display in New Gem Hall." June 28, 1976; "Bicentennial Diamond Necklace Makes World Debut at American Museum of Natural History." July 12, 1976; "’The Story Diamonds’ Open at American Museum Feb. 11 Exhibition Includes Spectacular Collection of Naturally-Colored Diamonds." January 27, 1981; "Media Advisory: Three of World’s Most Spectacular Gems to Go on Display at American Museum." October 4, 1983; "’Forever Gold,’ New Video Presentation, Opens Here March 10." February 28, 1986; "Exhibit of Colored Diamonds to Open at Museum on March 9." March 4, 1988
American Museum of Natural History Special Collections photographic drawers
Repository: AMNH Special Collections [Black and white photo prints under Permanent Halls/“Gems and Minerals”]
American Museum of Natural History Special Collections vertical files
Repository: AMNH Special Collections [“Morgan Hall Background”; news articles; black and white photo prints]
Exhibition Tape Collection
Floor 6, Stack 6-39
Forever gold digital files. American Museum of Natural History Library Special Collections.
Date of resource: 2012; Contains two digital video files, mp4. Video content played simultaneously on two screens, left and right, in the AMNH Harry Frank Guggenheim Hall of Minerals.; Identifier: dig_TBD
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.
subjectOf
Mainstreaming the visually handicapped in the Hall of Meteorites, Minerals & Gems at the American Museum of Natural History / by Richard P. Hulser.
Date of resource: 1979; vi, 59 leaves : ill. ; 28 cm.; QH70.U52 N45 1979
Phelps Dodge Corporation reports, 1966-1967. American Museum of Natural History Library Special Collections.
DR 168; 1 box (2 linear feet)
The history of meteoritics and key meteorite collections : fireballs, falls and finds / edited by G.J.H. McCall, A.J. Bowden and R.J. Howarth.
Date of resource: 2006; vi, 513 p. : ill. (some col.), maps ; 26 cm; Geological Society special publication ; no. 256; QB755 .H57 2006
subjectOf
The Morgan Memorial Hall of Gems, The Harry Frank Guggenheim Hall of Minerals. American Museum of Natural History Library Special Collections.
Date of resource: 1989; Two videocassettes for "Forever Gold", a video that displayed in the AMNH Harry Frank Guggenheim Hall of Minerals and the Morgan Memorial Hall of Gems. One audio reel called "Energy & minerals pulsed"; Identifier: EXH.034

Written by: Clare O'Dowd
Last modified: 2019 February 13


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