New York State Roosevelt Memorial.

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Exist Dates

1936 - present

Biographical or Historical Note

abstract
Permanent exhibition. Opened 1936. Located on Floor 1, Section 12; Floor 2, Section 12. The New York State Memorial at the American Museum of Natural History consists of three parts, the Central Park West Façade, the Theodore Roosevelt Rotunda, and the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Hall, which has permanent exhibits on Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) and his conservation efforts, including the National Parks. The idea for the Memorial was first suggested by Henry Fairfield Osborn and was dedicated by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1936. The façade was designed by architect John Russell Pope and the equestrian statue of Theodore Roosevelt is by James Earle Fraser (1; 2, 1935; 3, 1936).

After the death of U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt in 1919, former Museum president and later chairman of the Board of Trustees, Henry Fairfield Osborn, suggested plans for the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial. The hall’s façade, designed by John Russell Pope, was modeled on the triumphal arches of ancient Rome. Flanking the façade are bas-relief sculptures by Edward Field Sanford, Jr., directly in front is a bronze statue of Theodore Roosevelt by James Earle Fraser, and atop the façade are sculptures of Daniel Boone, John James Audubon, William Clark, and Merriweather Lewis (1).

After arriving through the façade, visitors enter the Theodore Roosevelt Rotunda, which is an interior New York City landmark and now serves as the Museum's main entrance. The hall features quotes from Roosevelt’s writings and murals of his milestones in public service by William Andrew Mackay. After renovation the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Rotunda reopened in December 1991 featuring a scene with a 50-foot tall Barosaurus protecting its young from an Allosaurus (4; 5, 1987/88, p.1; 5, 1990/91 p. 1). The Rotunda is the former site of the Origami Christmas Tree erected during the holidays and has been home to other temporary exhibits, several of which are documented in images from the American Museum of Natural History Research Library's Digital Special Collections (5, 1960/61, p. 5; 6).

The Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Hall, below the Rotunda on the first floor features dioramas including the Elkhorn Ranch in North Dakota, a waterfront scene of Dutch New York, a deer group in the Adirondacks, and the Bird Sanctuary in Oyster Bay, Long Island (5, 1938, p.2), which was part of the Local Birds exhibit (7, 1943, p. 96). Artists responsible for the dioramas in the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Hall were James L. Clark, Albert E. Butler, Hanson Puthuff, George Petersen, Gardell Christensen, James Perry Wilson, Fred Schrer, Francis Lee Jaques, Raymond B. Potter, Ludwig Ferraglio, Armin Schmidt, George Frederick Mason, and Robert Rockwell (8, 2006, p. 169). The Bird Sanctuary diorama moved to the third floor to become the Hall of New York City Birds, and the diorama remains a part of the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Hall. The hall contained the New York State Exhibits, part of which would become the Hall of New York State Mammals and the Hall of New York City Birds (7, 1939, p.113).

In 1927, a narrow-width film was projected near the Adirondack deer group with the purpose of showing behaviors of the animals in the habitat group. It ran for 94 days with a count of 40,032 visitors having viewed it. This film exhibit was part of an effort to present visitors with new ways to learn about animal behaviors and was on display to the public before the hall's official opening in 1936.

The hall was re-envisioned in 2012 and reopened alongside the newly restored Bernard Family Hall of North American Mammals, in which dioramas feature many animals and natural sites Roosevelt worked to protect and conserve. When it reopened, the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Hall presented new exhibits featuring Roosevelt’s life as a young naturalist, National Parks: America’s Best Idea, a film by Ken Burns, and a life-size, seated bronze statue of Theodore Roosevelt as he appeared in a 1903 camping trip to Yosemite with John Muir (9).

Sources

    (1) American Museum of Natural History, "Central Park West Façade." American Museum of Natural History, accessed July 10, 2017, http://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/permanent-exhibitions/theodore-roosevelt-memorial/central-park-west-facade.
    (2) "Park Plaza Plans Shelved by Moses," New York Times, May 16, 1935.
    (3) "President Honors Cousin Here Today," New York Times, January 19, 1936.
    (4) American Museum of Natural History, "Theodore Roosevelt Rotunda" American Museum of Natural History, accessed July 10, 2017, http://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/permanent-exhibitions/theodore-roosevelt-memorial/theodore-roosevelt-rotunda.
    (5) American Museum of Natural History. Annual Reports. New York: American Museum of Natural History, 1938-1990//91.
    (6) American Museum of Natural History. Research Library Digital Special Collections, accessed July 10, 2017, http://images.library.amnh.org/digital
    (7) General Guide to the Exhibition Halls of the American Museum of Natural History. New York: American Museum of Natural History, 1936-1943. (8) 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.
    (8) 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.
    (9) American Museum of Natural History, "Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Hall" American Museum of Natural History, accessed July 10, 2017, http://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/permanent-exhibitions/theodore-roosevelt-memorial/theodore-roosevelt-memorial-hall.
    Information for the hall appears in the following Museum publications:
    American Museum of Natural History Annual Reports for years 1937 (page 13); 1938 (page 1); 1939 (page 9); 1953 (page 5); 1961 (page 3); 1981 (page 46); 1987 (page 60); 1990 (page 1); 1991 (page 3); 1992 (page 3)
    American Museum of Natural History General Guides for years 1939 (page 16, 17); 1943 (page 17); 1953 (Floor plans, page 21, 141); 1956 (page 23, 24, 145); 1958 (page 24, 147); 1962 (page 12, 43); 1964 (page 12)
    American Museum of Natural History: An Introduction 1972, page 8.
    American Museum of Natural History Official Guides for years 1993 (page 14, 50); 2001 (page 60, 61)

Terms

place
New YorkExternal link
AMNH: Floor 1, Section 12; Floor 2, Section 12

Related Corporate, Personal, and Family Names

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Black Achievers in Science (Exhibition)
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Brazilian Princess (Exhibition)
associated dates: 1986 January 16-1986
Burns, Ken, 1953-External link
Director, National Parks film featured in hall (9).
Butler, Albert E.
Supervisor, foreground, Elkhorn Ranch, Bird Sanctuary, Conservation dioramas (8, 2006, p. 169).
California Condor: A Species in Peril (Exhibition)
associated dates: 1980 August 15-1980 October 15
Can Man Survive? (Exhibition)
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Chinese Dinosaurs (Exhibition)
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Taxidermy, Elkhorn Ranch diorama (8, 2006, p. 169).
Clark, James L. (James Lippitt) 1883-1969
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Coelacanth (Exhibition)
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Coelacanth Babies: Born, Not Hatched (Exhibition)
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Exploring the Deep Frontier: The Adventure of Man in the Sea (Exhibition)
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Taxidermy, Bird Sanctuary diorama (8, 2006, p. 169).
First Annual Photographic Exhibit of the New York Entomological Society (Exhibition)
associated dates: 1949 May 17-1949 June 5
Fraser, James Earle 1876-1953
Sculptor, Theodore Roosevelt equestrian statue (1).
Fruit Flies: Famous and Infamous (Exhibition)
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Gem Pocket (Exhibition)
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Glories of the Sea: The Munyan Collection of Cone Shells (Exhibition)
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Hall of New York City Birds
Once a part of the New York State Exhibits, which were located in the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Hall (7, 1936, p. 73; 7, 1939, p. 113)
Hall of New York State Mammals
Once a part of the New York State Exhibits, which were located in the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Hall (7, 1936, p. 73; 7, 1939, p. 113)
Happy 50th Anniversary Bronx High School of Science (Exhibition)
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Horned Turtle From Down Under (Exhibition)
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In Search of Peking Man (Exhibition)
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Insect Watercolors by John Cody (Exhibition)
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It Only Takes One (Exhibition)
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It's Gold (Exhibition)
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Jaques, Francis Lee 1887-1969
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John James Audubon's Birds of North America (Exhibition)
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Jumbo: The World-Famous Elephant (Exhibition)
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Largest Flying Creature (Exhibition)
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Life Mask of Abraham Lincoln (Exhibition)
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Mackay, William Andrew 1878-1939
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Manhattan Building Stones: A Treasure Trove (Exhibition)
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Masks by Mail (Exhibition)
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Miniature Animal Sculptures by Louis Paul Jonas (Exhibition)
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Miniature Dog Models (Exhibition)
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Moving a Museum: The Rothschild Bird Collection (Exhibition)
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Native Life in Alaska (Exhibition)
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New Frontier of Life (Exhibition)
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Next Step Into Space (Exhibition)
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Old Dinosaurs, New Bones (Exhibition)
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Paracas Mummy (Exhibition)
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Petersen, George E.
Foreground, Elkhorn, Bird Sanctuary, Conservation dioramas (8, 2006, p. 169).
Pope, John Russell 1874-1937
Architect, façade (1).
Potter, Raymond
Taxidermy, Bird Sanctuary diorama (8, 2006, p. 169).
Preview: Man in Space (Exhibition)
associated dates: 1961 April 18-1963, approximately
Puthuff, Hanson 1875-1972
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associated dates: 1976 June-unknown
Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945External link
Dedicated hall, 1936 (3, 1936).
Roosevelt, Theodore 1858-1919
The New York State Roosevelt Memorial showcases memorabilia, quotes, and murals depicting the life of Theodore Roosevelt.
Sanford, Edward Field
Bas-relief sculptures, façade (1).
Satellite: First Step to Space (Exhibition)
associated dates: 1958 March 21-1958, approximately
Scherer, Fred F
Background and foreground, Bird Sanctuary diorama (8, 2006, p. 169).
Schmidt, Armin V.
Taxidermy, Bird Sanctuary diorama (8, 2006, p. 169).
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The Making of a Python (Exhibition)
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The Nature of Minerals (Exhibition)
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The Roof of the World (Exhibition)
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The Wooly Bear Caterpillar -- Folklore's Winter Weather Forecaster (Exhibition)
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Theodore Roosevelt (Exhibition)
associated dates: 1948 November 23-1949 March 1
Theodore Roosevelt Centennial (Exhibition)
associated dates: 1957 November-unknown
Theodore Roosevelt Park (Exhibition)
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Theodore Roosevelt: A Natural Naturalist (Exhibition)
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To Make Know How (Exhibition)
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Variations on a Theme -- Animal Designs (Exhibition)
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Wilson, James Perry 1889-1976
Background, Bird Sanctuary (8, 2006, p. 169).

Written by: Clare O'Dowd
Last modified: 2019 February 15


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