American Museum of Natural History. Hall of Birds of the World (circa 1900-1946)

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Exist Dates

approximately 1900 - approximately 1946

Biographical or Historical Note

abstract
Permanent exhibition. Opened approximately 1900 and closed approximately 1946. Located on Floor 2, Section 1 from approximately 1900 to approximately 1946. The Hall of Birds of the World at the American Museum of Natural History was a systematic or synoptic hall which presented bird groups as well as instructional exhibits on the natural history and biology of birds (1, 1919, p. 53). Curators included Frank M. Chapman (AR 1926 p. 66). A hall of bird habitat dioramas, also called Hall of Birds of the World, opened in 1929, and was initially planned as a compliment to the original Hall of Birds of the World. While the halls were opened simultaneously from 1929 to approximately 1946, the diorama hall has outlived the first, systematic Hall of Birds of the World (2, 1926, p. 45).

Synoptic bird exhibits existed as early as 1871 in the Central Park Arsenal (2, 1872, p. 34, Appendix 1871; 3). The Museum's bird exhibits, initially exhibited as one collection of birds on the second, were diversified into different types of bird halls. The Hall of Birds of the World featured a 62-foot skeleton of a finback whale suspended from the ceiling and a reproduction of a giant manta ray, also suspended from the ceiling and which later moved to the Hall of Ocean Life. Visitors could view exhibits on the natural history and biology of birds, a synoptic collection of eggs (1, 1919, p. 53; 1, 1923, p. 53) and in 1928, a display of Birds in Flight, including condors, eagles, and geese, was suspended from the ceiling at the entrance to the hall (1, 1928, p. 53).

Annual Reports from 1926-1928, indicate that a new bird hall with habitat dioramas may have been considered a part of and compliment to the original Hall of Birds of the World, referring to the new hall as "twelve large built-in cases for habitat groups in the Hall of Birds of the World" (1, 1926, p. 145). The original Hall of Birds of the World last appears in the General Guides in 1945 and the diorama hall remains on view as of 2017. The Sanford Memorial Hall of the Biology of Birds, which opened in 1939, covered some similar topics to the original Hall of Birds of the World, such as the natural history and biology birds.

Sources

    (1) 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, 1919-1928.
    (2) American Museum of Natural History. Annual Reports. New York: American Museum of Natural History, 1871-1926.
    (3) American Museum of Natural History. "History 1869-1900," accessed July 28, 2017, http://www.amnh.org/about-the-museum/history/history-1869-1900/.
    (4) 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.
    Information for the hall appears in the following Museum publications:
    American Museum of Natural History Annual Reports for years 1916 (page 41); 1921 (page 44); 1923 (page 28); 1925 (page 122); 1926 (page 145); 1928 (page 6)
    American Museum of Natural History General Guides for years 1904 (Table of Contents, page 30, 32); 1911 (page 35, 43); 1913 (page 53); 1914 (page 56); 1916 (page 58); 1918 (page 47); 1919 (page 49); 1921 (page 49); 1922 (page 49); 1923 (page 49); 1926 (page 37); 1927 (page 38, 44); 1928 (page 53); 1930 (page 53); 1931 (page 66); 1932 (page, 66); 1933 (page 69); 1934 (Table of Contents, page69); 1935 (Table of Contents, page69); 1936 (Table of Contents, page 69); 1939 (page 92); 1943 (page 89); 1945 (page 88);

Terms

place
New YorkExternal link
AMNH: Floor 2, Section 1.

Related Corporate, Personal, and Family Names

Brewster, Frederick F.
Museum Trustee, special committee for hall (2, 1926, p. xxii).
Chapman, Frank M. (Frank Michler) 1864-1945
Curator of Ornithology during existence of hall.
Jaques, Francis Lee 1887-1969
Museum, artist, painted sky dome in hall (4, 2006, p. 11).
Pomeroy, Daniel E.
Museum Trustee, special committee for hall (2, 1926, p. xxii).
Sanford, L. C. (Leonard Cutler) 1868-1950
Curator of Ornithology during existence of hall (2, 1926, p. xxii).
Sturgis, Frank K., Mrs.
Donor, presented Birds of Paradise (1, 1913, p. 55).
Thorne, S. Brinckerhoff
Departmental committee for hall (2, 1928, p. xxi).
Whitney, C. V. (Cornelius Vanderbilt), 1899-1992External link
Departmental committee for hall (2, 1930, p. 192).

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: 2018 December 7


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