The American Museum Congo Expedition (1909-1915) was sponsored by the
American Museum of Natural History and made possible through the support of the
Belgian government. The expedition party consisted of just two men. Herbert
Lang, a German-born taxidermist and mammalogist was Expedition leader and
photographer; James Paul Chapin, a student and ornithologist who worked at the
Museum was selected to be his Assistant. The main goal was to expand the
Museum’s collection of African zoological specimens, but Lang was also tasked
with acquiring ethnographic material. The Museum was particularly eager to
obtain specimens of the recently discovered (1901) okapi and the square-lipped,
or white, rhinoceros. Lang and Chapin successfully traveled throughout the Congo
region in central Africa (modern day Zaire) to ultimately collect a massive
fifty-four tons of material and over 9000 photographs for the Museum.
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