Bernard Family Hall of North American Mammals
Permanent exhibition. Opened April 8, 1942. Located on Floor 1, Section 13. The Bernard Family Hall of North American Mammals at the American Museum of Natural History features habitat dioramas of mammal species with each diorama depicting a particular time of year and day in specific North American locations (1, 1967). The hall was completed in 1954, 12 years following its opening in 1942. Additional dioramas of smaller species of North American Mammals can be found in the adjacent Hall of Small Mammals. The hall underwent one refurbishment in the 1980s (2, 1981/82, p. 48; 2, 1984/85, p. 52) and a major restoration in 2012 along with the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Hall (3). More than 25 Museum expeditions contributed to the hall, including the James Perry Wilson Expedition to Wyoming (1938) (4, 2001, p. 26). The original curator for the hall was Harold Anthony; artists for the dioramas included George Adams, Belmore Browne, James L. Clark, Albert E. Butler, James Carmel, Gardell Christensen, Raymond deLucia, Joseph Guerry, George Frederick Mason, George Petersen, Robert Rockwell, Carl Rungius, Charles Tornell, James Perry Wilson, and Paul M. Wright. Major donors and expedition financiers included Harold Clark, Harry P. Davison, Wilton Lloyd Smith, Robert McConnell, Richard K. Mellon, Harvey S. Mudd, and Beverly R. Robinson (6; 7, 2006, p. 167-168).
The hall succeeds an earlier hall, the Allen Hall of North American Mammals, which displayed mammal specimens in cases. Many of the dioramas in the Bernard Family Hall of North American Mammals represent President Theodore Roosevelt's conservation legacy with scenes from national parks, preserves, monuments, and refuges (5). The various locations for the dioramas include Denali National Park, Alaska, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, Gunflint Lake, Minnesota, Devil's Tower National Monument, Wyoming, Box Canyon, Sonora, Mexico, Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada, and Bear Mountain State Park, New York. At the entrance to the hall are two mini-dioramas depicting ice age scenes of extinct mammals in present-day Alaska and California (6, 1943, p. 97; 5).
In 2012, the Hall of North American Mammals underwent a major restoration with a team of artists recoloring fur, cleaning foreground materials, and restoring background paintings. Text for the dioramas was updated with the latest scientific information about featured species and geographic locations (5).
- The complete list of dioramas is as follows:
- Ice Age Animals, Alaska (mini-diorama)
- Ice Age Animals, California (mini-diorama)
- Alaska Moose
- Alaska Brown Bear
- American Bison and Pronghorn Antelope
- Bighorn Sheep
- Black Bear
- Black-tailed and Antelope Jackrabbit
- Canadian Lynx and Snowshoe Hare
- Caribou (Grant's Caribou)
- Caribou (Osborn Caribou)
- Cougar (Mountain Lion)
- Dall Sheep
- Eastern Cottontail Rabbit
- Fisher and Porcupine
- Gray Fox and Opossum
- Grizzly Bear
- Mountain Beaver
- Mountain Goat
- Mule Deer
- North American Beaver
- Spotted Skunk and Ringtail (Cacomistle)
- Striped Skunk
- Western Gray Squirrel
- Whitetailed Deer
1) American Museum of Natural History. The American Museum of Natural History: A Pictorial Guide. New York: American Museum of Natural History, 1967.
2) American Museum of Natural History. Annual Reports. New York: American Museum of Natural History, 1981/82-1984/85.
3) American Museum of Natural History. "Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Hall", accessed July 28, 2017, http://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/permanent-exhibitions/theodore-roosevelt-memorial/theodore-roosevelt-memorial-hall.
4) American Museum of Natural History. Official Guide to the American Museum of Natural History. New York: American Museum of Natural History, 2001.
5) American Museum of Natural History. "Hall of North American Mammals", accessed July 28, 2017, http://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/permanent-exhibitions/mammal-halls/bernard-family-hall-of-north-american-mammals
6) 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, 1943.
7) 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 1929 (page 73); 1930 (page 38, 43); 1931 (page 6, 44); 1932 (page 62); 1937 (page 5, 16); 1938 (page 10); 1939 (page 5); 1940 (page 2, 5); 1941 (page 21, 34); 1942 (page 5); 1943 (page 13); 1944 (page 18); 1945 (page 12); 1946 (page 17); 1948 (page ); 1949 (page , ); 1950 (page 35); 1951 (page 19 32); 1953 (page 5); 1956 (page 15); 1957 (page 8); 1981 (page 5 48); 1984 (page 52)
American Museum of Natural History General Guides for years 1939 (page 16); 1943 (page 16, 97); 1945 (page 16, 97); 1947 (page 16, 97); 1949 (page 16, 97); 1953 (Floor plans, 25); 1956 (page 1935); 1958 (page 1935); 1962 (page 12, 21); 1964 (page 12, 21)
American Museum of Natural History Official Guide for years 1984 (page 32-35); 1993 (page 23, 50); 2001 (page 26 60)
American Museum of Natural History Pictorial Guide 1967
American Museum of Natural History: An Introduction, 1972 (page 107)