This collection contains documents used in the planning, preparation and construction of exhibits for the Hall of North American Forests. The material relates largely to the financial aspects of exhibit construction. The contents of the box are organized into 30 folders, which were originally separate tabs in a ring-binder. The first folder relates to the hall in general, and includes an index of exhibits, a list of funds from the Department of Conservation and General Ecology, progress reports, meeting minutes concerning exhibit design decisions, estimates of exhibit costs and other financial documents.
The material organized in the following 29 folders relates to individual exhibits within the hall. See the Container List for the names of the exhibits these folders relate to, in order of arrangement. The material in each folder is loosely organized, and similar types of documents can be found for each exhibit. Most folders include a lined page(s) listing general details for the display (although these are often incomplete). For example, for forest habitat groups the donor, site, time, background, foreground and curator are listed. Some of these pages also include handwritten notes recording discussions and decisions made at staff meetings, dating from 1954-56. Other meeting minutes typed on separate pages, dating primarily from 1956, are filed in many of the folders. The minutes generally outline decisions made regarding the design, content and construction of the individual exhibit. Some of these meetings appear to have involved only staff from the Departments of Exhibition and Planning, while other inter-departmental meetings also include staff from the Department of Conservation and General Ecology/the Department of Vegetation Studies (usually Jack McCormick, occasionally Richard Pough), diorama background artists, and museum Director Albert E. Parr.
A large proportion of pages filed in each folder concern the finances for the exhibit in question. These documents contain figures for monetary receipts (contributions from donors and transfers from museum funds), disbursements (e.g. expenses related to fieldwork, freight, art, materials, labor and installation), estimates of costs for remaining work, and the current balance or overdraft. The majority of these documents date from April and May, 1956, while a few exhibits’ financial documents date from 1955. Additional statements list more detailed estimates of costs for the various components of an exhibit, such as model sketches, background paintings, specimens, lighting, labels, installation, field expenses, supplies, etc. The majority of these cost estimates date from 1955.
For some exhibits, additional documents provide descriptions of planned designs and display components, including both physical and educational content. For habitat groups, these often include lists of all the plant and animal specimens included in the display and how they are to be positioned. Others contain more detailed academic information about the information an exhibit will present.
It should be noted that some folders contain little to no content for their respective exhibits, including the New Hampshire Forest Group, Sugar Maple Forest Group, Introduction, and Elm and Big Tree Windows.