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Men of science

Identifier: Film Collection no. 212

Scope and Contents

This film introduces the scientists, technicians, artists, and their work at the AMNH in 1938. It was made by AMNH photographer Charles H. Coles and is narrated by Charles Russell, curator of the Department of Education. Though mostly filmed at the museum, scenes from AMNH expeditions are included to show the relationship between the work-in-the-field and at the museum. The film opens with a view of the exterior of the museum and a general introduction. William H. Barton, of the AMNH-Hayden Planetarium, is seen with some exhibits from the Planetarium. There are scenes of Roy Chapman Andrews finding dinosaur eggs, and Walter Granger and Edwin Harris Colbert, paleontologists, examining dinosaur bones in the Gobi Desert during the Central Asiatic Expeditions. Colbert and Barnum Brown, another paleontologist, examine the skeletons of dinosaurs at the museum. Excavations in Utah are shown next. H. E. Volkes, paleontologist, works with a trilobite fossil. Harold E. Anthony, mammalogist, is seen with a panda display and out in the field packing rodents in Arizona. Roy Waldo Miner, the Department of Living Invertebrates, is seen in the Bahamas collecting coral for the Hall of Ocean Life, and photographers and artists are underwater with him recording the work being done. This extraordinary underwater footage may be the first of its kind. The coral is seen being repaired and tinted before installation in the hall. Francesca La Monte, AMNH ichthyologist, prepares a swordfish for study and exhibit. A sequence filmed on board AMNH trustee Michael Lerner's ship, follows. Herbert Whitlock, of the Department of Geology and Minerology, uses a goniometer, an instrument used for measuring angles to study gems and minerals. In the Hall of Ocean Birds, Frank Michler Chapman and Robert Cushman Murphy, ornithologists, discuss oceanic bird exhibits, followed by a scene of Murphy photographing cormorants off the coast of Peru. In the Anthropology Department, Clark Wissler and Nels Christian Nelson, examine a tepee, a Peruvian mummy is unwrapped by Junius Bouton Bird, Harry L. Shapiro measures skulls, and pottery is restored. William King Gregory, of the Department of Comparative and Human Anatomy, compares the workings of a crane and cantilever bridge to the articulation of a horse. Henry Cushier Raven, also of Comparative and Human Anatomy, is seen in the Hall of Man. Charles Russell and John R. Saunders, of the Department of Education, conduct classes for children. Tours, displays, traveling exhibits are all depicted in this education section. Frank Eugene Lutz, of Entomology, is seen with live and dead insects. Frank Beach, of Experimental Biology, does behavioral studies with a lizard and a blind mother rat looking for her young. Charles M. Bogert, of Herpetology, observes the encounter of a king snake and a rattlesnake. James Lippitt Clark, Albert Butler, and James Perry Wilson of Arts, Preparation and Installation, discuss dioramas. This is followed by expedition footage of an AMNH artist in the field sketching and painting leaves, and then at the museum preparing leaves for an exhibit. The film concludes with footage of completed dioramas. There are several versions of this film. This film along with several dioramas were exhibited at the 1939-1940 World's Fair in New York City.


  • 1938


Conditions Governing Access

Not available through interlibrary loan. Contact AMNH Library Special Collections for terms of access.


1 Film Reel (48 minutes) : sound, color ; 16 mm.

1 Videocassette (U-Matic (48 minutes)) : sound, color ; 3/4 in.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

U-Matic, viewing copy


Charles Coles, photographer; AMNH Dept. of Education, producer; Charles Russell, narration.

Indexed in

For a full description of this film, see Root, Nina J. Catalog of the American Museum of Natural History Film Archives. New York : Garland, 1987.
Men of science, 1938
Iris Lee
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Museum Archives at the Gottesman Research Library Repository

American Museum of Natural History
200 Central Park West
New York NY 10024 USA
(212) 769-5420