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The scientific expedition to the South Pacific in the yacht Zaca

Identifier: Film Collection no. 160

Scope and Contents

Filmed during the AMNH Templeton Crocker Pacific Expedition, 1934-1935. On this expedition in his yacht, the Zaca, Templeton Crocker was accompanied by AMNH staff members James Paul Chapin, leader and ornithologist, Harry L. Shapiro, anthropologist, and Francis Lee Jacques, preparator and artist, all of whom appear in the film. Other expedition staff members included Toshio Asaeda, artist and photographer, Arthur Pedersen, ship's captain, and George Lyman, ship's surgeon. The expedition's objectives were to collect bird specimens for the museum's Hall of Oceanic Birds and to gather anthropological material. The film, however, offers little more than general documentation of the expedition's activities and travels. The film opens with views of the Zaca, and of crew members playing with and feeding a kitten, and panoramas of the Marquesas Islands' coastlines, including some inhabitants. A devilfish, or sting ray, is pursued and harpooned by the expedition staff. On Tahiti, young women dance a hula on the beach; other young women swim. Following coastal views of Moorea, a woman weaves a small basket in a complex of stone and thatch buildings on Rurutu in the Tubuai or Austral Islands. Next are aerial views of Easter Island, followed by the making of a plaster cast of one of the huge heads, or moais, for which the island is known. Collecting activities of the expedition staff in the Galapagos Islands are shown; locations include Indefatigable Island, Tower Island, Salmo Island, and Conway Bay. A shark is towed by the Zaca. Animals appearing in this section include: large lizards, frigate birds, swallow-tailed gulls, red-footed boobies, and sea lions.


  • 1934-1935


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

Physical copy not available through interlibrary loan. Contact AMNH Library Special Collections for terms of access.


1 Film Reel (29 minutes) : silent, black and white ; 16 mm.

1 Videocassette (U-Matic (29 minutes)) : silent, black and white ; 3/4 in.


Original format: 16 mm. print.; 3/4 in., U-Matic (legacy viewing copy)


English inter-titles.


Viewing copy available through AMNH Digital Asset Management System.


The scientific expedition to the South Pacific in the yacht Zaca, 1934-1935
Iris Lee
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Film preserved and reformatted through a 2019 Federal National Film Preservation Foundation Grant.

Revision Statements

  • 2024: Updated to include NFPF-funded digitized surrogate.

Repository Details

Part of the Museum Archives at the Gottesman Research Library Repository

American Museum of Natural History
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New York NY 10024 USA
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