1. Today’s peek into the archives takes us back to class. 
Part of the Museum’s Lantern Slide Collection, “Mrs. Burns showing horned toad to class, Nature Room, American Museum of Natural History” was photographed in 1928. 
To expand the Museum’s educational mission beyond its walls, a lantern slide lending library was created and formed the basis of the Natural Science Study Collections which the Museum delivered to New York schools. 
See more of the Lantern Slide Collection. 
AMNH/LS306-29

    Today’s peek into the archives takes us back to class. 

    Part of the Museum’s Lantern Slide Collection, “Mrs. Burns showing horned toad to class, Nature Room, American Museum of Natural History” was photographed in 1928. 

    To expand the Museum’s educational mission beyond its walls, a lantern slide lending library was created and formed the basis of the Natural Science Study Collections which the Museum delivered to New York schools. 

    See more of the Lantern Slide Collection

    AMNH/LS306-29

  2. "Fish jumping, Turners River, Florida"
This beautiful photo was taken by Julian A. Dimock in 1908. Dimock, who donated over 3,400 photographic negatives to the Museum in 1920, traveled the Southern states over many years during Museum funded trips to Southern locations like The Everglades. Carrying heavy and cumbersome photographic equipment over challenging terrain, Dimock trained his lens on the people and landscape of the South. 
See more of the Julian Dimock Collection in our Digital Special Collections. 

    "Fish jumping, Turners River, Florida"

    This beautiful photo was taken by Julian A. Dimock in 1908. Dimock, who donated over 3,400 photographic negatives to the Museum in 1920, traveled the Southern states over many years during Museum funded trips to Southern locations like The Everglades. Carrying heavy and cumbersome photographic equipment over challenging terrain, Dimock trained his lens on the people and landscape of the South. 

    See more of the Julian Dimock Collection in our Digital Special Collections

  3. In 1869, the year the Museum was incorporated, the Trustees turned to the critical task of building its collections. Within a few months, they sent Daniel Giraud Elliot, a noted ornithologist and naturalist, and Museum Trustee William T. Blodgett to negotiate the purchase of “certain collections of specimens in Natural History” in Europe.

    Elliot and Blodgett ultimately purchased the collection of Prince Maximilian zu Wied (1782–1867), an explorer from the German principality of Wied-Neuwied. Prince Maximilian’s collection “is regarded as one of the most important private collections in Europe, and has long been consulted by the scientific world,” wrote Blodgett in his report. It was a fantastic opportunity for the nascent Museum to acquire specimens that would form the nucleus of its holdings.

    The value of the Maximilian collection lay largely in its diversity and the rarity of its specimens, containing 4,000 mounted birds, 600 mounted mammals, and about 2,000 fishes and reptiles, either mounted or in alcohol. Researchers at the Museum still study these today.

    Read the full story on the Museum’s blog.

  4. The opening of the Akeley Hall of African Mammals in 1936 marked the birth of the golden age of the diorama. Named for Carl Akeley—the naturalist, explorer, and Museum taxidermist—the hall showcases large mammals of Africa.
At the center is a freestanding group of eight elephants, poised as if to charge, surrounded by 28 vivid habitat dioramas. These provide a glimpse of the diverse topography of Africa and its wildlife, from the Serengeti Plain to the waters of the Upper Nile to the volcanic mountains of what was once the Belgian Congo. 
Learn more about the Akeley Hall of African Mammals.
AMNH/K. Regan

    The opening of the Akeley Hall of African Mammals in 1936 marked the birth of the golden age of the diorama. Named for Carl Akeleythe naturalist, explorer, and Museum taxidermistthe hall showcases large mammals of Africa.

    At the center is a freestanding group of eight elephants, poised as if to charge, surrounded by 28 vivid habitat dioramas. These provide a glimpse of the diverse topography of Africa and its wildlife, from the Serengeti Plain to the waters of the Upper Nile to the volcanic mountains of what was once the Belgian Congo. 

    Learn more about the Akeley Hall of African Mammals.

    AMNH/K. Regan

  5. On July 20, 1969, with 600 million people watching on TV, an American crew landed on the Moon—the first people ever to walk on another world. The Apollo 11 mission had three crew members: Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, who piloted the craft that would return them to Earth, while the others became the first two men ever to walk its surface.

    Learn more about this historic event

  6. Huge asteroids and comets don’t collide with our planet very often, so scientists can’t easily observe the effects of a major impact.

    But 20 years ago this month, in July of 1994, researchers got a glimpse of what can happen when a sizeable comet crashes into a planet—in this case, Jupiter. The fiery results offered clues to how devastating the ancient impact on Earth might have been.

    The comet named Shoemaker-Levy 9, already shattered into many pieces, slammed into Jupiter in a series of impacts. Many of the fragments were between one and three kilometers (0.6 and 1.9 miles) across in size. The multiple impacts sent fireballs high above Jupiter’s atmosphere and left dark scars so large our own planet would have fit inside.

    Learn more about planetary impacts in the Cullman Hall of the Universe

  7. Today’s peek into the archives shows the arrival of the Willamette Meteorite to the Museum in 1906. 

    Weighing 15.5 tons, this iron meteorite is the largest ever found in the United States and the sixth-largest in the world. The smooth surface melted during its blazing entry into the atmosphere, while the pits formed on the Earth’s surface.

    The Willamette Meteorite was originally located within the Upper Willamette Valley of Oregon. It was revered as a spiritual being that has healed and empowered the people of the valley by the Clackamas Indians who occupied the region. 

    Learn more about the formation of the Willamette Meteorite, and about its cultural significance

    AMNH/2A9703 and AMNH/31498 from the Museum’s Online Digital Special Collections.

  8. Happy birthday to Roald Amundsen, leader of the first expedition to reach the South Pole. 
Born to a family of Norwegian shipowners on July 16, 1872, Amundsen knew by the age of 15 that he would one day be an explorer. 
In one of the most stirring tales in the annals of Antarctic exploration, the contest to reach the South Pole was between two leaders—Roald Amundsen on the Norwegian side and Robert Falcon Scott on the British—and the challenges they faced as they undertook their separate 1,800-mile journeys from the edge of the Ross Ice Shelf to the South Pole and back. 
Amundsen was a meticulous planner; he realized that success was sure only if he correctly estimated the risks he would face, leaving little to chance. On the afternoon of December 14, 1911, Roald Amundsen and his team reached the geographical South Pole, had had won the race. 
Learn more about Amundsen and Scott’s expeditions in the exhibition Race to the End of the Earth, currently traveling. 

    Happy birthday to Roald Amundsen, leader of the first expedition to reach the South Pole. 

    Born to a family of Norwegian shipowners on July 16, 1872, Amundsen knew by the age of 15 that he would one day be an explorer. 

    In one of the most stirring tales in the annals of Antarctic exploration, the contest to reach the South Pole was between two leaders—Roald Amundsen on the Norwegian side and Robert Falcon Scott on the British—and the challenges they faced as they undertook their separate 1,800-mile journeys from the edge of the Ross Ice Shelf to the South Pole and back. 

    Amundsen was a meticulous planner; he realized that success was sure only if he correctly estimated the risks he would face, leaving little to chance. On the afternoon of December 14, 1911, Roald Amundsen and his team reached the geographical South Pole, had had won the race. 

    Learn more about Amundsen and Scott’s expeditions in the exhibition Race to the End of the Earth, currently traveling

  9. Happy birthday, E.B. White! 
Born on this day in 1899, Elwyn Brooks White grew up to be the famed author of Charlotte’s Web, a timeless story of love and loyalty between a spider named Charlotte and her friend Wilbur, the runt pig.
In researching spider characteristics, White relied heavily on Willis J. Gertsch, a curator at the American Museum of Natural History, in what was then the Museum’s Department of Insects and Spiders. The results are readily apparent in certain details—Charlotte is sedentary, near-sighted, stuns her prey, works at night—all based on scientific facts about many spider species. White even acknowledged the curator’s help in naming his title character!
Learn more on the Museum blog. 

    Happy birthday, E.B. White!

    Born on this day in 1899, Elwyn Brooks White grew up to be the famed author of Charlotte’s Web, a timeless story of love and loyalty between a spider named Charlotte and her friend Wilbur, the runt pig.

    In researching spider characteristics, White relied heavily on Willis J. Gertsch, a curator at the American Museum of Natural History, in what was then the Museum’s Department of Insects and Spiders. The results are readily apparent in certain details—Charlotte is sedentary, near-sighted, stuns her prey, works at night—all based on scientific facts about many spider species. White even acknowledged the curator’s help in naming his title character!

    Learn more on the Museum blog

  10. Happy Independence Day!

    This flag, which hangs on the Museum’s 4th floor, is a veteran of the Museum’s 1920s Central Asiatic Expeditions to the Gobi Desert, where important finds included numerous fossils of ancient reptiles, and the first discovery of dinosaur eggs. Expedition leader Roy Chapman Andrews introduced motor vehicles for the long hauls across the desert, and the flag was placed on the lead truck. Its tattered condition resulted from a fierce sandstorm.  

    Since 1990, new expeditions to the Gobi by the Museum with the Mongolian Academy of Sciences have made further important scientific finds, most notably a fossil embryo preserved in a dinosaur egg. The Andrews flag can be taken as a symbol not only of the Museum’s return to the Gobi but of its pioneering expeditions to the many places explored during its 145-year efforts to broaden scientific knowledge. 

  11. July is National Ice Cream Month! 
Pictured is dessert as the author Jane Austen would have known it in 1810. Only the most privileged English families served “ices”—frozen desserts made of fruit, sugar and water or cream. Cooks often pressed these concoctions into fruit- or flower-shaped molds to make frosty, alluring sculptures (as seen above). “For Elegance and Ease and Luxury,” Austen wrote while staying at the manor house of her wealthier brother Edward, “I shall eat Ice & drink French wine”—two exclusive treats that she did without at her own modest home.
Today, variations on the ice cream idea can be found around the world. Italians created gelato, which is similar to ice cream but with less butterfat. A Japanese confection called mochi ice cream is a ball of pounded sticky rice with an ice cream filling. Sorbets, frozen desserts made with sweetened water, have many variations, from Hawaiian shave ice to Indian chuski.
This ice cream sculpture was featured in the past exhibition, Our Global Kitchen: Food, Nature, Culture. 

    July is National Ice Cream Month! 

    Pictured is dessert as the author Jane Austen would have known it in 1810. Only the most privileged English families served “ices”—frozen desserts made of fruit, sugar and water or cream. Cooks often pressed these concoctions into fruit- or flower-shaped molds to make frosty, alluring sculptures (as seen above). “For Elegance and Ease and Luxury,” Austen wrote while staying at the manor house of her wealthier brother Edward, “I shall eat Ice & drink French wine”—two exclusive treats that she did without at her own modest home.

    Today, variations on the ice cream idea can be found around the world. Italians created gelato, which is similar to ice cream but with less butterfat. A Japanese confection called mochi ice cream is a ball of pounded sticky rice with an ice cream filling. Sorbets, frozen desserts made with sweetened water, have many variations, from Hawaiian shave ice to Indian chuski.

    This ice cream sculpture was featured in the past exhibition, Our Global Kitchen: Food, Nature, Culture

  12. Natural history nerds, don’t miss a special lecture tomorrow night with Tom Baione, the Museum Library’s director and editor of Natural Histories: Extraordinary Rare Book Selections from the American Museum of Natural History Library. 
This is your chance to see some of the amazing scientific illustrations housed in our Rare Book Collection. Find out which books will be on display in this Q&A. 

    Natural history nerds, don’t miss a special lecture tomorrow night with Tom Baione, the Museum Library’s director and editor of Natural Histories: Extraordinary Rare Book Selections from the American Museum of Natural History Library

    This is your chance to see some of the amazing scientific illustrations housed in our Rare Book Collection. Find out which books will be on display in this Q&A

  13. After Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species in 1859, he spent much of the next two decades conducting research into plant-breeding and other botanical topics, eventually publishing six books on topics ranging from orchids to insect-eating species to the habits of climbing plants.
Housed at the American Museum of Natural History, the Darwin Manuscripts Project will transcribe Darwin’s botanical manuscripts, making them available to all online. 

    After Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species in 1859, he spent much of the next two decades conducting research into plant-breeding and other botanical topics, eventually publishing six books on topics ranging from orchids to insect-eating species to the habits of climbing plants.

    Housed at the American Museum of Natural History, the Darwin Manuscripts Project will transcribe Darwin’s botanical manuscripts, making them available to all online. 

  14. From the Archives: various species of fish from Renard’s Poissons, écrevisses et crabesIn an effort not to disappoint Europeans who saw collections of preserved tropical fish lacking their brilliant colors, Louis Renard (1678-1746) compiled the book Poissons, with fancifully colored engraved plates depicting fish and crustaceans from the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia).Learn more.

    From the Archives: various species of fish from Renard’s Poissons, écrevisses et crabes

    In an effort not to disappoint Europeans who saw collections of preserved tropical fish lacking their brilliant colors, Louis Renard (1678-1746) compiled the book Poissons, with fancifully colored engraved plates depicting fish and crustaceans from the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia).

    Learn more.

  15. The Passenger Pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius) was once so abundant that migrating flocks passing overhead could darken the sky for several days. One 19th-century account estimated more than 2.2 billion birds in a single flock; another calculated 136 million birds in a Wisconsin nesting area. In 1813, John James Audubon reported a migrating flock in Kentucky that passed undiminished for three days overhead: “the light of noon-day was obscured as by an eclipse.”
Yet in the second half of the 19th century, pressed by overhunting and deforestation, Passenger Pigeon populations began to decline. Within a few decades, they became scarce. The species disappeared altogether 100 years ago with the death of Martha,the last known Passenger Pigeon, who died in the Cincinnati Zoo on September 1, 1914.

Read the full story.

    The Passenger Pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius) was once so abundant that migrating flocks passing overhead could darken the sky for several days. One 19th-century account estimated more than 2.2 billion birds in a single flock; another calculated 136 million birds in a Wisconsin nesting area. In 1813, John James Audubon reported a migrating flock in Kentucky that passed undiminished for three days overhead: “the light of noon-day was obscured as by an eclipse.”

    Yet in the second half of the 19th century, pressed by overhunting and deforestation, Passenger Pigeon populations began to decline. Within a few decades, they became scarce. The species disappeared altogether 100 years ago with the death of Martha,the last known Passenger Pigeon, who died in the Cincinnati Zoo on September 1, 1914.

    Read the full story.