1. Today’s peek into the archives shows us the Hall of Ocean Life, before the iconic blue whale was added. 
Photographed by Julius Kirschner, “Hall of Ocean Life, looking west from entrance, Coral Reef Group in center, 1933" predates the construction of the whale by about thirty years. 
Learn more about the process of building the 94-foot, 21,000-pound model on the Museum blog. 
AMNH/314185

    Today’s peek into the archives shows us the Hall of Ocean Life, before the iconic blue whale was added. 

    Photographed by Julius Kirschner, “Hall of Ocean Life, looking west from entrance, Coral Reef Group in center, 1933" predates the construction of the whale by about thirty years. 

    Learn more about the process of building the 94-foot, 21,000-pound model on the Museum blog. 

    AMNH/314185

  2. Today’s peek into the archives takes us back to the Museum in 1910. “Sigurd Neandross painting figure in Haida ceremonial canoe, North Pacific Hall” was photographed by Thomas Lunt. 
The Great Canoe has since been moved to the Museum’s Grand Gallery. At 63 feet long, the seaworthy Great Canoe is one of the Museum’s most popular artifacts. It was carved in the 1870s from the trunk of a single cedar tree, and features design elements from different Native American peoples of the Northwest Coast, notably Haida and Heiltsuk. 
Learn more about the history of the Great Canoe.
AMNH/33006

    Today’s peek into the archives takes us back to the Museum in 1910. “Sigurd Neandross painting figure in Haida ceremonial canoe, North Pacific Hall” was photographed by Thomas Lunt.

    The Great Canoe has since been moved to the Museum’s Grand Gallery. At 63 feet long, the seaworthy Great Canoe is one of the Museum’s most popular artifacts. It was carved in the 1870s from the trunk of a single cedar tree, and features design elements from different Native American peoples of the Northwest Coast, notably Haida and Heiltsuk.

    Learn more about the history of the Great Canoe.

    AMNH/33006

  3. Today’s peek into the archives shows us “Mr. and Mrs. Bruce Horsfall working on background of Wild Turkey Habitat Group, North American Bird Hall.” Photographed by Otis J. Wheelock in 1907. 
For more images of diorama construction and more than 7,000 other archival images, head to our new online database Digital Special Collections.
AMNH/31655

    Today’s peek into the archives shows us “Mr. and Mrs. Bruce Horsfall working on background of Wild Turkey Habitat Group, North American Bird Hall.” Photographed by Otis J. Wheelock in 1907. 

    For more images of diorama construction and more than 7,000 other archival images, head to our new online database Digital Special Collections.

    AMNH/31655

  4. Henry Fairfield Osborn, paleontologist and former president of the American Museum of Natural History, was born on this day in 1857.

    When he arrived at the Museum in 1891, the Paleontology collections began their first period of substantial growth. Osborn was responsible for hiring several outstanding vertebrate paleontologists, including William Diller Matthew, William K. Gregory, Walter Granger, Jacob Wortman, and Barnum Brown. 

    Osborne became president of the Museum in 1908, and was the first Museum president trained as a scientist. Under the guidance of H. F. Osborn, the vertebrate paleontology collections grew through many expeditions. Notable among these were the dinosaur specimens collected in the Rockies and Alberta by Barnum Brown; the 1901 expedition to Egypt’s Fayum Basin; and the Central Asiatic Expeditions of the 1920s. Osborne served as the Museum president for 25 years.

    See pictures of Henry Fairfield Osborn in the Digital Special Collections.

  5. From the archives: “Visitor viewing ocean sunfish, Hall of Fishes” photographed by Thane L. Bierwert in 1948. 
Find this and more than 7,000 other archival images on our new online database Digital Special Collections.
AMNH/320512

    From the archives: “Visitor viewing ocean sunfish, Hall of Fishes” photographed by Thane L. Bierwert in 1948. 

    Find this and more than 7,000 other archival images on our new online database Digital Special Collections.

    AMNH/320512

  6. Laura Watson Benedict (1861–1932) was the first anthropologist to travel to the Philippines in 1906 to study the Bagobo people. In 1910, the Museum purchased Benedict’s collection of 2,534 Bagobo artifacts for $4,000 and she was hired to accession it.
Four years later, Benedict became the first woman to earn a doctorate in anthropology from Columbia University, publishing her thesis, Bagobo Ceremonial Magic and Myth, in 1916. According to anthropologist Jay H. Bernstein in a 1985 article on Benedict, her study of the Bagobo “remains a forgotten treasure of 20th-century anthropology.”
Learn more about this pioneering anthropologist. 

    Laura Watson Benedict (1861–1932) was the first anthropologist to travel to the Philippines in 1906 to study the Bagobo people. In 1910, the Museum purchased Benedict’s collection of 2,534 Bagobo artifacts for $4,000 and she was hired to accession it.

    Four years later, Benedict became the first woman to earn a doctorate in anthropology from Columbia University, publishing her thesis, Bagobo Ceremonial Magic and Myth, in 1916. According to anthropologist Jay H. Bernstein in a 1985 article on Benedict, her study of the Bagobo “remains a forgotten treasure of 20th-century anthropology.”

    Learn more about this pioneering anthropologist

  7. Are you going camping this summer? Check out images from our Digital Special Collections for some classic tent inspiration, from Museum expeditions, to indigenous campsites. 

    Browse images. 

  8. 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

  9. "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

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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