Posts tagged history

88 posts tagged history

Vibrant, wax-printed cotton fabrics like the one pictured above have been displayed and sold in the markets of West and Central Africa for generations. Highly sought-after as luxury goods, the textiles may seem quintessentially African to Western eyes, but in fact these dizzyingly intricate double-sided patterns reflect a complex history of cultural, colonial, and commercial interactions.
The market for these spectacular fabrics got its start in the 19th century, when beautifully patterned Javanese batik textiles made their way to Africa, brought first through Christian missionaries and later by West African soldiers who carried batik home as gifts from the Dutch East Indies, now Indonesia.
Read the full story on the Museum blog. 

Vibrant, wax-printed cotton fabrics like the one pictured above have been displayed and sold in the markets of West and Central Africa for generations. Highly sought-after as luxury goods, the textiles may seem quintessentially African to Western eyes, but in fact these dizzyingly intricate double-sided patterns reflect a complex history of cultural, colonial, and commercial interactions.

The market for these spectacular fabrics got its start in the 19th century, when beautifully patterned Javanese batik textiles made their way to Africa, brought first through Christian missionaries and later by West African soldiers who carried batik home as gifts from the Dutch East Indies, now Indonesia.

Read the full story on the Museum blog

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Travel back in time and explore the Museum archives on October 5th!

Celebrate New York Archives Week by coming to the Museum Library to discover the Museum’s rich history of scientific exploration from around the world. Rarely seen collections of field notes, films, photography, artwork, and memorabilia will be on display to tell the hidden stories behind the Museum’s world-famous dioramas and exhibitions.

Watch early moving-image footage from historic Central Asiatic Expeditions to Mongolia, in which a team led by Roy Chapman Andrews discovers the first dinosaur eggs, or browse the original landscape studies painted in the field during Carl Akeley’s perilous expeditions to Africa. The Library staff will explain how these one-of-a-kind objects are cared for and give hands-on demonstrations of the new Digital Special Collections, an online endeavor to make the Library’s extensive image collection available for research and reference. 

This event is part of the New York Archives Week, which runs October 5-11, 2014, an annual celebration aimed at informing the general public about the diverse array of archival materials available in the metropolitan New York region.

The tours, which run between 12 pm - 5 pm are free with Museum admission.

Register today!

Today’s peek into the archives is headed back to school! “Public school class on guided tour" was taken by Robert Elwood Logan in 1947. 
Did you ever come to the Museum as part of a school group? The American Museum of Natural History receives 500,000 visitors annually in school and camp groups. To plan your own group visit, check out our website. 
AMNH/2A1154

Today’s peek into the archives is headed back to school! “Public school class on guided tour" was taken by Robert Elwood Logan in 1947.

Did you ever come to the Museum as part of a school group? The American Museum of Natural History receives 500,000 visitors annually in school and camp groups. To plan your own group visit, check out our website

AMNH/2A1154

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

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

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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.

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

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

"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

Ceratophrys dorsata from Wied's Abbildungen zur Naturgeschichte Brasiliens by Prince Maximilian, 1782-1867
AMNH/D.Finnin
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Psammobates geometricus
AMNH/C.Chesek
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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.

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

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