Friday, September 13, 2013

24. American Museum of Natural History


The American Museum of Natural History - found on the Upper Side of Manhattan and set in beautiful gardens across the street from Central Park - is  huge - both in actual size and in the amount of collected information on view - a lot of visual and written information to absorb on a hot Autumn afternoon after cruising the Hudson all morning.


The museum complex contains over 20 interconnected buildings housing 45 permanent exhibition halls, in addition to a planetarium and a library - and of course cafes and a food hall for hungry tourists like me ... 

There must be millions of specimens of plants, animals, fossils, minerals, rocks, meteorites, and human cultural artefacts on display - and I'm sure there must be even an equal amount stored away in dusty warehouses.

The current complex was opened in 1877, and over the past decades several galleries have been added - making the Museum now one of the largest and most important museums and research centres in the world.




Unfortunately - for you, that is - the inside of the Museum is very dark, making photography pretty much near impossible. All displays are very cleverly curated and lit, drawing the visitor from gallery to gallery on a trek across our planet earth ...


What was easy to photograph were the dozens of three-dimensional scenes of life-size wildlife and other objects arranged in naturalistic settings against a painted background. Most of these wonderful "taxidermied" animals date back to the 1930's when the Museum mounted various expeditions throughout the world to record - even then - endangered species.










The Museum was full of children when I visited and it was an absolute joy to listen to the reactions from the kids to these life-size displays. Maybe it's the child still in me, but I find these living scenes fascinating. 







 
I spent just an afternoon in this fascinating Museum - probably could manage a couple more visits to really absorb the information ... maybe next week ...
 
Some more art tomorrow ...