Opulent Oceans

Inspired by the book Opulent Oceans: Extraordinary Rare Book Selections from the American Museum of Natural History, this exhibition includes 46 exquisite reproductions from 33 rare and beautifully illustrated scientific works.

The world’s oceans abound with a truly astonishing diversity of life forms. Beginning some 400 years ago, European voyages of discovery began mapping the globe, and knowledge of ocean life flourished as never before. These explorers documented their discoveries in illustrated books—by sketching their own specimens or collaborating with artists and engravers—resulting in images that communicate the anatomy, life cycles, habits—and sheer beauty—of newfound marine species. 

Vampire SquidLouis Joubin, 1898-1910 ©AMNH/R.Mickens

Vampire Squid

Louis Joubin, 1898-1910

©AMNH/R.Mickens


The exhibition is curated by Melanie L.J. Stiassny, Axelrod Research Curator in the Museum’s Department of Ichthyology in collaboration with Tom Baione, Harold Boeschenstein Director of the Museum’s Research Library.

The presentation of Opulent Oceans: Extraordinary Rare Book Selections from the American Museum of Natural History at the American Museum of Natural History is made possible through the generosity of the Arthur Ross Foundation.

Opulent Oceans