Shortcut Navigation:

The Arthur Ross Terrace will be closed this morning, Tuesday, October 21, for a private cultural observance. You many observe smoke and/or fire coming from the Terrace at that time. The FDNY has been notified in advance, and all safety precautions are in place. The Terrace will reopen at 1 pm.

News Posts

From the Collections posts

Armadillo Lizard with Osteoderm thumbnail

Special Tours Take Members Behind the Scenes

From the Collections posts

Of the many Museum programs designed just for Members, behind-the-scenes tours are consistently among the most popular. These tours, which are offered to Members from October through May, provide a glimpse of what’s not usually visible in the public halls: scientists at work, research laboratories, and vast collections of artifacts and specimens from around the world that have not been exhibited.

Tags: Behind the Scenes at the Museum, Members

Beetle-ornament-250

Beetle-Wing Body Art: Shuar Ear Ornaments

From the Collections posts

When dressing for special occasions, the Shuar people of the upper Amazon adorn themselves with ornaments made from materials found in the surrounding rain forest: feathers, plant fibers, animal parts, wood, and stone. Along with colorful headdresses and necklaces, men wear dramatic ear ornaments like those pictured here, which are made from toucan feathers, glass beads, and the iridescent wing covers of the giant ceiba borer beetle, Euchroma gigantea.

Tags: Anthropology

draper-250

A 19th-Century Gift

From the Collections posts

Not long ago, a descendant of John William Draper, a celebrated 19th-century naturalist, gave the Museum Draper’s collection of fossils from Whitby, England. The set, mostly ammonites, was neatly stowed in a wooden box along with a handwritten list of contents dated 1844 and a price stamp of 28 shillings.

“It’s a lovely cabinet of curiosities,” says Neil Landman, curator in the Division of Paleontology, who suspects Draper bought the collection whole, perhaps as a gift for his children or because it was “the kind of thing any respectable naturalist would have owned.”

Born in England in 1811, Draper emigrated to the U.S. in 1832 and rose to prominence as a chemist, botanist, historian, and pioneering photographer. He served as president of New York University from 1850 to 1873 and was a founder of the NYU Medical School, where he taught chemistry until a year before his death in 1882.

Tags: Paleontology

Curious Collections: Identifying a Rare Bird

Curious Collections: Identifying a Rare Bird

From the Collections posts

Ornithologists generally discover new species by collecting them in the wild. But early in the 20th century, Museum ornithologist James P. Chapin found one on a hat.

In 1913, Chapin, while serving as an assistant to German taxidermist and photographer Herbert Lang on what would become known as the Lang-Chapin Expedition to the Belgian Congo, came upon a native of the Ituri forest wearing a headdress with a distinctive feather. To the young naturalist, it suggested a pheasant or peacock, a strange possibility since these birds were native to Asia. Curious, he took it.

Tags: Birds

bike-250

Cycle of Life

From the Collections posts

Curator Laurel Kendall was visiting Vietnam to collect artifacts for the 2003 exhibition Vietnam: Journeys of Body, Mind, and Spirit when she encountered an exceptional artisan near Hanoi. His medium was paper, and his specialty was creating votive offerings used in funeral rituals by the Kinh people, Vietnam’s majority population.

The Kinh, in common with some other East Asian peoples, believe that a deceased leaves the underworld 49 days after death to begin a new life. Family members burn paper objects—representing  clothing, housewares, and other necessities—to equip their loved ones for the transition to the afterlife.

Tags: Anthropology, From the Collections

SELECT PAGE

American Museum of Natural History

Central Park West at 79th Street
New York, NY 10024-5192
Phone: 212-769-5100

Open daily from 10 am - 5:45 pm
except on Thanksgiving and Christmas
Maps and Directions

Enlighten Your Inbox

Stay informed about Museum news and research, events, and more!