Moving Image Collection
Spanning a century of scientific history, the Moving Image Collection documents the Museum’s involvement in scientific exploration, discovery, and public education over a period of significant change in the world; its landscape, biodiversity, and cultures.
Film making equipment was first taken into the field by American Museum of Natural History ornithologist Frank Chapman in 1908 and by explorer and taxidermist Carl Akeley in 1909. Akeley later invented the revolutionary panning motion picture camera and tripod that bear his name. A significant portion of the Archival Film Collection was created during the 1920's and 30's when the Museum sponsored hundreds of expeditions across the globe. Expedition members were required to bring back film footage and Museum trustees and affiliates were invited to contribute films from their personal travels. In the early 1950's, the Museum collaborated with CBS Television to make the Adventure Series. This live-broadcast television series aired for three years and covered scientific topics of the day.
The collection also includes video recordings of lectures held at the Museum, copies of televised interviews with Museum scientists, and other miscellaneous Museum-related recordings. These materials are not yet cataloged or accessible.
There are a total of 291 titles in the cataloged Film Collection representing all the films that have been identified, cataloged, and transferred to videotape. Many items from the Film Collection are part of a larger series:
- Australian Government Films (1920-1928) Film Collection nos. 8-12
- CBS/AMNH Adventure Series (1953-1956) Film Collection nos. 25-144
- C. Suydam Cutting Collection (1926-1938) Film Collection nos. 163-167
- Central Asiatic Expeditions Films (1921-1930) Film Collection nos. 146-151
- Templeton Crocker Collection (1931-1935) Film Collection nos. 159-161
- W. Gurnee Dyer Collection (1963-1973) Film Collection nos. 176-184
- Michael Lerner Collection (1939-1948) Film Collection nos. 201-205
- William J. Morden Collection (1922-1956) Film Collection nos. 215-228
- Nature Magazine Collection (1925-1930) Film Collection nos. 233-248
- Edgar Monsanto Queeny Collection (1949-1958) Film Collection nos. 258-267
Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival
More recent additions to the Collection include copies of many of the productions shown at the Museum’s annual Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival.
Science Bulletins are documentary feature stories produced by the Museum on the latest developments in the fields of astrophysics, Earth science, biodiversity and human biology and evolution. You may view Science Bulletins online at http://www.amnh.org/explore/science-bulletins.