About the Museum
Since its founding in 1869, the Museum has advanced its global mission to discover, interpret, and disseminate information about human cultures, the natural world, and the universe through a wide-ranging program of scientific research, education, and exhibition.
Our mission: To discover, interpret, and disseminate—through scientific research and education—knowledge about human cultures, the natural world, and the universe.
The American Museum of Natural History is located within Lenapehoking, the ancestral land of the Lenape. We acknowledge and honor the present-day Lenape for their ongoing, restorative relationship with their homeland and important contributions to the cultural life of the City of New York and the region.
In 2006, the Museum established the Richard Gilder Graduate School which includes a Ph.D. granting program in comparative biology within the Museum.
Accordingly, the Museum’s Charter was amended by the Board of Regents of the State of New York as follows:
“to confer the degrees of Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), and Master of Philosophy (M. Phil.) to duly qualified graduates completing registered curricula at the Graduate School of the American Museum of Natural History, and to award from the Graduate School the Honorary Degrees of Science (D.Sc.), Doctor of Laws (LL.D.), Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.) and Master of Humane Letters (L.H.M.) to those selected by the Board of Trustees.”
In 2015, the Museum began granting a Master of Arts in Teaching degree, and its Charter was further amended by the Board of Regents of the State of New York as follows:
“to confer the degree of Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) to duly qualified graduates completing registered curricula at the Graduate School of the American Museum of Natural History, and to change the name of the Graduate School to the “Richard Gilder Graduate School.”
- Albert Smith Bickmore, one-time student of Harvard zoologist Louis Agassiz, is successful in his proposal to create a natural history museum in New York City, winning the support of William E. Dodge, Jr., Theodore Roosevelt, Sr., Joseph Choate, and J. Pierpont Morgan. The Governor of New York, John Thompson Hoffman, signs the Act of Incorporation officially creating the American Museum of Natural History on April 6. John David Wolfe becomes President of the Museum the same year.
- A series of exhibits of the Museum's collection goes on view for the first time in the Central Park Arsenal, the Museum's original home on the eastern side of Central Park.
- Robert L. Stuart becomes President of the Museum.
- The Museum quickly outgrows the Arsenal and secures Manhattan Square, a block of land across the street from Central Park, between West 77th and 81st Streets, to build a bigger facility.
- The cornerstone for the Museum's first building at 77th Street is laid by U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant.
- The first building opens with U.S. President Rutherford B. Hayes presiding at a public ceremony.
- New Museum President Morris K. Jesup launches the Museum into a golden age of exploration that lasts from 1880 to 1930. During this time, the Museum is involved with expeditions that discover the North Pole, explore unmapped areas of Siberia, traverse Outer Mongolia and the great Gobi desert, and travel to the Congo, taking Museum representatives to every continent on the globe.
- President Jesup hires Franz Boas to be the assistant curator in the Department of Ethnology.
- The Hall of Northwest Coast Indians, now called the Northwest Coast Hall, opens on the first floor.
- Boas organizes the Jesup North Pacific Expedition. In the entire field of anthropology, nothing of comparable ambition or scope has ever before been attempted. The expedition yields an unparalleled record of the life and culture of the peoples of the North Pacific.
- Boas leaves his position at the Museum and begins teaching at Columbia University. One of his students is Margaret Mead, the scientist, explorer, writer, and teacher who will work in the Department of Anthropology at the American Museum of Natural History from 1926 until her death in 1978. A pioneer, she brings the serious work of anthropology to a broader audience.
- Museum President Morris K. Jesup dies. Henry Fairfield Osborn becomes President.
- Carl Akeley, a pioneer in the creation of life-like mammal dioramas, writes to the Museum offering to devote five years to the creation of an African mammals hall.
- The Second International Eugenics Congress is convened at the Museum to advance the pseudo-science of eugenics.
- Roy Chapman Andrews leads historic Central Asiatic Expeditions through the Gobi desert of Mongolia, discovering some of the richest dinosaur fossil sites in the world. Andrews and his team work there until the border between China and Outer Mongolia closes in 1930.
- The Museum receives an extensive gift of mammals from the Indian subcontinent, the result of an expedition led by Arthur S. Vernay and Colonel J. C. Faunthorpe. Work soon begins on designing a fitting environment for these specimens, which will be mounted according to Akeley’s technique and displayed in dioramas.
- The first major hall of mammal habitat dioramas, the South Asiatic Hall, opens, displaying Vernay and Faunthorpe’s specimens.
- F. Trubee Davison becomes President of the Museum.
- The Hall of Ocean Life opens on the first floor.
- Legendary dinosaur explorer Roy Chapman Andrews becomes Director of the Museum.
- The Hayden Planetarium opens.
- The Hall of North American Mammals opens on the first floor with 10 dioramas. More are added through 1963. The gallery showcases what many consider to be the finest habitat dioramas in the world, many set in U.S. National Parks.
- The Akeley Hall of African Mammals opens under the direction of James L. Clark, the Museum’s Vice Director. Artists and scientists, led by Carl Akeley, had gone to Africa to sketch, photograph, collect, measure, and make molds of leaves, bark, moss, and other aspects of the terrain to make the dioramas as accurate as possible.
- Alexander M. White becomes President of the Museum.
- The Hall of North American Forests opens on the first floor.
- The Great Canoe is installed near the 77th Street entrance.
- The Hall of North American Small Mammals opens on the first floor.
- The Hall of Primates opens on the third floor.
- The Hall of Eastern Woodlands Indians opens on the third floor.
- The Hall of Plains Indians opens on the third floor.
- The Museum’s exterior is designated an official New York City Landmark.
- Gardner D. Stout becomes President of the Museum.
- The Hall of African Peoples opens on the second floor.
- The Hall of Ocean Life is renovated to include a 94-foot-long model of a blue whale suspended from the ceiling.
- The Hall of Mexico and Central America opens on the second floor.
- The Hall of Pacific Peoples opens on the third floor, reopens as Margaret Mead Hall of Pacific Peoples in 1984.
- The Frederick H. Leonhardt People Center opens on the second floor.
- The Louis Calder Laboratory and the Alexander M. White Natural Science Center are completed on the second floor.
- Robert G. Goelet becomes President of the Museum.
- The Theodore Roosevelt Rotunda on the Museum’s second floor is designated a New York City interior landmark.
- The Morgan Memorial Hall of Gems and the Harry Frank Guggenheim Hall of Minerals open on the first floor.
- Gallery 3, a special-exhibition space on the third floor, is completed.
- The Hall of Reptiles and Amphibians opens on the third floor.
- The Gardner D. Stout Hall of Asian Peoples opens on the second floor.
- The Arthur Ross Hall of Meteorites opens on the first floor.
- The Charles A. Dana Education Wing is completed.
- George D. Langdon, Jr., becomes President of the Museum.
- The Hall of South American Peoples opens on the second floor. The original South American hall opened in 1907 and closed in the 1960s.
- The Mongolian Academy of Sciences invites the Museum to take part in a joint paleontological expedition to the Gobi desert, the first such expedition to include Western scientists since the Central Asiatic Expedition in the 1920s. These joint expeditions now take place annually.
- A five-story-high Barosaurus cast is installed in the Theodore Roosevelt Rotunda, becoming the world’s highest freestanding dinosaur display.
- The Research Library's new facility opens.
- The Center for Biodiversity and Conservation is established.
- The Hall of Human Biology and Evolution opens on the first floor.
- Ellen V. Futter becomes President of the Museum.
- Major renovations are completed on the fossil halls on the fourth floor of the Museum. Openings during this period include: the Hall of Primitive Mammals, the Paul and Irma Milstein Hall of Advanced Mammals, the Hall of Saurischian Dinosaurs, the Hall of Ornithischian Dinosaurs, the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Orientation Center, and the Hall of Vertebrate Origins.
- The National Center for Science Literacy, Education and Technology is created, in partnership with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
- The Hall of Biodiversity opens on the first floor.
- The David S. and Ruth L. Gottesman Hall of Planet Earth on the first floor is the first component of the Frederick Phineas and Sandra Priest Rose Center for Earth to open. The customized one-of-a-kind Zeiss Star Projector (Mark IX), the most advanced in the world, is installed in the new Hayden Planetarium.The C. V. Starr Natural Science Building opens.
- The Frederick Phineas and Sandra Priest Rose Center for Earth and Space opens to the public. The Arthur Ross Terrace opens adjacent to the Rose Center.
- The Judy and Josh Weston Pavilion opens, adding an entrance to the Museum on Columbus Avenue. The Discovery Room opens on the first floor.
- The Museum opens the renovated Samuel J. and Ethel LeFrak Theater. The Museum's main auditorium, restored to its late 19th-century design by Josiah Cleaveland Cady, is a venue for scientific lectures, meetings, public programs, and giant-screen films.
- The Museum opens the restored and renovated Milstein Hall of Ocean Life, which features high-definition video projections, interactive computer stations, hands-on models, 14 renovated classic dioramas, and eight new ocean ecosystem displays. The centerpiece of the hall remains the 94-foot model of a blue whale, now resculpted and repainted to more accurately reflect the appearance of a blue whale at sea. The Museum opens the reconceptualized and renovated Arthur Ross Hall of Meteorites. New exhibits, rare Moon and Mars rocks, and over 130 scientifically significant meteorites tell the story of the origins of the solar system.
- The Museum installs a new Earthquake Monitoring Station in the Gottesman Hall of Planet Earth. The seismograph records and illustrates real-time seismic data for the public via a global network of seismic stations accessible in real-time to the Museum and other similar institutions.
- The Museum marks the 70th Anniversary of the opening of the original Hayden Planetarium.
- The Museum hosts the premiere of the movie A Night at the Museum, based on the Museum and starring Ben Stiller, Mickey Rooney, and Dick Van Dyke. Afterward, the Museum inaugurates Night at the Museum Sleepovers for families and groups with children ages 6 to 13.
- The Richard Gilder Graduate School at the Museum is established, authorized by the State of New York to grant the M.Phil, Ph.D., and Honorary degrees and marking the first time an American museum was granted the authority to award its own Ph.D. degree.
- The Museum opens the Anne and Bernard Spitzer Hall of Human Origins, which presents comprehensive evidence of human evolution. The new hall explores the most profound mysteries of humankind: who we are, where we came from, and what is in store for the future of the human species.
- The first cohort of Ph.D. students in the new Comparative Biology program begins graduate studies at the Museum's Richard Gilder Graduate School.
- The Museum completes a major renovation and restoration project of the landmark 77th Street "castle" facade.
- The Master of Arts in Teaching Earth science, a unique residency program based at the Museum, is authorized as a pilot program by the New York State Department of Education.
- The restored Theodore Roosevelt Memorial and Bernard Family Hall of North American Mammals reopen to the public.
- The first cohort of students begins in the Master of Arts in Teaching Earth science residency program.
- Countdown to Zero: Defeating Disease, an exhibition developed with The Carter Center to highlight global efforts to fight infections including Guinea worm disease, opens at the Museum. President Jimmy Carter speaks at the exhibition opening.
- The Titanosaur, a 122-foot-long cast of a newly discovered dinosaur later formally named Patagotitan mayorum, goes on permanent display on the Museum's fourth floor.
- An updated exhibit about climate change opens in the Gottesman Hall of Planet Earth.
- The Museum's 150th celebration opens with T. Rex: The Ultimate Predator, a blockbuster exhibition about the tyrannosaur family.
- The Museum breaks ground on the Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation.
- The Museum closes its campus to visitors from March through September due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The Museum opens a mass New York City vaccination site under the blue whale, which sports a post-vaccination bandage on her fin in support of the COVID-19 vaccination program.
- The Allison and Roberto Mignone Halls of Gems and Minerals open.
- The revitalized Northwest Coast Hall reopens.
- Sean M. Decatur becomes president of the Museum.
- The Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation opens.
Human Remains Stewardship
The Museum is working to increase the diversity of voices and perspectives in its exhibitions and programming, with the goal of offering history and context. Below are some of the most significant projects.
Institutional Notices, Policies, and Principles
The Museum is committed to providing an environment free from harassment or discrimination in the treatment of individuals with respect to employment, and admission or access to Museum facilities, programs or activities, and therefore does not permit harassment or discrimination on the basis of race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, marital status, partnership status, gender (including sexual harassment), sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, pregnancy and lactation accommodations, alienage or citizenship status, current or former participation in the uniformed services, status as a veteran, caregiver, pre-employment marijuana testing, sexual and reproductive health decisions, salary history, or national or ethnic origin, or on account of any other basis prohibited by applicable City, State, or Federal law.
Additional protections are afforded in employment based on arrest or conviction record, status as a victim of domestic violence, stalking and sex offenses, unemployment status, and credit history, in each case to the extent provided by law.
Accessibility / Language Assistance and Limited English Proficiency (“LEP”)
Consistent with the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it is the policy of the Museum to provide reasonable accommodations when requested by a qualified individual with a disability, unless such accommodation would cause an undue hardship.
Additionally, the Museum strives to make its facilities and programs accessible for everyone, including those individuals who need language assistance, including those who have limited English proficiency.
Please visit the Accessibility and Language Assistance at the Museum section of our website to learn more about Museum facilities, resources, and programs. If you have any questions about accessibility or LEP at the Museum or would like to request an accommodation, please contact us at [email protected] or 212-769-5250. In addition, if the format of any material on the Museum’s website interferes with your ability to access that material, please contact us for assistance.
Grievance Procedures for Visitors
Visitor inquiries or complaints regarding any form of harassment, discrimination, or retaliation may be directed to [email protected]
If a visitor thinks that they have been denied meaningful access to the Museum’s services, programs, and/or activities, the Grievance Procedures below will be followed pursuant to the Museum’s obligations under relevant federal, state, and local laws.1
Basis for Complaint
Complaints may be submitted if a visitor believes the Museum failed to provide reasonable language assistance for people of limited English proficiency, or if the visitor believes the Museum committed unlawful discrimination based on the visitor’s disability or other protected characteristic.
How to Submit a Complaint
Send an email to [email protected], or submit a complaint in person at the Museum Security Desk at 79th Street on the First Floor in the Theodore Roosevelt Rotunda.
Where there is found to be a violation, the Museum will take immediate steps to end the prohibited conduct, to prevent its recurrence, and to remedy its effects. The Museum will address allegations of prohibited conduct as follows:
- Complaints must be submitted in writing (or, if necessary, in a different accessible format) and must contain the following information: (i) the name, address, and phone number of the person(s) submitting the complaint; (ii) a brief description of the nature of the complaint; and (iii) a description of the circumstances giving rise to the complaint, including the date/time/location/name(s) of relevant information and individuals, if available.
- Complaints should be submitted within thirty (30) calendar days after the alleged incident, but early reporting and intervention have proven to be the most effective method of resolving actual or perceived problems. The Museum’s ability to investigate and respond effectively may be reduced with the passage of time and the loss of reliable evidence.
- The Museum will conduct an investigation as may be appropriate based on the receipt of a complaint. The investigation will be prompt and informal, but also thorough. All interested persons will have an opportunity to submit relevant information. Generally speaking, the Museum will contact the person(s) who submitted the complaint within seven (7) calendar days of receipt of the complaint to discuss the allegations, gather additional information, if needed, and discuss possible resolutions.
- The Museum will generate and provide a written document summarizing its findings from the investigation, along with any proposed solution(s), generally within sixty (60) calendar days after receipt of the complaint. This timeline may be altered for good cause, such as the complexity of the investigation or availability of witnesses. Any extensions will be communicated to the person(s) who submitted the complaint.
- The person(s) who submitted the complaint may request an appeal of the findings based on either of the following: (1) there is previously unavailable relevant evidence which could significantly impact the outcome of the investigation; or (2) the Museum failed to follow these Grievance Procedures when investigating the complaint. Any appeal must be submitted in writing (or, if necessary, in a different accessible format) within ten (10) calendar days of receiving the findings. The Museum will forward the request to the appropriate Museum administrator(s) for further review (e.g. the Vice President of Human Resources if an employee is alleged to have committed misconduct, or to the Chair of the Accessibility Working Group for issues related to exhibit access or visitor experience issues). The Museum will generally respond to the appeal in writing or another accessible format within thirty (30) calendar days of receipt of the appeal. Any extensions will be communicated to the person(s) who submitted the complaint and appeal. The appellate decision is final.
- The Museum shall maintain all files and records relating to the submitted complaint consistent with the Museum’s record retention policies.
Individuals May Also File Compaints, As Applicable, With These Agencies:
- U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, which has its regional enforcement office at Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education, 32 Old Slip, 26th floor, New York, NY 10005-2500, 646-428-3900, or [email protected];
- The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, located at 33 Whitehall Street, 5th floor, New York, NY 10004, 800-669-4000;
- The Department of Justice: Federal Coordination and Compliance Section, U.S. Department of Justice, 950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. 20530; or
- The Department of Justice: Disability Rights Section, U.S. Department of Justice, 950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. 20530.
1 For visitor complaints against specific employees of the Museum, separate policies and procedures may apply depending on the nature of the complaint and surrounding circumstances.
These Grievance Procedures are subject to change at any time. New policies, procedures, regulations, or revisions may be established by the Museum at any time without advance notice.
This page was translated into Spanish, Simplified Chinese, Russian, and Korean on June 10, 2021. Information on this page has been updated since that date.
American Museum Conflict of Interest Policy
Adopted by the Audit Committee and approved by the Board of Trustees as of June 14, 2017
This policy has been adopted to address actual and potential conflicts of interest that may be encountered by, or become known to, those entrusted with governance of the Museum, to ensure that they are acting in the best interests of the Museum and to comply with the New York Non-Profit Revitalization Act.
The policy applies to all Trustees, Officers of the Board, members of Committees of the Board and Committees of the Museum (together, “Committee Members”), and to Key Persons (members of the President’s Council). This policy focuses on transactions in which the aforementioned individuals, their Relatives and Related Entities, as defined below, have financial interests, as well as other situations in which an individual’s personal interests may not align with the best interests of the Museum.
I. Conflicts of Interest A conflict of interest may arise when an individual with a fiduciary duty to the Museum has a personal or professional interest in the outcome of a situation involving the Museum. Upon encountering or becoming aware of such a situation, the individual shall disclose it to the Chair of the Audit Committee, through the Museum’s General Counsel. If the individual is present at any meeting when the matter is considered, he or she shall withdraw from the meeting prior to commencement of deliberations and vote on the matter, and otherwise not make any attempt to improperly influence the deliberation or voting on the matter giving rise to the conflict. These actions, including the Audit Committee’s determination, shall be recorded in the minutes of any meeting considering the matter. Such a situation is not necessarily prohibited or adverse to the Museum and may be permitted or managed to protect against any adverse effect on the Museum, in either case if the Audit Committee determines that it is in the best interests of the Museum to do so at the time of the determination.
II. Related Party Transactions A “Related Party Transaction” is any transaction, agreement or other arrangement with the Museum in which a Trustee, Officer, Committee Member, Key Person, or a Relative or a Related Entity to any of the above, has a financial interest, except that a transaction shall not be a Related Party Transaction if (i) the transaction or the Related Party’s financial interest in the transaction is de minimis; (ii) the transaction would not customarily be reviewed by the Board or boards of similar organizations in the ordinary course of business, and is available to others on the same or similar terms; or (iii) the transaction constitutes a benefit provided to a Related Party solely as a member of a class of the beneficiaries that the Museum intends to benefit as part of the accomplishment of its mission, which benefit is available to all similarly-situated members of the same class, on the same terms. Page 1 of 3 A “Relative” of an individual means (i) his or her spouse or domestic partner as defined in section 2994-A of the New York Public Health Law; (ii) his or her ancestor, brother or sister (whether by whole or half-blood), child (whether natural or adopted), grandchild, great grandchild; or (iii) the spouse or domestic partner of his or her brother, sister, child, grandchild or great grandchild. A “Related Entity” is an entity in which a Trustee, Officer, Committee Member, Key Person (or a Relative of any one of them) has a 35% or greater ownership or beneficial interest (or in the case of a partnership or professional corporation, a more than 5% direct or indirect ownership interest). Any Trustee, Officer, Committee Member, Key Person who encounters or otherwise becomes aware of a proposed Related Party Transaction, shall promptly disclose the material facts of the financial interest, prior to deliberations and decision on the transaction, to the Chair of the Audit Committee through the Museum’s General Counsel, and the transaction will be deferred pending resolution by the Audit Committee. The individual shall disclose in good faith to the Audit Committee the material facts concerning their financial interest. If the individual is present at any meeting when the transaction is considered, he or she shall withdraw from the meeting prior to commencement of deliberations and vote, and otherwise not make any attempt to improperly influence the deliberation or voting on the transaction. These actions, including the Audit Committee’s determination, shall be recorded in the minutes of the meeting. Such a transaction is not necessarily prohibited or adverse to the Museum. A Related Party Transaction may be permitted or managed to protect against any adverse effect on the Museum, provided that the Museum shall not enter into the Related Party Transaction unless the Audit Committee determines that the transaction is fair, reasonable and in the best interests of the Museum at the time of the determination. In addition, if the Audit Committee determines that the financial interest is a substantial financial interest, the Audit Committee must also review alternative transactions, to the extent available, before making its determination. The Audit Committee must also review appropriate comparable data if a transaction pertains to compensation for services, the transfer of property, or other economic benefit to that party or any other person or entity which would be considered a “disqualified person” for purposes of the IRS’ excess benefit transaction rules, to determine that the amount being paid by the Museum does not exceed the value of what the Museum will receive. When considering the comparability of compensation, the types of relevant comparability data which the Audit Committee may consider include, but are not limited to (1) compensation levels paid by similarly-situated organizations, both exempt and non-exempt; (2) the availability of similar services within the same geographic area; (3) current compensation surveys compiled by independent firms; and (4) written offers from similar institutions competing for the same person’s services. When the transaction involves the transfer of real property as consideration, the relevant factors include, but are not limited to (i) current independent appraisals of the property, and (ii) offers received in a competitive bidding process. The Audit Committee is free to consider other indicators of comparability, as it sees fit. Page 2 of 3 The minutes of the meeting of the Audit Committee shall record the disclosure of the Related Party Transaction, the terms of the transaction, the interested person’s abstention from consideration of the matter, and basis for the determination, if made, that the transaction is fair, reasonable and in the best interest of the Museum at the time of the determination, and the consideration of alternative transactions or comparability data where required.
III. Annual Written Disclosures and Statements Each Trustee, Officer and Key Person must, prior to his or her initial election or appointment, and on an annual basis thereafter, disclose the following information to the best of his or her knowledge, in writing to the Secretary of the Board, or his or her designee: (i) any entity of which such person is an officer, director, trustee, member, owner (either as a sole proprietor or a partner), or employee and with which the Museum has a relationship; (ii) any transaction in which the Museum is a participant and in which such person might have a conflicting interest; and (iii) other information about their familial and business relationships as required for purposes of the Museum’s ongoing reporting obligations. In addition, each Trustee, Officer and Key Person must annually sign and submit to the Secretary of the Board, or his or her designee, a statement which affirms such person: (a) has received a copy of this Policy, (b) has read and understands this Policy, and (c) has agreed to comply with this Policy. The Secretary, or his or her designee, will provide a copy of all completed statements to the Chair of the Audit Committee and keep copies in the Museum’s files.
American Museum of Natural History Policy and Procedures on Financial Conflict of Interest Related to Federally Sponsored Projects Policy
Whenever an investigator has a significant financial interest in an enterprise which might reasonably appear to be affected by discoveries in the investigator’s sponsored project, there is the potential for a real or perceived conflict of interest. Although the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) does not require investigators to disclose their personal financial interests as a matter of routine, AMNH is sometimes obligated to require disclosure under federal regulations. Such disclosures are the most widely accepted method for identifying and managing actual or potential conflicts of interest related to federally sponsored projects.
It is the policy of AMNH that all investigators on federally sponsored projects are required to disclose significant personal financial interests related to that project, pursuant to circumstances specified by this policy. When AMNH determines that such an interest might reasonably appear to be directly and significantly affected by the sponsored project, AMNH will take steps either to manage or to eliminate the conflict.
This policy implements federal requirements pertaining to U.S. Public Health Service (PHS), which includes National Institutes of Health (NIH), and which are published in 42 CFR Part 50 and 45 CFR Part 94. This policy also implements federal requirements contained in the National Science Foundation Award and Administration Guide’s “Conflict of Interest Policies.” Both agencies require AMNH maintains an appropriate written policy on conflict of interest disclosure as a condition for receiving their grants. These requirements, as implemented in this policy, are applicable to all proposals and awards for federally sponsored projects at AMNH.
AMNH Reviewing Official
An official designated by AMNH to collect and review completed Financial Interest Disclosure Forms and to make the initial determination whether any reported financial interest would reasonably appear to directly and significantly affect or be affected by the sponsored project. The AMNH Reviewing Official is currently the Director, Government Grants.
Institutional responsibilities are defined as an Investigator’s professional responsibilities on behalf of AMNH, and may include activities such as research, research consultation, teaching, and AMNH committee memberships.
Any individual responsible for the design, conduct, or reporting of the results of work performed or to be performed under the sponsored project. This includes the Principal Investigator, Co-Investigators, and any other individual who has independent responsibility for designing, conducting or reporting the results of the sponsored project. This term is not intended to include individuals who are purely advisory and thus are not in a position to influence design, conduct or reporting of the project.
Significant Financial Interest
A financial interest must be reported when required by the above-referenced federal regulations. The requirement that an Investigator must report a significant financial interest under the terms of this policy does not in and of itself imply the existence of an actual or potential conflict of interest. The existence of a conflict of interest is determined subsequently by the designated AMNH Reviewing Official, responsible Senior Vice President and, when necessary, review committee. If a conflict is identified, additional steps to manage or eliminate the conflict may be required.
Consistent with current federal regulations, AMNH identifies two sets of definitions of Significant Financial Interest, one applicable to all federally-funded project proposals and awards except for those funded by PHS, and the other applicable only to PHS-funded project proposals and awards. This policy defines Significant Financial Interest as anything of monetary value, including, but not limited to:
All federal project funding except for PHS:
- Income from a single business entity, including salary, consulting payments, honoraria, royalty payments, dividends, loans from the entity, or any other payments or consideration with value, exceeding $10,000 during the prior twelve months when aggregated for an Investigator, Investigator’s spouse/domestic partner and dependent children;
- Income from a single public or nonprofit entity, including salary, consulting payments, honoraria, royalty payments, dividends, loans from the entity or any other payments or consideration with value, exceeding $10,000 during the prior twelve months when aggregated for an Investigator, Investigator’s spouse/domestic partner and dependent children, excluding income from seminars, lectures, teaching engagements, or service on advisory committees or review panels for public or non profit entities;
- An equity interest, in the form of stock, stock options, real estate, or any other investment or ownership interest, a 5% ownership interest, or a loan to the entity, exceeding $10,000 in value, for any one enterprise when aggregated for an Investigator and the Investigator’s spouse/domestic partner and dependent children;
- A management position such as board member, director, officer, partner, or trustee, held by the Investigator; or
- Intellectual property interest held by the Investigator or Investigator’s spouse/domestic partner or dependent children on a patent, patent application, or a copyright of software that would reasonably appear to be affected by the sponsored project at issue.
PHS project funding:
a. A financial interest consisting of one or more of the following interests of the Investigator (and those of the Investigator’s spouse/domestic partner and dependent children) that reasonably appears to be related to the Investigator’s institutional responsibilities:
(i) With regard to any publicly traded entity, a Significant Financial Interest exists if the value of any remuneration received from the entity in the twelve months preceding the disclosure and the value of any equity interest in the entity as of the date of disclosure, when aggregated, exceeds $5,000. For purposes of this definition, remuneration includes salary and any payment for services not otherwise identified as salary (e.g., consulting fees, honoraria, paid authorship); equity interest includes any stock, stock option, or other ownership interest, as determined through reference to public prices or other reasonable measures of fair market value;
(ii) With regard to any non-publicly traded entity, a Significant Financial Interest exists if the value of any remuneration received from the entity in the twelve months preceding the disclosure, when aggregated, exceeds $5,000, or when the Investigator (or the Investigator’s spouse/domestic partner or dependent children) holds any equity interest (e.g., stock, stock option, or other ownership interest); or
(iii) Intellectual property rights and interests (e.g., patents, copyrights), upon receipt of income related to such rights and interests.
b. Investigators also must disclose the occurrence of any reimbursed or sponsored travel (i.e., that which is paid on behalf of the Investigator and not reimbursed to the Investigator so that the exact monetary value may not be readily available), related to their Institutional Responsibilities; provided, however, that this disclosure requirement does not apply to travel that is reimbursed or sponsored by a federal, state, or local government agency, an institution of higher education as defined at 20 U.S.C. 1001(a), an academic teaching hospital, a medical center, or a research institute that is affiliated with an institution of higher education.
In all cases, the term Significant Financial Interest does not include the following types of financial interests: salary, royalties, or other remuneration paid by AMNH to the Investigator if the Investigator is currently employed or otherwise appointed by AMNH, including intellectual property rights assigned to AMNH and agreements to share in royalties related to such rights; income from investment vehicles, such as mutual funds and retirement accounts, as long as the Investigator does not directly control the investment decisions made in these vehicles; income from seminars, lectures, or teaching engagements sponsored by a federal, state, or local government agency, an institution of higher education as defined at 20 U.S.C. 1001(a), an academic teaching hospital, a medical center, or a research institute that is affiliated with an institution of higher education; or income from service on advisory committees or review panels for a federal, state, or local government agency, an institution of higher education as defined at 20 U.S.C. 1001(a), an academic teaching hospital, a medical center, or a research institute that is affiliated with an institution of higher education.
All Investigators on proposed or funded federally supported projects are required to become familiar with the current AMNH policy and procedures for managing conflicts of interest (this document), and to distribute copies of the policy and procedures to all individuals who will participate as Investigators on the federally supported project.
The federal regulations require that Investigators submit to the AMNH Reviewing Official financial disclosures related to a federally supported project in advance of submission of the application to the agency. Specifically, an Investigator must disclose all Significant Financial Interests that would reasonably appear to be affected by the activities funded by the agency, or that are in entities whose financial interests would reasonably appear to be affected by such activities.
To comply with federal regulations, AMNH will require the following actions from Investigators on federally funded projects:
- An Investigator with no Significant Financial Interest to disclose must so certify by signing the Proposal Certification Form in advance of proposal submission, or re-certify by signing the annual Financial Interest Disclosure Form.
- An Investigator with Significant Financial Interests which may reasonably appear to affect the design, conduct or reporting of a federally funded project must submit a Financial Interest Disclosure Form to the AMNH Reviewing Official prior to proposal submission.
- Within 30 days of discovering or acquiring a new reportable Significant Financial Interest, submission of a Financial Interest Disclosure Form to the AMNH Reviewing Official is required from all Investigators with current awards or pending applications for federally funded projects.
- Completion of a Financial Interest Disclosure Form will be required at the beginning of the calendar year from all Investigators with current awards.
Additional Investigator Responsibilities under PHS-funded Projects
- PHS-funded Investigators will complete training on Financial Conflicts of Interest in advance of proposal submission or prior to engaging in research related to a PHS-funded project and at least every four years thereafter. Investigators may use the NIH online course at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/coi/tutorial2011/fcoi.htm, or, subject to approval from the AMNH Reviewing Official, another institution’s training course. Information on the training requirement will be provided by the AMNH Reviewing Official.
- In addition to the above-required disclosures, PHS-funded Investigators must disclose reimbursed or sponsored travel related to their Institutional Responsibilities, as defined above. The disclosure will include the purpose of the trip, the identity of the sponsor/organizer, the destination, and the duration. The AMNH Reviewing Official will determine if further information is needed, including a determination or disclosure of monetary value, in order to determine whether the travel constitutes a Significant Financial Interest with the PHS-funded project.
The Investigator will forward the Financial Interest Disclosure Form to the AMNH Reviewing Official, who will review it and confer with the responsible Senior Vice President as appropriate. Disclosures that in the opinion of the responsible Senior Vice President need the review of an ad hoc committee will be referred to a committee appointed by the Senior Vice President; composition of the committee will be determined by the Senior Vice President, and will typically include both scientists or educators and administrators. An Investigator who desires to have his/her own disclosure reviewed by the committee may so inform the AMNH Reviewing Official, for referral to the responsible Senior Vice President. Investigators may also elect to have the committee review other financial interests not related to federally sponsored project covered by this policy (in which case the portion of the policy regarding AMNH’s responsibility to report certain circumstances to the funding agency is not applicable). The committee will review disclosures referred to it and initiate steps to manage, reduce or eliminate potential conflicts in consultation with the responsible Senior Vice President. The information disclosed will be kept confidential to the extent permitted by law.
Additional AMNH Responsibility for Retrospective Review of PHS-funded Projects
If AMNH determines that a financial conflict of interest was not identified or managed in a timely manner, including but not limited to an Investigator’s failure to disclose a Significant Financial Interest, or failure by the Investigator to materially comply with a management plan for a financial conflict of interest, the responsible Senior Vice President and/or their review committee will, within 120 days of a finding, complete a retrospective review of the Investigator’s activities and the PHS-funded project to determine whether the project conducted during the period of non-compliance was biased in the design, conduct or reporting. AMNH will document the review, develop a plan to manage any identified financial conflict of interest, and notify PHS as required.
Methods to Manage Conflicts of Interest
The responsible Senior Vice President and/or their review committee is responsible for determining what mechanisms are appropriate for managing, reducing or eliminating real or potential conflicts of interest. Examples of conditions or restrictions that might be imposed to manage, reduce or eliminate conflicts of interest include:
- Public disclosure of Significant Financial Interests;
- Monitoring of project activities by independent reviewers;
- Modification of the project plan;
- Disqualification from participation in the portion of funded project that could be affected by the Significant Financial Interests;
- Divestiture of Significant Financial Interests; and/or
- Severance of relationships that create actual or potential conflicts.
Certain federal regulations require that sanctions for non-compliance be imposed where necessary. Possible sanctions might include a letter of reprimand sent to the individual Investigator; a requirement for special certifications or assurances of compliance; restrictions on any grant awards involving the Investigator; barring the Investigator from submitting any new proposals through AMNH; suspension; dismissal, or other action as appropriate. These disciplinary sanctions are also referenced in the Museum’s Protocol for Responding to Allegations of Scientific Misconduct in Research.
All federal funding agencies except for PHS: If a conflict of interest cannot be resolved on a federally-funded project, the appropriate agency official must be so notified. The responsible Senior Vice President will provide appropriate written notice to the agency.
PHS: Prior to the expenditure of any funds under a PHS award or within 60 days of determination that a financial conflict of interest exists or annually during an award period to report on the status of an identified financial conflict of interest, the responsible Senior Vice President will report to PHS the finding of a conflicting interest and AMNH’s plan to manage the conflict. The report will contain all elements required under 42 CFR 50.605.
The AMNH Reviewing Official will maintain records of all financial disclosures and of all actions taken to resolve actual or potential conflicts of interest until at least 3 years after the later of the termination or completion date of the award to which they relate, or the resolution of any government action involving those records.
PHS Subawards, Subcontracts and Collaborators
For all PHS-funded projects carried out through subgrantees, contractors or collaborators (e.g., those persons or institutions conducting a substantive portion of the PHS-funded project, who will design, conduct or report the results of the project, and who are accountable to AMNH for programmatic outcomes and compliance matters), AMNH will ensure that Investigators working for such entities comply with the applicable PHS regulations, either by requiring those Investigators to comply with the AMNH policy or by requiring the entities provide assurances of compliance with applicable PHS regulations.
AMNH will post its Policy and Procedures on Financial Conflict of Interest Related to Federally Sponsored Projects on its public website at www.amnh.org. Requests for information on PHS-funded financial conflicts of interest must be directed to the Reviewing Official; responses to requests will be issued per the PHS regulations at 42 CFR Part 50 within five business days of receipt of the request.
Updated April 2010; August 2012
In 1998, the American Museum of Natural History initiated a formal review of the sustainability of its operational practices and convened a cross-departmental Sustainability Practices Committee to research opportunities to increase awareness about sustainability practices at the Museum and to make recommendations for and, where appropriate, implement changes that add or improve upon environmentally sound practices at the Museum.
Through collaboration with government agencies, funders, and others, the Museum has helped adapt its magnificent facility which, in some cases, is more than a century old, to a more sustainable state. Much progress has been made to reduce the Museum's environmental impact, and, as new research and "green" technology advances, there will be future opportunities as well. As an institution committed to science and education, including about the environment, the Museum has an important role in helping to encourage and educate its staff, visitors, and others about how to improve their own sustainability practices.
The guiding principles of the Museum's sustainability efforts are:
- Manage the Museum's operations and facilities in a manner that reduces the Museum's negative impact on the environment.
- Encourage environmentally responsible practices in projects that call for the design, renovation, and/or restoration of the Museum's facilities.
- Develop opportunities for the Museum to inform and encourage its staff and visitors about sustainable practices and the Museum's efforts to lessen its own impact.
- As appropriate, collaborate with external entities such as governments, businesses, citizens groups, schools, and peer institutions to advance awareness of environmental issues and the impact of personal and industrial behavior.
- Continue to monitor the sustainability of the Museum's operations: by assessing the impact of existing and newly initiated practices; by establishing and evaluating sustainability goals; and by looking for new opportunities to improve the Museum's "green" practices.