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.

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Martin Johnson and Carl Akeley filming scenes for Simba, King of the Beasts: A Saga of the African Veldt. The film, #276, was made in 1928.
AMNH Martin Johnson and Carl E. Akeley African Expedition 1924-1928.

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.

Film Collection

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. For a complete list and descriptions of these films, please see our film list.

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

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