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American Museum of Natural History

Address & Phone Website Subway Hours Recommended Age Group
American Museum of Natural History
Central Park West at 79th Street
New York, NY 10024-5192 US
B/C to 81 St, 1/9 to 79 St Daily 10am-5:45pm
The Rose Center remains open on Fri. until 8:45pm
Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas.
With its full-size dinosaur replicas and interactive discovery exhibits, the museum is a great place for kids 4 years or older.


American Museum of Natural HistoryThe American Museum of Natural History (abbreviated as AMNH), located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in New York City, United States, is one of the largest and most celebrated museums in the world. Located in park-like grounds across the street from Central Park, the Museum comprises 25 interconnected buildings that house 46 permanent exhibition halls, research laboratories, and its renowned library.

The collections contain over 32 million specimens, of which only a small fraction can be displayed at any given time. The Museum has a scientific staff of more than 200, and sponsors over 100 special field expeditions each year.


American Museum of Natural HistoryThe Museum was founded in 1869. Prior to construction of the present complex, the Museum was housed in the older Arsenal building in Central Park. Theodore Roosevelt, Sr., the father of the 26th U.S. President, was one of the founders along with John David Wolfe, William T. Blodgett, Robert L. Stuart, Andrew H. Green, Robert Colgate, Morris K. Jesup, Benjamin H. Field, D. Jackson Steward, Richard M. Blatchford, J. Pierpont Morgan, Adrian Iselin, Moses H. Grinnell, Benjamin B. Sherman, A. G. Phelps Dodge, William A. Haines, Charles A. Dana, Joseph H. Choate, Henry G. Stebbins, Henry Parish, and Howard Potter. The founding of the Museum realized the dream of naturalist Dr. Albert S. Bickmore. Bickmore, a one-time student of Harvard zoologist Louis Agassiz, lobbied tirelessly for years for the establishment of a natural history museum in New York. His proposal, backed by his powerful sponsors, won the support of the Governor of New York, John Thompson Hoffman, who signed a bill officially creating the American Museum of Natural History on April 6, 1869.

American Museum of Natural HistoryIn 1874, the cornerstone was laid for the Museum's first building, which is now hidden from view by the many buildings in the complex that today occupy most of Manhattan Square. The original Victorian Gothic building, which was opened in 1877, was designed by Calvert Vaux and J. Wrey Mould, both already closely identified with the architecture of Central Park. It was soon eclipsed by the south range of the Museum, designed by J. Cleaveland Cady, an exercise in rusticated brownstone neo-Romanesque, influenced by H. H. Richardson. It extends 700 feet (210 m) along West 77th Street, with corner towers 150 feet (46 m) tall. Its pink brownstone and granite, similar to that found at Grindstone Island in the St. Lawrence River, came from quarries at Picton Island, New York. The entrance on Central Park West, the New York State Memorial to Theodore Roosevelt, completed by John Russell Pope in 1936, is an overscaled Beaux-Arts monument. It leads to a vast Roman basilica, where visitors are greeted with a cast of a skeleton of a rearing Barosaurus defending her young from an Allosaurus. The Museum is also accessible through its 77th street foyer, renamed the "Grand Gallery" and featuring a fully suspended Haida canoe. The hall leads into the oldest extant exhibit in the Museum, the hall of Northwest Coast Indians.

American Museum of Natural HistoryThe old 77th Street Entrance of the MuseumSince 1930 little has been added to the original building. The Museum's south front, spanning 77th Street from Central Park West to Columbus Avenue was cleaned, repaired and re-emerged in 2009. Steven Reichl, a spokesman for the Museum, said that work would include restoring 650 black-cherry window frames and stone repairs. The Museum’s consultant on the latest renovation is Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc., an architectural and engineering firm with headquarters in Northbrook, IL.

American Museum of Natural HistoryThe museum's first two presidents were John David Wolfe (1870–1872) and Robert L. Stuart (1872–1881), both among the museum's founders. The museum was not put on a sound footing until the appointment of the third president, Morris K. Jesup (also one of the original founders), in 1881. Jesup was president for over 25 years, overseeing its expansion and much of its golden age of exploration and collection. The fourth president, Henry Fairfield Osborn, was appointed in 1906 on the death of Jesup. Osborn consolidated the museum's expansion, developing it into one of the world's foremost natural history museums. F. Trubee Davison was president from 1933 to 1951, with A. Perry Osborn as Acting President from 1941 to 1946. Alexander M. White was president from 1951 to 1968. Gardner D. Stout was president from 1968 to 1975. Robert G. Goelet from 1975 to 1988. George D. Langdon, Jr. from 1988 to 1993. Ellen V. Futter has been president of the museum since 1993.

American Museum of Natural History1993  • Ellen V. Futter becomes President of the Museum.
• The Center for Biodiversity and Conservation is established.
• The Hall of Human Biology and Evolution opens on the first floor.

1994–1996  • 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.
January 5, 1997  • The original Hayden Planetarium closes and construction of the Frederick Phineas & Sandra Priest Rose Center for Earth and Space begins.

1997  • The National Center for Science Literacy, Education and Technology is created, in partnership with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

American Museum of Natural History1998  • The Hall of Biodiversity opens on the first floor.

1999  • The David S. and Ruth L. Gottesman Hall of Planet Earth, on the first floor, is the first component of the Rose Center 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.

American Museum of Natural History2000  • The Frederick Phineas & Sandra Priest Rose Center for Earth and Space opens to the public.

• The Arthur Ross Terrace opens, adjacent to the Rose Center for Earth and Space.

2001  • The Judy and Josh Weston Pavilion opens, adding an entrance to the Museum on Columbus Avenue.
• The Discovery Room opens on the first floor.

2002  • 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 large-format films.

American Museum of Natural History2003  • The Museum opens the restored and renovated Milstein Hall of Ocean Life featuring 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 look of blue whales 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.

2004  • The Museum installs a new Earthquake Monitoring Station in the 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.

2005  • 70th Anniversary of the opening of the original Hayden Planetarium.

2006  • The Museum hosts the premiere of the new movie A Night at the Museum, based on the AMNH and starring Ben Stiller, Mickey Rooney, and Dick Van Dyke. Afterward, the Museum inaugurates AMNH Sleepovers for families and groups with children ages 8 to 12, which offers the unique opportunity to experience the Museum as never before.

American Museum of Natural History2007  • The Museum opens the new Spitzer Hall of Human Origins, offering the most comprehensive evidence of human evolution ever assembled. This 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 our species.

2009 • The Museum announces the completion of a major rennovation and restoration project of the landmark 77th Street "castle" facade. The project included the repair and cleaning of masonry along the entire 700-foot-long south side and the complete reconstruction of the 42-foot wise arch of the porte-cochere. A separate but related project included the re-design and restoration of the 77th Street entry court, the new Arthur Ross Plaza.

American Museum of Natural History map


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