Earlier this year, I visited the American Museum of Natural History in New York to do a museum report on their mineral and gemstone exhibit. This museum is one of the top natural history museums in the world, and contains a very significant mineral and gemstone collection. I grew up fairly close to the museum, and, together with my father, had visited it many times in my youth. Most of the exhibits, including the dinosaur fossils and replicas which this museum is so famous for, have entirely changed since my childhood days, but the mineral and gemstone hall has remained essentially the same.
The museum collection contains many specimens that are the known to be the best of their type. It also contains many iconic minerals and gemstones, such as the Star of India Sapphire, the Newmont Azurite, the Giant Legrandite, the Bisbee Azurite/Malachite boulder, the Patricia Emerald, and the Subway Garnet.
The vast size of the room of the collection is incredible, and there are many different case types and sub-sections, from chemical groups, crystal types, local mineral localities, and the gemstones. All the specimens are mounted well with informative labels and proper detail.
Despite this, the mineral and gemstone halls looks like they are still stuck in the 1970's, with outdated designs, dim lighting, and brownish-gray carpeting everywhere reminiscent of that era. It is surprising that this museum, containing one of the most notable mineral collections in the world, is so dated.
However, the museum has announced plans to completely revamp the mineral and gemstone hall with a brand new and modern look and feel. The current mineral and gemstone hall has just been closed this past week, on October 26. It will be reopened as an entirely new exhibit in 2019 as the Allison and Roberto Mignone Halls of Gems and Minerals. This opening event will be in conjunction with the museum celebrating its 150th anniversary.
I hope to write a new report when the new hall opens up in 2020. In the meantime, enjoy these glimpses from my report from the old exhibit, with highlights of some of its finest minerals and collection cases. The museum report will be divided into the following separate posts:
Main Entrance to the Museum from Central Park West
Dinosaur Fossils on Display in the Museum Rotunda
Museum Rotunda Featuring a Large Dinosaur
Systematic Mineralogy Cases
Case of Aesthetic Mineral Specimens
Looking down one of the Museum Hallways
Bisbee Azurite and Malachite Centerpiece Boulder
Hall of Meteorites Adjacent to the Mineral Hall