American Museum of Natural History, incorporated in New York City in 1869 to promote the study of natural science and related subjects. Buildings on its present site facing Central Park were opened in 1877. Among the buildings later added were the Hayden Planetarium (opened 1935) and the Roosevelt Memorial building (completed 1936). In 2000 the museum opened the Rose Center for Earth and Space, which contains a new, state-of-the-art Hayden Planetarium. The museum maintains exhibitions in all branches of natural history, including anthropology and ecology. As a result of its wide explorations throughout the world and its extensive research programs, it has acquired specimens and data of great value. Among the facilities for study are an extension library; illustrated lectures; publications; programs for young people; a special school service whereby the museum cooperates with city schools; circulating exhibits; habitat groups of animals and plants; a mineral and gem collection; an unrivaled assemblage of skeletons of extinct animals, especially dinosaurs; and replicas of invertebrates in glass. In 1995 the museum opened its extensively renovated dinosaur halls, which became the world's largest exhibit of its kind. Renovated halls of ocean life and of meteorites opened in 2003, and a new hall of human origins debuted in 2007.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.