Inside The New Halls Of Gems & Minerals At The AMNH


For generations of New York Metropolis residents, the American Museum of Pure Historical past was residence to an indoor playground, tucked away in a cul-de-sac previous the Blue Whale and Cape York Meteorite. Technically, in fact, that playground was the museum’s Corridor of Gems and Minerals, however the Seventies-era carpet and ramp-strewn exhibit made the room irresistible to toddlers, in addition to to oldsters and babysitters who wanted a break.

Dr. George Harlow, the museum’s curator for gems and minerals, says the corridor had a fame amongst employees.

“It was the ‘Nanny Corridor,’” Harlow stated. “As a result of it is a cul-de-sac. They’d flip the swap off on their head and simply make certain the child did not escape.”

Learn Extra: We’ll Miss The Seventies Vibe Of The AMNH Halls Of Gems And Minerals

However whereas the newly-renovated Allison and Roberto Mignone Halls of Gems and Minerals nonetheless solely has a method in or out, the ad-hoc playground is not any extra. After the corridor closed for renovations in 2017, the ramps and carpet have been torn out and changed with stone flooring, and the alcoves swapped out for glass show circumstances and massive specimens, like a 12-foot-tall geode and a wall-sized marble slab from Ogdensburg, New Jersey that glows fluorescent inexperienced and orange beneath an ultraviolet mild.

The New Halls of Gems and Minerals at The American Museum of Natural History


The New Halls of Gems and Minerals at The American Museum of Pure Historical past

Jake Dobkin

Eradicating the form of Seventies aptitude does make the corridor seem like a extra conventional museum exhibit. For Harlow, nevertheless, the adjustments characterize a philosophical shift in how the museum handles its mineral assortment, by presenting their “evolution” a lot because the close by Corridor of Human Origins depicts the event of our personal species’ ancestors.

“I assumed it was vital to inform the story of the environments wherein minerals kind and the way minerals relate to historical past, our historical past, our tradition, our know-how,” Harlow stated.

The brand new exhibition corridor approaches that in a couple of methods: a facet room dedicated to valuable stones has previous favorites just like the “Star of India” sapphire, however now additionally shows uncooked gems subsequent to examples of completed and lower stones. One other case in the principle corridor is devoted to things discovered and made within the New York Metropolis area: samples of sediment from Staten Island, a Civil Struggle-era artillery shell produced from iron ore mined in Chilly Spring, NY, and the Subway Garnet, an enormous purple stone unearthed by employees constructing Manhattan’s sewer system in 1885 (and given a flashier identify by collectors).

on a dark presentation backdrop, a rough looking stone with crude facts appears.


This unimaginable specimen, a 9-pound almandine, is named the Subway Garnet. It was found in 1885 beneath thirty fifth Road between seventh Avenue and Broadway, close to Herald Sq..

D. Finnin/© American Museum of Pure Historical past

“No place has been excavated fairly like Manhattan has,” Harlow stated. “It is like a large quarry. Each time you construct a constructing, you dig down and also you get stuff.”

Learn Extra: This Gigantic Rock Jammed Between Two Buildings Is A Large Half Of NYC Historical past

Most of the informational shows have gotten upgrades, too. The crowded textual content playing cards have been changed by touchscreens and QR codes that, when scanned with a smartphone, permit guests to have a look at the specimens from completely different angles and to learn up on particular objects. All that offers the gems and minerals a little bit extra elbow room.

The AMNH’s new Halls of Gems and Minerals opens on June twelfth.