New York’s Museum of Natural History always has one or two special exhibits that require purchase of an extra ticket above the standard price of admission, but that’s because they are worth it. One of the museum’s current special exhibits is called The Nature of Color, and it is just fantastic. The exhibit is immersive and contains many different galleries and rooms. For example, the Red Room highlights how the color red can mean status, power, and fertility while simultaneously representing sports teams, political parties, and religions. The centerpiece of this room is a flowing Red Silk Chiffon and Organza Gown created especially for the The Nature of Color by fashion designer Brandon Maxwell.
NYC’s Covid numbers have been way down for over a month now (#nystrong), which means that the city’s cultural institutions are reopening — and no one is happier about that than me! We recently celebrated the 40th Birthday of a close friend by visiting the American Museum of Natural History on its reopening day, and we had all kinds of crazy, socially-distanced-and-masked-up fun. It was in the gift shop near the Dinosaur exhibits that we spotted this fun Shark Attack magnet. Be careful not to get your hands near his mouth, because he is HANGRY!
Detail of Window Celebrating The American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) All Photos By Gail
On the Saturday that NYC experienced its first snowfall of the 2017 Holiday season, I strolled by the Bergdorf Goodman windows on Fifth Avenue on my way to see a movie at the Paris Theatre. Even in the snow and related bluster, the sidewalks were clogged with tourists lined up to take photos and selfies in front of this gorgeous tableau, and you can see why! Check Them Out!
Red Neon Tribute to The New York Philharmonic
Bergdorf Goodman’s holiday window displays have long been a festive cornerstone on Fifth Avenue and this year, the department store continues its tradition of visual storytelling with an exhibit titled To New York, With Love. Each window is dedicated to a world-renowned NYC cultural institution, such as the New York Philharmonic, the American Museum of Natural History, and the New York Botanical Garden.
American Museum of Natural History
New York Botanical Garden, Artwork By Burke and Pryde Studio
Museum of the Moving Image
This one loses some of its graphic details when photographed in the dark, so be sure to check it out in the daylight to see all of the visuals that play out on the monitors behind the central mannequin.
New York Historical Society, Art By Mark Gagnon
I believe that To New York, With Love will be up through the end of January, as the next set of windows are scheduled to go up in February. Watch a fun and fascinating video of how these windows came together at This Link!
For Want of a Nail is an installation by the MTA Arts for Transit Design Team and the Museum of Natural History consisting of bronze, granite, ceramic and glass mosaic murals. The project represents a study of the evolution of life starting from the big bang to the present day. The southern stairway to the lower level, downtown C Train features a multi-wall ceramic tiel mosaic mural of vibrant ocean life forms.
See more of the For Want of a Nail project at this post.
If you’ve even been to the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) here in Manhattan, you probably have a favorite wing or exhibit hall, because everybody does. Most people seem to favor the Dinosaurs, and while those halls are certainly worth visiting at least once, I think they are a little played out. And while I do enjoy the Hall of Ocean Life, which is mind-blowing, my very favorite part of the museum are the Halls of Gems and Minerals, and I will recommend and rave about them to anyone who will listen. So, it was a pretty big deal to me when I received news from the AMNH that they will undertake a complete redesign of these very popular exhibit halls, currently known as the Morgan Memorial Hall of Gems and Harry Frank Guggenheim Hall of Minerals, transforming the 11,000-square-foot space into a gleaming showcase for their world-renowned collection! Wow! Not only that, but they also invited me to attend a media briefing event at the museum to witness the “Unveiling of a dazzling 12-foot-tall, 5-ton new acquisition!” Very exciting!
The new acquisitiion turned out to be a 9,000 pound Amethyst Geode mined in Uruguay, which will be on temporary view in the Museum’s Grand Gallery through the 2017 holiday season. The geode, which will eventually be a centerpiece in the new halls, is among the largest amethyst geodes in the world. I heard someone from the museum say that the Geode was nicknamed Stan. I am not sure if they were kidding or serious, but it pleases me to think that this gigantic rock crystal, which happens to also be my birthstone, has a nickname, and to wonder how they came up with Stan.
One of the reasons to visit the American Museum of Natural History is taking part in the Art Safari that you get to enjoy on your way out of the subway! Every time we arrive on the C Train stop at 81st Street and Central Park West to enjoy another urban adventure at this fantastic Museum, we find a new tile mosaic that we’ve not seen before. This pair of colorful parrots rest on the stairway handrail, exiting to the street.
Image of Amida Buddha, Gold Leaf Over Wood, Kama-kura, Japan, 1742 (Photo By Gail)
Some forms of Japanese Buddhism are rooted in the Mahayana, or Great Vehicle, school of belief. They regard Gautama, the Buddha of India, as only one of an almost endless sequence of Buddhas reaching back over an incomprehensible span of years. However, Amida Buddha is considered the Buddha yet to come; his invocation has been particularly important in Japan.
Photographed in the Museum of Natural History in NYC.
This shell is an Ammonite, a marine animal that went extinct at the same time as most dinosaurs, around 65 million years ago. The shell’s spectacular coloration is unusual and is found only in ammonites from Alberta, Canada, such as this one. For many millions of years, the shell was subject to high temperatures and pressures, which produced the iridescent effect.
Photographed in the Museum of Natural History in NYC.
This past summer, the Museum of Natural History had a fun special exhibit called Life at the Limits: Stories of Amazing Species. There was an additional fee (above regular admission) to get into the exhibit, but I paid it because I wanted to see this thing that looks like a Bear in a Hazmat Suit. Because, What the Hell is That Thing? I wondered.
It turns out that Hazmat Bear is called a Tardigrade — a water-dwelling, eight-legged, segmented micro-animal — and it was definitely the star of the show! There were giant, suspended Tardigrade models all over the ceiling inside the exhibit, accompanied by many informative placards telling you why they are so special.
For example, the microscopic Tardigrade can survive for years without water. Generally, it lives on damp moss, where water forms a film around its body. If the moss dries out, the Tardigrade senses trouble. It shrinks into a ball and its vital systems nearly shut down. The dried-out-ball — called a Tun — can live on for up to a decade, then spring back to action when moistened with water again. Fascinating.
The Tardigrade has some fun nicknames as well, such as the “Water Bear” or “Moss Piglet” (My favorite). Tardigrades are a large group of animals that includes some of the toughest creatures in the world. They have been known to survive temperatures far above boiling, and colder than the surface or Pluto. In a word: Resilient!
Why had I never even heard of these little guys before learning about them in a museum exhibit?
As a way to escape the oppressive heat here in Manhattan this past Sunday, we went on an Urban Adventure to the American Museum of Natural History, where we spotted this little Pink Morganite Goddess statue is on display in The Morgan Memorial Hall of Gems. If you haven’t yet managed to see this particular area of the museum, you really do need to check it out.
The Morgan Memorial Hall of Gems exhibits a vast array of precious and ornamental stones — uncut, polished, and even a few set in elaborate pieces of jewelry — as well as organic materials such as coral and amber, that are prized as gems. The exhibit gallery is also designed like you are perusing a rather posh jewelry store, and benefits from what I would refer to as “mood lighting. The effect is very calming.
Morganite is a stone that is often called Pink Emerald, probably because both of these stones are varieties of Beryl. You will learn so music about gems and minerals during your visit, and it is a nice break from the Dinosaurs.
Here’s nice shot of the entire display case.
And here’s a slightly more in-focus close-up of the same statue, with Geoffrey photo bombing in the background.