Tag Archive | AMNH

Eye On Design: 2017 Holiday Windows at Bergdorf Goodman

AMNH Detail
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!

New York Philharmonic
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

NYBG By Burke and Pryde Studio
New York Botanical Garden, Artwork By Burke and Pryde Studio

Museum of the Moving Image
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
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!

New York Philharmonic

Undersea Life Mural at 81st Street Subway Stop

Undersea Mural
All Photos By Gail

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.

Undersea Mural Nautilus Detail

See more of the For Want of a Nail project at this post.

Undersea Mural Shark Detail
Shark Attack in the Subway!

AMNH Announces Redesign of Its Halls of Gems and Minerals with Unveiling of Monumental Amethyst Geode

Amethyst Geode Full
All Photos By Gail Except Where Indicated

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!

Amethyst Geode Full

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.

Current Hall of Gems
Current Hall of Gems and Minerals (Photo Courtesy of the AMNH)

The renovation of the Halls of Gems and Minerals, which are being designed by Ralph Appelbaum Associates, is part of a series of physical and programmatic enhancements to historic parts of the institution, leading up to its 150th anniversary and the opening of the Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation, a major new facility that will house resources for education, exhibition, and research, and reveal modern science to visitors of all ages.

Here are a few renderings of how the new Halls will look (all renderings images are courtesy of the AMNH).

New Hall of Gems
New Hall of Gems Entrance with Crystal Specimen Embedded in the Wall

Mineral formation zones rendering
Mineral Formation Zones Rendering. You Can See “Stan” at the Rear of The Hall.

Gem Gallery Rendering
Gem Gallery Rendering

Museum President Ellen V. Futter offered trhe following statement, “Whether you’re talking about the spectacular 563-carat Star of India sapphire or the unique almandine (deep-violet-hued)  Subway Garnet unearthed in New York City in 1885, the American Museum of Natural History is known for having one of the most spectacular and comprehensive collections of gems and minerals in the world.” Manhattan-based philanthropist couple Allison and Roberto Mignone are providing funding for the renovation, and as such the new hall will be named Mignone Halls of Gems and Minerals. The new halls will include many fun surprises, including  a fluorescence and phosphorescence gallery, featuring a massive panel of fluorescent rock from the Sterling Hill Mining Museum in Ogdensburg, New Jersey, that glows in shades of orange and green under ultraviolet light!

Amethyst Geode Detail
Amethyst Geode Details

Amethyst Geode Detail

Amethyst Geode Detail

While the Halls of Gems and Minerals previously formed a cul-de-sac, they will soon feature a dramatic link, via a stunning Crystalline Pass on the north side of the halls, to the Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation, the new facility designed by Studio Gang Architects. Construction on the new Mignone Halls of Gems of Minerals has now begun, with the closure of the current halls on October 26th, 2017. The Mignone Halls of Gems and Minerals are expected to open in 2019, as part of the Museum’s 150th anniversary celebration.

Amethyst Geode
This Image of the Amethyst Geode Courtesy of the AMNH

Parrots Tile Mosaic, 81st Street and CPW Subway Stop

Parrtos Tile Mosaic
Photo By Gail

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.

Future Buddha

Amida Buddha
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.


Ammonite Shell Fossil

Ammonite Shell
Photo By Gail

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.

Yes, It Exists: The Tardigrade

Tardigrade Exhibit Signage
All Photos By Gail

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.

Tardigrade Model

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.

Two Tardigrades

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!

Tardigrade Model Photo

Why had I never even heard of these little guys before learning about them in a museum exhibit?

Tardigrade, I am glad you exist!

Pink Thing of The Day: Pink Morganite Crystal Goddess

Pink Morganite Goddess
Photo By Gail

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.

Gemstone Sculptures

Here’s nice shot of the entire display case.

Pink Morganite Goddess

And here’s a slightly more in-focus close-up of the same statue, with Geoffrey photo bombing in the background.

Pterodactyl Joke

Pterodactyl Skeleton
Pterodactyl Skeleton Photographed By Gail at the AMNH

Q: Why Can’t You Hear When a Pterodactyl Uses The Bathroom?

A: Because the P is Silent.

Rock Crystal Lamps that Look Like Skyscrapers

Rock Crystal Lamps
Photographed by Gail in AMNH Gift Shop

The Manhattan Skyline should be so gorgeous, amiright? You can buy these lamps in the gift shop at the Museum of Natural History on the Upper West Side!