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Amnh Museum Natural History Space Minerals Evolution Dinosaurs

Ever since I was eleven and my Dad said, “Let’s go to the American Museum of Natural History.” I have loved this museum. Dad wanted me to see the dinosaurs, but because we lived in upstate New York about forty five miles west of Albany, we had to drive over three hours to get there. That didn’t diminish the thrill I felt when we arrived at the museum. I felt like I was being initiated into a special place that held the deepest secrets of the natural world that would forever change my life. The dinosaurs were both huge and mysterious. My fascination with them propelled me to ask questions about the natural world and our place within it. It was my earliest attempt to rationally understand who we were and where we had originated and I owe it all to the American Museum of Natural History.

Today, the dinosaurs are as big and mysterious as ever. Since my first visit, the brontosaurus has received a new head and the dinosaur exhibit has been upgraded with state-of-the-art computer graphics to show how they must have moved and lived. Such is progress, but the Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton still enthralls me as it did when I was that eleven year old boy from upstate New York. From the Blue Whale room to the meteorites; from the Indian culture exhibit to the African mammal dioramas, there’s too much to mention in this brief review. With the relatively recent completion of the modernistic Rose Center for Earth and Space building, one can literally go from the creation of the universe to the deep sea thermal vents and sample the overwhelming diverse and complex life and mineral forms that have evolved in our natural world.

The website for the museum is located at http://www.amnh.org/. This is no substitute for visiting the museum, but the website lists current and ongoing exhibitions, lectures and IMAX theater shows. The IMAX theater is the largest of many smaller theaters within the museum that offer special shows. These can be anything from anthropology to space exploration and everything in between. After an IMAX show you may feel like you’ve actually been on the expedition! This is only an introduction to the massive amounts to see and do at the museum and as one who has explored the museum for many decades now, I can say that it is sometimes best just to go and see what’s there. There is always something that will enthrall you and the entire family.

Another exhibit that continues to enthrall me are the old dioramas that were hand painted to depict the animals in their natural settings. These are wonderful works of art that display some of the animals that Teddy Roosevelt shot on his safaris. This past blends into the most modern and futuristic parts of the museum such as the Hall of Biodiversity, which is an animated and computerized exhibition devoted to the need to protect and preserve our planet’s biodiversity.

Sometimes there are special shows such as the Darwin or chocolate exhibits. Then there was the live frog exhibit and the Einstein exhibit… There’s also the Human Evolution and Gems and Minerals exhibits, which wonderfully convey the progression in our understanding of these natural phenomena. The museum is closed Thanksgiving and Christmas Day, but remains open every other day of the year! Resolve now to go and enjoy!

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