Tuesday, November 13, 2012

American Museum of Natural History

 Model of African Elephant Group for African Hall  1914

School children studying partial African Elephant Group 1927

African Elephant Group  2011

One of the museum’s most spectacular exhibits, the group of eight elephants in the center of the Akeley Hall of African Mammals, includes an elephant shot by Roosevelt in 1909 during his African expedition, on which he set out almost as soon as he had left the White House.
In the book “Windows on Nature: The Great Habitat Dioramas of the American Museum of Natural History” (2006), Stephen C. Quinn, a senior project manager at the museum, writes that the naturalist Carl Akeley was hunting elephants for the museum in 1909 and joined with Roosevelt and his son Kermit, who were collecting for the Smithsonian Institution in Washington. The former president shot a cow and Kermit, its calf. They let Mr. Akeley, an expert in the creation of animal displays, take them back to New York, where he mounted them as part of the original group of four elephants. Four others were mounted in 1934.
Roosevelt’s African expedition brought back to the Smithsonian 5,013 mammals, 4,453 birds, and 2,322 reptiles and amphibians, according to “Theodore Roosevelt the Naturalist” by Paul R. Cutright (1956).

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