The American Museum of Natural History has been renovating its Theodore Roosevelt Memorial and Hall of North American Animals for three years now and the beautiful new space proudly opened its doors last month. Designed by legendary architect Louis I. Khan, the $40 million dollar project has renewed the hall's displays and adapted energy-efficient and sustainable fixtures throughout. A private press preview was held to unveil the memorial and specially commissioned statue of the great American conservationist, and we were on the scene snapping pics - read on to see them all!
Roosevelt’s strong ties with the Museum of Natural History began when he was a child, when he would visit and admire the various fossils and fauna displayed in its halls. As an adult, the president was known for his work to preserve national parks, game reserves, animal refuges and forests, and in 1924, a memorial was erected in the museum to honor his legacy.
In addition to a brand new statue of Roosevelt seated in the rotunda in a circle of benches, the entire Grand Hall on the Central Park West entrance was revamped in the renovation. The hall’s gorgeous murals portraying people and animals of the world, flora and Roosevelt himself were restored, as was the façade and marble work inside.
The central focus of the renovation is the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Hall. Exhibitions highlighting Roosevelt’s naturalist explorations have been curated around the hall, including personal artifacts collected during his life time. Four dioramas relating to Roosevelt’s history and explorations have also been installed.
The Hall of North American Animals was also renovated, first by replacing all of the incandescent lights with energy-efficient LED lighting. This has already saved the museum 20% on energy and 30% on steam. The taxidermied animals were also treated, recoloring their coats, which had been bleached over time from the incandescent lighting.
The triumphant project was funded both with private and public support, and has renewed projects highlighting the great nature and animal life of America. Coupled with sustainable practices, this renovation has ensured generations to come will enjoy the incredible exhibitions made possible by Theodore Roosevelt.
Images ©Lori Zimmer for Inhabitat
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