Santa Barbara Museum Of Natural History
Discover the lives of the Chumash
A Rare Treasure
The first thing you see on entering Chumash Life is a very fine basket with unusual designs copied from Spanish colonial coins. A closer look reveals words in Spanish encircling the rim. These tell us the weaver’s name, Juana Basilia, and indicate when and why she made the basket. This is one of only six Chumash baskets of this kind in the world.
Largest Chumash Basket Ever Found
The largest Chumash basket ever found is now on display in the Museums Chumash Life exhibit hall. This more than 200-year-old Cuyama Chumash basket was discovered in a remote area of Santa Barbaras backcountry in 2015 and is a beautiful representation of the strength and durability of baskets that played essential roles in all aspects of Chumash life.
The Halford Collection came to the Museum in 2013 and consists of well-preserved examples of Chumash artifacts made from plant materials, which often do not survive in the archaeological record. These artifacts include an arrow-making kit, hinged-stick snares, two beautiful examples of water bottle baskets, and much more. A selection of items from this collection is now on display in Chumash Life.
Lone Woman of San Nicolas Island
For more information on the Lone Woman please visit the National Park Service website:
Later Additions Restorations And Renovations
Since 1930, little has been added to the exterior of the original building. The architect Kevin Roche and his firm Roche-Dinkeloo have been responsible for the master planning of the museum since the 1990s. Various renovations to both the interior and exterior have been carried out. Renovations to the Dinosaur Hall were undertaken beginning in 1991, and the museum also restored the mural in Roosevelt Memorial Hall in 2010. In 1992 the Roche-Dinkeloo firm designed the eight-story AMNH Library. However, the entirety of the master plan was ultimately not fully realized, and by 2015, the museum consisted of 25 separate buildings that were poorly connected.
The museum’s south façade, spanning 77th Street from Central Park West to Columbus Avenue was cleaned, repaired, and re-emerged in 2009. Steven Reichl, a spokesman for the museum, said that work would include restoring 650 black-cherry window frames and stone repairs. The museum’s consultant on the latest renovation is Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc., an architectural and engineering firm with headquarters in Northbrook, Illinois.
Recognizing Native American Culture And Heritage
The Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County are proud to join the nationwide celebration of Native American Heritage Month in November. During this month, and throughout the year, we will share stories recognizing the thriving and diverse Native American community calling Los Angeles home.
Join the conversation on social media by sharing your own stories about Native American culture by using #NHMLA and #NativeAmericanHeritageMonth.
The Indigenous community in L.A. is here now and will be here always. Join us in conversation with members on their thriving and vibrant community, how they value cross-cultural connections and the ways in which they’re striving to revitalize their culture. The videos below connect to our Becoming Los Angeles exhibition, which explores how people, place, and possibility helped create Los Angeles.
Indigenous L.A.: Thriving and Vibrant
Indigenous L.A.: Cross-Cultural Connections
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Traveling The Silk Road
This intriguing exhibition brings to life one of the greatest trading routes in human history, showcasing the goods, cultures, and technologies from four representative cities: Xian, China’s Tang Dynasty capital Turfan, a verdant oasis and trading outpost Samarkand, home of prosperous merchants who thrived on the caravan trade and Baghdad, a fertile hub of commerce and scholarship that became the intellectual center of the era.
Meeting God: Elements Of Hindu Devotion
The exhibition was a window into the third largest religion in the world . In the exhibition, more than 75 photographs portrayed many of the rituals, prayers, customs, and festivals in India. Architectural elements transformed the Museum gallery into a series of rooms containing wooden shrines brought from different parts of South Asia. Visitors opened the doors to these shrines to reveal the sacred spaces within, as well as the unique variety of icons and devotional items inside, such as offering plates, bowls of holy water, bells, incense holders, and glowing, backlit transparencies of divine images. The diversity of Hinduism was further revealed by more than 60 devotional objects chosen from the Museum’s collections. The Museum organized and hosted a lecture series on Hinduism.
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Drawing Shadows To Stone
The exhibition commemorated the centennial of one of the most significant expeditions in the history of American anthropology, the American Museum of Natural History’s Jesup North Pacific Expedition . Providing a rare and compelling visual record of northern peoples and their cultures, this exhibition included approximately 1,200 archival photographs depicting scenes from daily life. Taken by members of the Jesup Expedition, these photographs provide an early example of the revolutionary use of the camera as an anthropological tool. In 1997, Curator Dr. Laurel Kendall and Research Fellow Alexia Bloch visited museums in areas of Kamchatka and Chukotka studied by the Expedition, introducing local communities to the Museum collections through digital imagery. This material is of immediate practical importance to local artisans who are reviving and perpetuating traditional handicrafts but it is of immense value to native communities in the post-Socialist world who are taking new pride in their cultural legacy.
David S And Ruth L Gottesman Hall Of Planet Earth
The David S. and Ruth L. Gottesman Hall of Planet Earth is a permanent hall devoted to the history of Earth, from accretion to the origin of life and contemporary human impacts on the planet. Several sections also discuss the studies of Earth systems, including geology, glaciology, atmospheric sciences, and volcanology.
The exhibit is famous for its large, touchable rock specimens. The hall features striking samples of banded iron and deformed conglomerate rocks, as well as granites, sandstones, lavas, and three black smokers.
The north section of the hall, which deals primarily with plate tectonics, is arranged to mimic the Earth’s structure, with the core and mantle at the center and crustal features on the perimeter.
Other areas of the museum contain repositories of life from the past. The Whale Bone Storage Room is a cavernous space in which powerful winches come down from the ceiling to move the giant fossil bones about. The museum attic upstairs includes even more storage facilities, such as the Elephant Room, while the tusk vault and boar vault are downstairs from the attic.:11920
Many of the fossils on display represent unique and historic pieces that were collected during the museum’s golden era of worldwide expeditions . On a smaller scale, expeditions continue into the present and have resulted in additions to the collections from Vietnam, Madagascar, South America, and central and eastern Africa.
The 4th floor includes the following halls:
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Body Art: Marks Of Identity
The exhibition explored the ways in which human beings around the world, past and present, decorate their bodies. Celebrating both cultural invention and individual artistry, this exhibition presented over 600 objects and many images from around the world dating from c. 3000 B.C. to the present, including superb sculptures, paintings, contemporary and historical photographs, rare books, engravings, and films. More than half of the objects and images presented were from the Museum’s collections the remainder was from public and private collections in the United States and abroad. The exhibition examined the historical and cultural significance behind ancient and modern body art practices including tattooing, piercing, body painting, body reshaping, henna, and scarification.
Rose Center For Earth And Space
The Hayden Planetarium, connected to the museum, is now part of the Rose Center for Earth and Space, housed in a glass cube containing the spherical Space Theater, designed by James Stewart Polshek. The Heilbrun Cosmic Pathway is one of the most popular exhibits in the Rose Center, which opened February 19, 2000.
Tom Hanks provided the voice-over for the first planetarium show during the opening of the new Rose Center for Earth & Space in the Hayden Planetarium in 2000. Since then such celebrities as Whoopi Goldberg, Robert Redford, Harrison Ford and Maya Angelou have been featured.
Founded in 1869, the AMNH Exhibitions Lab has since produced thousands of installations. The department is notable for its integration of new scientific research into immersive art and multimedia presentations. In addition to the famous dioramas at its home museum and the Rose Center for Earth and Space, the lab has also produced international exhibitions and software such as the Digital Universe Atlas.
The exhibitions team currently consists of over sixty artists, writers, preparators, designers and programmers. The department is responsible for the creation of two to three exhibits per year. These extensive shows typically travel nationally to sister natural history museums. They have produced, among others, the first exhibits to discuss Darwinian evolution,human-induced climate change and the mesozoic mass extinction via asteroid.
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Focus On Indigenous Stories
The hall features new multimedia exhibits, including a video by Michael Bourquin, an Indigenous filmmaker of Tahltan-Gitxsan descent.
There will also be an exhibit with contemporary artists from Indigenous communities in B.C., according to the museum, as well as an exhibit featuring Haa’yuups and the rest of the consulting curators called “Our Voices.”
“There’s a banner that represents my nation of Indigenous people that has of the Native names that were given to them every single member of the nation,” said Kwiispiisiis, Haa’yuups’ son, who is also known as Jake Hamilton.
“Those names have never been preserved. Some of them have never been on print before. So that was kind of incredible to see.”
Kwiispiisiis says he is hopeful the thousands of people who visit the new Northwest Coast Hall get a better understanding and appreciation of Indigenous peoples in B.C.
“The amount of people in a year might be more than we have in British Columbia,” he said, laughing. “It’s fantastic.”
For Haa’yuups, he hopes museums will eventually fully repatriate the relics they have taken from cultures around the world.
“Our communities today are universally crying for healing,” he said. “Perhaps returning those objects could serve that purpose somewhat or serve some role in that healing.”
Spring 202: Dolores Purdy
Dolores is a member of the Caddo Nation of Oklahoma and Winnebago descent living north of Santa Fe, New Mexico. Warrior Art is a common description of the ledger art style, and was considered a male art form in the past. For over 2 decades, she has followed the gender specific traditional art form by using the same medium of antique paper and colored pencils, only creating a contemporary version from a female perspective. Her work veers far from the usual imagery typically seen in most contemporary ledger art. The images can be humorous or serious while immersed in Native American heritage, iconography and pop culture.
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Arthur Ross Hall Of Meteorites
The Arthur Ross Hall of Meteorites contains some of the finest specimens in the world including Ahnighito, a section of the 200-ton Cape York meteorite which was first made known to non-Inuit cultures on their investigation of Meteorite Island, Greenland. Its great weight, 34 tons, makes it the largest displayed in the Northern Hemisphere. It has support by columns that extend through the floor and into the bedrock below the museum.
The hall also contains extra-solar nanodiamonds more than 5 billion years old. These were extracted from a meteorite sample through chemical means, and they are so small that a quadrillion of these fit into a volume smaller than a cubic centimeter.
Chiefly Feasts: The Enduring Kwakiutl Potlatch
The magnificent collection of objects made by the Kwakiutl Indians of northern Vancouver Island and the nearby mainland lies at the heart of the exhibition. It featured some of the extraordinary 19th-century creations such as masks, headdresses, blankets, coppers, feast dishes, and other ceremonial objects, which George Hunt collected for Franz Boas. Also featured were 20th-century pieces made at the time potlatching was illegal, and contemporary artworks, many made by George Hunt’s descendants. Members of the contemporary Kwakiutl community participated in preparing this exhibition. More than 100 objects from the American Museum and other collections were displayed, including modern items in an exhibit case titled “The Potlatch Today.”
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Harriet And Robert Heilbrunn Cosmic Pathway
The Harriet and Robert Heilbrunn Cosmic Pathway is a 110 meter long path in the Rose Center for Earth and Space.
It starts from the exit of the Hayden Big Bang Theater and goes on till the base of the Hayden Sphere, representing the 13-billion-year history of the universe.
Major developmental stages such as the formation of the Milky Way, the Sun, the Earth, the first life on Earth, oxygen production in the oceans, and the Age of Dinosaurs are represented on the pathway.
Along the way, exciting panels and exhibits help visitors learn about the universe, the planet, and life itself.
Some of the highlights on this cosmic pathway are a meteorite that dates from the solar systems birth, a piece of rock from the oldest rock formation on Earth, the fossilized serrated tooth of a massive carnivorous dinosaur, and a trilobite .
All these exhibits are included in the General Admission ticket.
Allison And Roberto Mignone Halls Of Gems And Minerals
The Allison and Roberto Mignone Halls of Gems and Minerals houses thousands of rare gems, minerals specimens and pieces of jewelry. The halls closed in 2017 to undergo a $32 million redesign by Ralph Appelbaum Associates and reopened to the general public in June 2021. The redesigned exhibits adopt newer philosophies in exhibit design, including a focus on storytelling, interactivity, and connecting ideas across disciplines. The halls explore a range of topics, including the diversification of mineral species over the course of Earth’s history, plate tectonics, and the stories of specific gems.
The halls display rare samples chosen from among the more than 100,000 pieces in the museum’s collection including the Star of India, the Patricia Emerald, and the DeLong Star Ruby.
Assorted faceted and polished minerals
Quartz var. amethyst geode
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Richard Gilder Graduate School
The AMNH offers a Master of Arts in Teaching in Earth Science and a PhD in Comparative Biology.
On October 23, 2006, the museum launched the Richard Gilder Graduate School, which offers a PhD in Comparative Biology, becoming the first American museum in the United States to award doctoral degrees in its own name. Accredited in 2009, in 2011 the graduate school had 11 students enrolled, who work closely with curators and they have access to the collections. The first seven graduates to complete the program were awarded their degrees on September 30, 2013. The dean of the graduate school is AMNH paleontologist John J. Flynn, and the namesake and major benefactor is Richard Gilder.
The MAT Earth Science Residency program was launched in 2012 to address a critical shortage of qualified science teachers in New York State, particularly in high-needs schools with diverse populations. In 2015, the MAT program officially joined the Richard Gilder Graduate School, with the NYS Board of Regents authorizing the Gilder School to grant the MAT degree. The program has about 16 graduates complete the program each year.
Cherokee Desert Rose Flower
When the Trail of Tears started in 1838, the mothers of the Cherokee were grieving and crying so much, they were unable to help their children survive the journey. The elders prayed for a sign that would lift the mothers spirits to give them strength. The next day a beautiful rose began to grow where each of the mothers tears fell. The rose is white for their tears a gold center represents the gold taken from Cherokee lands, and seven leaves on each stem for the seven Cherokee clans. The wild Cherokee Rose grows along the route of the Trail of Tears into eastern Oklahoma today.
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Our Senses: An Immersive Experience
Every day, we perceive the world around us through our senses – including sight, smell, hearing, touch, balance, and taste. But as it turns out, for humans “reality” isn’t ever exactly what it seems. In this highly experiential exhibition, explore 11 spaces that dare you to trust your senses – then show you how what we perceive is not simply a window into the world around us but a product of our brains.
Milstein Hall Of Ocean Life
The Milstein Hall of Ocean Life focuses on , botany and . The hall is most famous for its 94-foot -longblue whale model, suspended from the ceiling behind its dorsal fin.
The upper level of the hall exhibits the vast array of ecosystems present in the ocean. Dioramas compare and contrast the life in these different settings including polar seas, kelp forests, mangroves, coral reefs and the bathypelagic. It attempts to show how vast and varied the oceans are while encouraging common themes throughout. The lower, and arguably more famous, half of the hall consists of several large dioramas of larger marine organisms. It is on this level that the famous “Squid and the Whale” diorama sits, depicting a hypothetical fight between the two creatures. Other notable exhibits in this hall include the Andros Coral Reef Diorama, which is the only two-level diorama in the Western Hemisphere. One of the most famous icons of the museum is a life-sized fiberglass model of a 94-foot long Atlantic blue whale. The whale was redesigned dramatically in the 2003 renovation: its flukes and fins were readjusted, a navel was added, and it was repainted from a dull gray to various rich shades of blue. Upper dioramas are smaller versions of the ecosystems when the bottom versions are much bigger and more life like.
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