The Museum of Natural History is one of the most popular museums in the world, attracting millions of visitors every year. But have you ever wondered who started this amazing institution? Let’s dive into the history and find out.
The Early Years
The Museum of Natural History was founded in 1869 by Albert Smith Bickmore, an American naturalist and traveler. Bickmore was inspired by the museums he had seen during his travels to Europe and wanted to create a similar institution in New York City.
Bickmore started his campaign by giving lectures about natural history and urging wealthy individuals to donate money for a museum. His efforts paid off when he convinced industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie to donate $300,000 for the creation of a museum.
The Founding of the Museum
With Carnegie’s donation, the American Museum of Natural History was established in Manhattan. The original building was designed by Calvert Vaux and J.W. Mould and opened its doors to the public on April 27, 1871.
The museum quickly became a popular attraction among New Yorkers and tourists alike. Its collections included specimens from around the world, ranging from dinosaur fossils to exotic birds.
The Growth of the Museum
Over the years, the museum continued to grow both in size and reputation. In 1899, it moved to its current location on Central Park West, where it occupies four city blocks. The new building was designed by Calvert Vaux’s son-in-law, Frederick Law Olmsted Jr., along with J.C. Cady.
Today, the American Museum of Natural History is one of the largest museums in the world with over 33 million specimens and artifacts in its collection. It has also become a center for scientific research with over 200 scientists working on various projects.
In conclusion, the Museum of Natural History was founded by Albert Smith Bickmore in 1869 with the help of Andrew Carnegie’s generous donation. Over the years, the museum has grown to become one of the most popular and respected institutions in the world. Its collections and research have contributed greatly to our understanding of the natural world and will continue to do so for generations to come.