Vintage Behind The Scenes Photos Of The American Museum Of Natural History

Wooden framework, first stage for mounting elephant

Wooden framework, first stage for mounting elephant

Assembling bones for Nodosaurus dinosaur skeleton from dinosaur bone collection

Assembling bones for Nodosaurus dinosaur skeleton from dinosaur bone collection

Charles Lang and Carl Sorensen working on skull of Palaeoloxodon antiquus italicus

Charles Lang and Carl Sorensen working on skull of Palaeoloxodon antiquus italicus

Museum staff with fossil shark jaws under restoration

Museum staff with fossil shark jaws under restoration

If you’ve ever been to the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, you’ve probably spent some time marveling at the grandiose installations and the larger-than life exhibits of species that are both alive and extinct. The Research Library at the museum kept incredible records of how these things were produced and have the photographs available for view on their website. These behind-the-scenes looks are fascinating, featuring taxidermy, assemblage, and the hoisting up of giant bones.

Employes built a lot of the structures from the ground up, forming armatures for what were birds, elephants, antelopes, and more. There was also fun to be had with large fossils, like a shark’s jaw, where we see one of the employees suspended in air, sitting on it, paying the giant teeth very little mind.

Removed from context, there is a surreal quality to these photographs. They represent a different time, an era when we didn’t have all the technological advances that we do today. Because of this, things in the museum have the tendency to feel dated and look aged, but these records show the amount of knowledge of craft and handiwork that had to go into the giant exhibits that we still visit today. (Via Fish Eyes)

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