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Alabama Museum of Natural History

The Grand Gallery Exhibition Hall
Established 1831
Location Tuscaloosa, Alabama
United States
Website Alabama Museum of Natural History

The Alabama Museum of Natural History is the state's natural history museum, located in Smith Hall at the University of Alabama campus in Tuscaloosa. The oldest museum in the state, it was founded in 1831. The exhibits depict the natural diversity of Alabama from the Age of Dinosaurs, the Coal Age, and the Ice Age. Collections include items relating to geology, zoology, mineralogy, paleontology, ethnology, history, and photography.[1] The Grand Gallery Exhibition Hall houses a replica of a Basilosaurus cetoides, an Eocene whale that has been designated as the State Fossil. Exhibits of special interest include the skull of a mammoth dredged from the Tombigbee River near Demopolis and the Hodges meteorite. It hit a woman as it fell to earth near Sylacauga on November 30, 1954.[2] The museum sponsors expeditions throughout the year, as it has since 1979.[3][4]

History

The current home for the Alabama Museum of Natural History, Smith Hall, is named in honor of Dr. Eugene Allen Smith. He was appointed as state geologist in 1873 and spent nearly forty years surveying, mapping and collecting scientific specimens throughout the state. The cornerstone for Smith Hall was laid on May 28, 1907. Construction of Smith Hall was completed in fall 1909 and it was formally dedicated on May 5, 1910.[5]

Architecture

Smith Hall consists of a three-story central block, built to house the Alabama Museum of Natural History, and adjoining two-story north and south wings. The north wing originally housed the Department of Biology with the south wing housing the Department of Geology. The Department of Geology currently occupies both wings. The architecture of Smith Hall mirrors the design and layout of several large natural history museums that were also built in the early years of the 20th century in Chicago, New York and Washington, D.C., only on a smaller scale.[5]

The building is designed in a Classical Revival style known as Beaux-Arts. The exterior features an engaged colonnade of eight Ionic columns raised above a podium-like ground floor. The main entrance is at ground level through a pedimented stone doorway. Immediately inside the entrance is a center hall dominated by a sweeping staircase made of Alabama marble and supported by Alabama-manufactured iron. The staircase leads to the Grand Gallery Exhibition Hall on the second floor. The Grand Gallery is ringed by a colonnade of monumental Corinthian columns supporting an entablature and cornice. A barrel vaulted ceiling above the cornice contains skylights that provide the space with natural light.[5]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Collections". Alabama Museum of Natural History. 2008. http://amnh.ua.edu/collections.html. Retrieved 2008-05-17.  
  2. ^ "UA Museum to Observe 50th Anniversary of Hodges Meteorite". University of Alabama. November 24, 2004. http://uanews.ua.edu/anews2004/nov04/meteorite112404.htm. Retrieved 2008-05-17.  
  3. ^ "Museum Expeditions". Alabama Museum of Natural History. 2008. http://amnh.ua.edu/expeditions.html. Retrieved 2008-05-17.  
  4. ^ "Expedition Background and History". Alabama Museum of Natural History. 2008. http://amnh.ua.edu/expbackground.html. Retrieved 2008-05-17.  
  5. ^ a b c Nature South: The Magazine of the Alabama Museum of Natural History 4 (2). http://www.ua.edu/academic/museums/history/wordpress/?page_id=11.  

Coordinates: 33°12′43″N 87°32′38″W / 33.212°N 87.544°W / 33.212; -87.544

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Alabama Museum of Natural History
Established 1831
Location Tuscaloosa, Alabama
United States
Website Alabama Museum of Natural History

The Alabama Museum of Natural History is the state's natural history museum, located in Smith Hall at the University of Alabama campus in Tuscaloosa. The oldest museum in the state, it was founded in 1831. The exhibits depict the natural diversity of Alabama from the Age of Dinosaurs, the Coal Age, and the Ice Age. Collections include items relating to geology, zoology, mineralogy, paleontology, ethnology, history, and photography.[1] The Grand Gallery Exhibition Hall houses a replica of a Basilosaurus cetoides, an Eocene whale that has been designated as the State Fossil. Exhibits of special interest include the skull of a mammoth dredged from the Tombigbee River near Demopolis and the Hodges meteorite. It hit a woman as it fell to earth near Sylacauga on November 30, 1954.[2] The museum sponsors expeditions throughout the year, as it has since 1979.[3][4]

History

The current home for the Alabama Museum of Natural History, Smith Hall, is named in honor of Dr. Eugene Allen Smith. He was appointed as state geologist in 1873 and spent nearly forty years surveying, mapping and collecting scientific specimens throughout the state. The cornerstone for Smith Hall was laid on May 28, 1907. Construction of Smith Hall was completed in fall 1909 and it was formally dedicated on May 5, 1910.[5]

Architecture

Smith Hall consists of a three-story central block, built to house the Alabama Museum of Natural History, and adjoining two-story north and south wings. The north wing originally housed the Department of Biology with the south wing housing the Department of Geology. The Department of Geology currently occupies both wings. The architecture of Smith Hall mirrors the design and layout of several large natural history museums that were also built in the early years of the 20th century in Chicago, New York and Washington, D.C., only on a smaller scale.[5]

The building is designed in a Classical Revival style known as Beaux-Arts. The exterior features an engaged colonnade of eight Ionic columns raised above a podium-like ground floor. The main entrance is at ground level through a pedimented stone doorway. Immediately inside the entrance is a center hall dominated by a sweeping staircase made of Alabama marble and supported by Alabama-manufactured iron. The staircase leads to the Grand Gallery Exhibition Hall on the second floor. The Grand Gallery is ringed by a colonnade of monumental Corinthian columns supporting an entablature and cornice. A barrel vaulted ceiling above the cornice contains skylights that provide the space with natural light.[5]

See also

Alabama portal

References

  1. ^ "Collections". Alabama Museum of Natural History. 2008. http://amnh.ua.edu/collections.html. Retrieved 2008-05-17. 
  2. ^ "UA Museum to Observe 50th Anniversary of Hodges Meteorite". University of Alabama. November 24, 2004. http://uanews.ua.edu/anews2004/nov04/meteorite112404.htm. Retrieved 2008-05-17. 
  3. ^ "Museum Expeditions". Alabama Museum of Natural History. 2008. http://amnh.ua.edu/expeditions.html. Retrieved 2008-05-17. 
  4. ^ "Expedition Background and History". Alabama Museum of Natural History. 2008. http://amnh.ua.edu/expbackground.html. Retrieved 2008-05-17. 
  5. ^ a b c Nature South: The Magazine of the Alabama Museum of Natural History 4 (2). http://www.ua.edu/academic/museums/history/wordpress/?page_id=11. 

Coordinates: 33°12′43″N 87°32′38″W / 33.212°N 87.544°W / 33.212; -87.544


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