Beauty & Science: The Gilder Center at The American Museum of Natural History

I am not late to the ribbon cutting; I just waited a bit for the prehistoric confetti to settle, the crowds to subside, and the fanfare to squelch just a bit. Unless you live under a fossil, you must have heard about the new addition to the stately, popular, and regal American Museum of Natural History. The Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education and Innovation opened their doors earlier this month, after the anticipation for this project surpassed all expectations.

The awe-inspiring new addition to the campus creates 33 connections among 10 Museum buildings, including a new entrance on 79th Street and Columbus Avenue. This center will not only inspire the next generation of wide-eyed children, but it will also assist in research and new projects/discoveries for those working in the fields of science and education.

“As a scientist, I’m excited that the Gilder Center will reveal more of the cross-disciplinary processes of science and be a powerful springboard for an even deeper integration of the Museum’s ongoing research with our exhibition program and education initiatives—all while inspiring our visitors to appreciate and learn about how all life on Earth is connected,” said Sean M. Decatur, President of the American Museum of Natural History.

Dr. Albert S. Bickmore came up with the idea for the American Museum of Natural History in 1861. While visiting natural history museums throughout Europe, he approached the idea for a similar project in New York City due to the location and wealth of the city/state. He lobbied unsuccessfully for its development until being introduced to Theodore Roosevelt Sr., the father of the future U.S. President. Construction was slowly implemented from its inception to the first structure that opened to the public circa 1871 and continued with a Victorian Gothic style thru 1916. Due to the involvement and support of President Theodore Roosevelt, the main entrance hall on Central Park was named after him circa1931. Originally called Manhattan Square, the museum park was renamed Theodore Roosevelt Park in 1958.

Now is the time to visit or revisit this city landmark and perhaps become a member. The perks are plentiful and they make great gifts. (Tip: Father’s Day is just around the corner).

Following are just a few of the perks that I deem museum member-worthy:

  • Access to a Member Entrance.
  • Free General Admission and free tickets to all special exhibitions.
  • Free tickets to giant-screen movies and Space Shows on every visit.
  • Free tickets to the immersive experience Invisible Worlds.
  • Free tickets to the Davis Family Butterfly Vivarium.
  • 10% off Museum Shop purchases, plus Double Discount Days.
  • 15% off Museum Food Court purchases.
  • Parking discounts.

Link: American Museum of Natural History

Photos: P. K. Greenfield and John Noltner


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