This redesigned exhibit totally rocks!
Sorry, we had to…
The American Museum of Natural History has announced that The Allison and Roberto Mignone Hall of Gems and Minerals finally opened to the public this past June, and it’s not to be missed.
The hall has been part of the museum since the ’70s, and closed in 2017 to be redesigned as one of the New York icon’s 150th anniversary projects. It was originally supposed to open this past fall, then in February of 2021, but because of the pandemic, it was pushed back to this spring.
We got to witness the completely dazzling display in person, and it did not disappoint!
“When you enter the Halls, you truly feel as if you’ve walked into the world’s jewelry box,” said Allison Mignone, vice chair of the Museum’s campaign. And we definitely felt that way too.
The piece de resistance is right at the entrance — a 9-foot-tall amethyst geode, sparkling incandescently in bright purple.
It’s back-to-back with another similar but taller specimen — this one clocking in a at12 feet. They are both from Uruguay, and are some of the world’s largest on display in public.
At a whopping 11,000 square feet, the new hall has been updated in both design and tech: there are interactive displays, touchable specimens, and media.
The redesigned exhibit tells the story of “how the vast diversity of mineral types—which, similarly to biological organisms, are grouped into species—arose on Earth, how scientists classify them, and how humans have used them throughout the millennia for personal adornment, tools, and technology,” as the museum describes.
Here are some of the unbelievable main elements the new space includes:
- 3-foot-tall cranberry-colored elbaite tourmaline that is one of the largest intact mineral crystal clusters ever found:
- 9-pound almandine Subway Garnet discovered under Manhattan’s 35th Street in 1885:
- A slice of a fossilized tree called a “metasequoia” that lived between 35 and 33 million years ago:
- The Singing Stone, a massive block of vibrant blue azurite and green malachite that was first exhibited at the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago:
- A luminous gallery featuring a wall-sized panel of rock glowing fluorescently in shades of orange and green
- A 3,000-pound block of iridescent green and blue labradorite
- 1.8-billion-year-old assemblage of large dravite tourmaline crystals
There will also be returning treasures like the legendary 563-carat “Star of India” sapphire and the 632-carat Patricia emerald.
And, the relaunch includes the hall’s first temporary exhibit: “Beautiful Creatures.” It will showcase the most gorgeous jewelry from years past to current times inspired by animals, with pieces by Cartier, Bulgari, Tiffany & Co. and more.
All in all, the new exhibits will feature about 5,000 specimens from 98 different countries.
If you’re wondering how you missed this hall when you visited this museum in the past, it was because it had previously been a cul-de-sac that you could only enter or exit from the south end. With the redesign, it will be connected to the new Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation currently under construction, which will flow much better and allow for less congestion.
Reservations to the gallery will be included in general admission tickets that are now available for reservation at amnh.org.. You will have to a join a “virtual line” for the Hall once you enter the museum, which is first-come first-served and may fill up.
We think it’s New York City’s most sparkling exhibit yet!
featured image source: Courtesy Museum of Natural History