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THE year has closed with much work in progress, although many things are so hinged together that one cannot move without the other. For example, the section of the Big Tree in the Darwin hall has been waiting many years for a suitable place in the hall of forestry. The rearrangement of the forestry hall permits the removal of a case that provides room for the Big Tree, that in turn leaves room for the erection of a case to hold the domesticated dogs illustrating variation under domestication, and the removal of these permits a rearrangement of the mammals that will ultimately lead to the assembling of new bird groups.
Similarly the removal of the groups of New York mammals to the hall of North American mammals permits the taking down of the large cases and provides a home for the exhibits of the department of public health and the closely related department of anatomy and physiology. At the same time the cases once containing the groups of mammals will be transferred to the African hall for the extension of that part of the collection.
MR. WALTER GRANGER, associate curator of fossil mammals, has been abroad since early November engaged in part upon researches among the fossil mammals of the English and French museums, especially the Old World relatives of the four-toed horse.
THE exhibit illustrating the evolution of the horse has been reinstalled and extended. It now displays upon a single panel the principal stages in the evolution in size and general proportions, in skull and feet, teeth, brain and limb-bones, all arranged in accordance with the successive geologic formations in which they are found. The panel is to the right of the entrance of the mammal hall. The Amblypoda, gigantic quadrupeds of the early Tertiary Period are being reinstalled upon the panel system at the opposite end of the hall. Other recent additions to the fossil vertebrate collections are the Fort Lee reptile and the skeleton of a smaller relative, the Rutiodon, from the coal fields of North Carolina, displayed in the corridor opposite the elevator; and in the quaternary hall, skeletons (casts) of the extinct South American quadrupeds Macrauchenia and Toxodon, with a number of small models illustrating the extinct animals of the Quaternary Period in South America.
DR. WILLIAM H. HOLMES, curator-in-chief of the anthropological division of the National Museum, visited the Museum December 19 to view the North American archæological collections. Dr. Holmes is generally recognized as the leading archæologist in America
PROFESSOR CHARLES-EDWARD AMORY WINSLOW will represent the American Museum of Natural History at the forthcoming International
THE AMERICAN MUSEUM JOURNAL
Congress of Hygiene and Demography to be held in New York September,
THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE has created the office of assistant librarian and has appointed Miss Ida Richardson Hood to fill the position.
THE COLOMBIAN EXPEDITION has thus far sent collections of birds and mammals numbering between three and four thousand specimens, which prove to be exceptionally rich in species new to the Museum collection as well as new to science. Preliminary study of the birds, for example, shows that the wrens and thrushes are represented by eighteen species and subspecies all of which are practically unknown to the Museum collection, while several appear not to have been described. The single family of flycatchers further illustrates the richness of the avifauna of the region in question, the collection containing no less than fifty-nine representatives of this family, or nearly twice as many as are found in America north of Mexico.
MR. J. PIERPONT MORGAN has presented to the gem hall a small but very interesting and valuable collection. It consists of large crystals of benitoite the beautiful new gem stone of California, a double colored polished beryl section, a euclase crystal associated with yellow topaz, and three remarkable tourmalines from Madagascar. The most prominent specimen is a really wonderful mass of aquamarine weighing thirteen pounds, which is only a small portion of a crystal that weighed 246 pounds. It is deceptively like glass, possessing a perfect texture, and having the typical and always fascinating aquamarine tint, delicately blue with interior greenish reflections.
AMONG the groups in preparation for the Darwin hall is one illustrating the complex relations of animals to one another and to man, which it is hoped will be on exhibition within a few months. A museum has been likened to an iceberg seven-eighths of which, so far as the public is concerned is not in view. The visitor sees the finished product; he does not see the varied steps that lead up to it from collection in the field through the work of preparation. The public reads with interest of extended exploration in Colombia, of fossil hunting in Alberta: a year, or two years afterward appears a note or an article to the effect that such a group or such a specimen has just been placed on exhibition. Even the visitor to the workrooms cannot realize how long and tedious much of the preparation really is nor the pains necessary to secure seemingly simple results.
DR. P. E. GODDARD, associate curator of anthropology, has just returned
reservation in the region of Anadarko, Oklahoma. A fairly representative collection, which included a number of excellent buckskin garments and ceremonial objects of interest, was obtained from the Kiowa-Apache and Kiowa. A collection of metal-work and other objects was obtained from the Caddo; and from the Wichita, who still occupy their large grass houses, were obtained among other old and valuable specimens two buffalo skin robes and a buffalo skin bag. During the stay a large number of myths and folk tales were recorded in the Kiowa-Apache dialect. These will furnish much needed information concerning the folklore of the region and a basis for linguistic study. This is a matter of unusual interest since the Kiowa-Apache have been believed to be more closely connected with the Athapascan peoples of the North than with their other relatives, the Apache and Navajo of the Southwest. It was discovered however that they are linguistically closely related to both the Lipan and the Jicarilla. Apache. About two weeks were spent with the Jicarilla Apache of northern New Mexico checking up the proofs of the forthcoming Museum publication on the Apache.
THE UNITED STATES GEOLOGICAL SURVEY has established with great accuracy the astronomical position of the Museum building and its elevation above mean sea level. An observer from the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey spent some weeks here during the past summer, making observations of the stars while getting direct telegraphic reports on the apparent movements of the same stars from the Naval Observatory in Washington; also an engineer from the New York City department of surveying ran a series of levels from several known points to two points at the Museum. We learn that the central point of the foyer is in latitude 40° 46′ 47.91′′ N., longitude 73° 58′ 40.46" W., and that the floor of the foyer is almost exactly 83 feet 6 inches above mean sea level.
THE department of preparation is constructing for the Darwin hall a series of models of Tahiti and other islands of the Society Group. These show various stages in subsidence and wearing away of volcanic peaks in the ultimate formation of coral atolls.
IN revising the installation of the New Guinea material in the South Sea hall, Dr. Lowie is making extensive use of the sketches secured by the Museum with the Finsch collection. Dr. Otto Finsch, the celebrated naturalist and traveler, provided with the collection a very full series of illustrations accurately picturing many phases of native life. These are highly desirable, as many aspects of aboriginal culture, such as house and boat types cannot always be readily transported or even secured in model specimens, although often they form the most characteristic elements of
THE AMERICAN MUSEUM JOURNAL
the culture of a tribe. This applies even more emphatically to social and ceremonial life, which can be studied very inadequately, if at all, from museum specimens. It also applies in large measure to objects of personal adornment and clothing. For instance, it would not be at all obvious to the average visitor how the aborigines wore a profusely decorated heartshaped object conspicuously exhibited in one of the New Guinea cases. A glance at the sketch now beside the specimen shows it to be a warrior's breast ornament. Similar results have been accomplished with other articles of dress which otherwise could not readily be understood except with the aid of long explanatory labels.
ERRATUM. The time necessary for the formation of the stalagmite in the Copper Queen mine was given in the December JOURNAL (page 306) as 67,000 years instead of 17,000 years. Those interested in the matter will kindly make the correction.
Given in coöperation with the City Department of Education
Tuesday evenings at 8:15 o'clock. Doors open at 7:30.
The first five of a course of lectures on "Travels in the Orient for the Purpose of Scholarly Research" by PROFESSOR A. V. WILLIAMS JACKSON. Illustrated by stereopticon views.
"India and its Historic Sites."
"Delhi, the Mogul Capital and Scene of the Durbar."
January 30-"Baluchistan, a far-off Land in the Orient."
Saturday evenings at 8:15 o'clock. Doors open at 7:30.
The first four of a course of lectures on "The Doctrine of Evolution and the Problems of Human History" by PROFESSOR HENRY E. CRAMPTON. Illustrated by stercopticon views and by exhibits.
LEGAL HOLIDAY COURSE
Open free to the public. Tickets not required.
Lectures begin at 3:15 o'clock. Doors open at 2:45.
January 1- MR. ALBERT E. BUTLER, "Travels in the Rocky Mountain Region." February 22 PROFESSOR HENRY E. CRAMPTON, "In the Wilds of British Guiana