Following a 3 year renovation and a delay from the pandemic, the Allison and Roberto Mignone Halls of Gems will reopen at the American Museum of Natural History this coming spring. The exact date is to be announced.
The reimagined 11,000 square foot exhibit will feature about 5,000 specimens from 95 countries.
Some attractions will include a “3,000-pound block of iridescent green and blue labradorite” and a “slice of a fossilized tree called a metasequoia that lived between 35 and 33 million years ago.”
AMNH visitors can also look forward to a glowing wall of orange and green colored gems.
“Through interactive exhibits, including a dynamic periodic table of elements that allows visitors to ‘make minerals,’ outstanding specimens, and media, the halls will explore the fundamentals, from what constitutes a mineral to how many ‘evolved’ on Earth.”
In addition, the Hall will open its first temporary exhibition space, the Melissa and Keith Meister Gallery. The space will open with Beautiful Creatures, “a celebration of exquisite historic and contemporary jewelry inspired by animals.” Some of the featured pieces will be designs by Cartier, Tiffany & Co., and Van Cleef & Arpels.
Curator George E. Harlow told Town & Country that the biggest difference between the old gem hall and the renovated version is “the spaciousness, the openness of it. The old hall was sort of designed to be like entering a mine.”
The renovation of the Halls is one of the initiatives undertaken in conjunction with the AMNH’s 150th anniversary. “These projects will culminate in the opening of the Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation, a major new facility that will house exhibition galleries, education spaces, and collections,” a museum press release states.
“Generations of New Yorkers have loved the Museum’s mineral and gem halls, storing up memories of family visits and marveling at the glamorous displays of utterly spectacular minerals and gems, while learning about the latest scientific explanations for their formation. Now, as New York continues to endure the many challenges posed by COVID-19, we are proud to be among the first major new museum spaces to open,” said Ellen V. Futter, President of the American Museum of Natural History. “These magnificent halls remain true to the traditions that New Yorkers cherish while signaling the reawakening of the entire City.”