THE METROPOLITAN, THE HISPANIC, THE NATURAL HISTORY, THE AMERICAN GEOGRAPHICAL, THE INDIAN, HEYE FOUNDATION, THE MAGNIFICENT GROUP OF BUILDINGS AT BROADWAY AND 155TH STREET.
In an educational sense our great public Museums are doing very important work. The Trustees of an institution like the Metropolitan Museum of Art have long ago outgrown the idea that it was simply a place in which to display rare paintings and priceless works of art. The idea now is to encourage the interest in these collections for their utility as well as their beauty and to seek to benefit industry and the artisan.
The Metropolitan now has a separate department in which the needs of the various workers in any line are carefully compiled. Every effort is expended to acquaint firms in these lines with the specimens which are in the Metropolitan collection and to encourage visits and investigations. In this way the Museum is proving itself a practical helper in the work of the world today and is filling a career of usefulness never contemplated in its earlier plans.
The Metropolitan is so vast and so important that we could never do justice to it in the space here at my command. No visitor would possibly think of coming to New York without visiting this magnificent institution with its acquisitions of the last few years outranking any similar institution in the world. It is open daily and on Sundays from 1 to 6 P. M.
On Mondays and Fridays an admission fee for visitors of 25 cents is charged. The Museum publishes several catalogues of its own at moderate prices. Expert guides for parties is the most satisfactory and time saving method in which to see the Museum. A visit is a liberal education in itself, and we strongly recommend our friends to put this excursion on the list. A very pleasant route is to go on top of a Fifth Avenue Bus and ride to the main entrance at 82nd Street.
THE AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY.
Is located directly west of the Metropolitan on an extension of Park property and runs from Central Park West to Columbus Avenue. The grounds are ample and attractive. The building is massive and imposing. It is a huge affair ranking next to the Metropolitan in size, and is supported by a combination of private and public enterprise. The late Morris K. Jessup was a great admirer of this institution. The Peary Expeditions to the North Pole were financed by him and the resulting specimens brought to the Institution. And Col. Roosevelt delivered his only public lecture on his trip through South America before the Society's members.
The many items of interest in this building are, like its neighbor, quite impossible to describe in a book so limited for space as this. Perhaps the most popular exhibits are those showing the homes of native New York Indians. These are arranged in groups with lifelike figures, the background representing the country in which they lived. Nothing can exceed the interest or the naturalness of these groups. The figures seem about to speak and the illusion is perfect.
Some of the large reproductions of prehistoric animals are fascinating. The Thunder lizard—as large as a Pullman Car, always has a crowd. It is about 70 feet long and a man just reaches his knee. These and other popular exhibits serve to keep this Museum well in the public eye. Classes from the public schools are present every day to supplement their studies by the practical demonstrations afforded by these exhibits.
All sorts of birds, animals, whales, reptiles, are shown in practically endless variety. The struggle for existence among the lower forms of animal and bird life are admirably shown in a series of skillfully arranged cabinets in which the whole scene is enacted before the eye —the little field mouse is slain by the bat; the bat by the owl; the owl by the hawk; the hawk by the Eagle, etc., etc.
A Life size Indian War Canoe filled with warriors painted and ready for the fray, meets you almost at the entrance. It is an exact reproduction of an Alaskan Tribe and is dramatic in its realism. If the figures were suddenly to break out into song you would not be at all surprised. It is certainly one of the thrills of a visit. This Museum cannot be seen in a few hours. It is so vast, so absorbingly interesting that the visitor whose time is limited should be content with one or two sections. More than that, it is apt to create a confused impression of the whole. It will more than repay all the time spent in a visit.
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