Museum to reopen Roosevelt memorial

Sept. 4, 2012 at 11:50 AM
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NEW YORK, Sept. 4 (UPI) -- The American Museum of Natural History in New York says it will reopen its Theodore Roosevelt Memorial in time for the 26th president's 154th birthday Oct. 27.

"The restored Theodore Roosevelt Memorial and Hall of North American Mammals are essential destinations for all who are passionate about preserving wildlife and wild lands and celebrating America's 'Conservation President,'" Ellen V. Futter, president of the American Museum of Natural History, said in a statement. "Since the museum's founding, our scientists have been instrumental in developing conservation efforts on this continent and around the world, and we are proud to honor Theodore Roosevelt and his visionary leadership for the conservation movement in America."

"No institution is better suited than the American Museum of Natural History to tell the incredible story of Theodore Roosevelt's brave leadership role in spearheading the conservation movement of the early 20th century," said Douglas Brinkley, professor of history at Rice University. "The museum is the cradle of conservation in the United States, with its chief promoter being Theodore Roosevelt, and they partnered together to create a revolution of natural preservation. With today's problems of unprecedented stress on the global environment, our 26th president's stalwart resolution to protect our natural resources and wilderness areas are inspirational."

The museum said the extensive project includes a complete restoration of the iconic Central Park West facade, which will be illuminated with energy-efficient exterior lighting for the first time in decades, as well as the cleaning of a commemorative Theodore Roosevelt statue in front of the museum. The fully renovated Theodore Roosevelt Rotunda showcases painter William Andrew Mackay's conserved murals, which cover an area of more than 5,200 square feet.

"The grand reopening will also unveil the stunningly restored Hall of North American Mammals, whose dioramas have been carefully conserved and equipped with new energy-efficient lighting, a green measure that will also protect the specimens from fading," the museum said in a news release. "Each diorama in this iconic hall, which first opened in 1942, offers a snapshot of North America's rich environmental heritage."

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