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authorized to be there deposited for safe-keeping, in charge of the Regents of the University. An appropriation (of $2,000) was made for fitting up the building with cases, and the collections were transferred from their temporary quarters in the committee rooms of the Capitol to the old State Hall. The final disposition of the collections with the labeling, etc., was completed in 1843.

At that time very little was generally known in this country regarding museums of Natural History; and, except in the minds of a few, no true appreciation existed of what such an institution should. be. It is not, therefore, surprising that there should have been a general acquiescence in the proposition that the collections were dcposited in the old State Hall for "safe-keeping," and that the idea of constant increase toward a great museum of Natural History was scarcely, if at all, considered.

The collections and the rooms they occupied were placed in charge of a curator, Mr. J. W. Taylor, and the small annual appropriations made by the Legislature were only sufficient for their custody and very moderate increase. Mr. Taylor was succeeded in his charge by Mr. John Gebhard, Jr., and Mr. James A. IIurst was employed as Taxidermist. In 1857 Colonel Ezekiel Jewett was appointed Curator and occupied the position for eight years. During this period considerable progress had been made toward completing the collection of the birds of the State. Some collections had been added by donation, notably that of Mr. DeRham of New York, which occupies a separate case in the Museum.

At this time, the old building had been replaced by a new one, giving greater conveniences for the arrangement of collections, and providing for the joint occupancy of the Agricultural Society. The new building was completed in 1857, but, requiring some alterations was not occupied until 1858. It provided an office for the Curator, one floor to be devoted to metamorphic and paleozoic geology, the second floor to secondary and tertiary geology and the mineralogical collections, and the third floor to the zoological collection in all its departments. The affairs of the Museum remained stationary till 1865, when, through the influence of gentlemen connected with higher education in the State, the Legislature passed the following, tending to the expansion of the Museum:

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"Whereas, The collections in geology, mineralogy, and other departments of Natural History, made by the geological survey of the State, were committed to the charge of the Regents of the Uni

versity by the act of the Legislature in 1845, and the reports published before and since that period as the results of the survey have conferred great credit upon the State of New York, both at home and abroad, and the nomenclature proposed by her geologists has been adopted by other States and in the geological survey of Canada, and is well known, appreciated and recognized by the scientific men of Europe; and

Whereas, Great progress has been made since that period in geological investigation, both here and abroad, and it is due to science, as well as a suitable recognition of the great credit given to the State of New York, that her pre-eminence be sustained by keeping up the character and authenticity of the collections as a museum of practical and scientific geology; therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Regents of the University report to the Legislature at its next session, what means may be necessary, together with a plan for placing the State Cabinet of Natural History in the condition required by the present state of science, to maintain it in full efficiency as a museum of scientific and practical geology and comparative zoology; and whether the establishment of a system of free lectures in connection with the Cabinet is desirable, and if so, on what general plan the same should be founded."

To meet the requirements of this resolution, the Regents of the University, through the committee on the State Cabinet, addressed a circular letter to many of the scientific men of the country, and to others interested in the advancement of knowledge. Ten of the gentlemen addressed, responded to the inquiries. The communications received were published in the nineteenth report on the State Cabinet. These letters are of much interest, as expressing the views of individuals from different standpoints, and as part of the historical record of the State Museum of Natural History. The suggestions made by several of the respondents, and especially by Alexander Agassiz, now Director of the Museum of Comparative Zoology in Cambridge, and by Professor J. D. Dana, of New Haven, are worthy of consideration.

The committee of the Board of Regents recommended the plan of organization proposed by James Hall, as, in their view, best adapted to carry out the objects contemplated by the resolution of the Senate and Assembly. This recommendation became the first step toward an improved condition, and a recognition of the necessity of regarding the Museum as a series of collections in natural history, which were to be increased and elaborated in each of its departments. To propose a plan of improvement or progress may not be difficult.

1 Nineteenth Annual Report on the State Cabinet of Natural History, pp. 8, 9.

but it is often very difficult to put the plan into execution, and although the Legislature might resolve, and the Regents of the University recommend, neither of these, nor both together, would accomplish the work.

In 1865, Colonel Jewett resigned his position as Curator, and in 1866, Mr. Hall was appointed to the charge. By dint of much exertion among his friends in and out of the Legislature, he succeeded in increasing the financial resources of the State Cabinet. The discovery of the mastodon skeleton at Cohoes, in the summer of 1866, and its acquisition by the State Cabinet, attracted attention toward the institution. At the next Legislature, the successful application for $5,000 to purchase the Gould collection of shells gave some eclat to the new recommendations, and the accession of sixty thousand specimens at once, representing six thousand species, could not fail to be appreciated. The New Capitol Commissioners, wishing information in regard to the sources of building material, engaged the Curator of the State Cabinet to make a reconnoisance, which resulted in a report to the Commissioners, and the acquisition to the State Cabinet, by this and other means, of the very fine collection of marbles, limestones, sandstones and granites which now occupy two sides of the entrance hall of the Museum.1

Heretofore the State Cabinet had received no regular or fixed appropriation of money from the Legislature, but in 1870, a law was passed organizing the same under the designation of "The State Museum of Natural History," and appropriating $10,000 annually, to provide for the salaries of the Director and three acsistants, as then employed, together with the expenses of increase and preservation of the collections. In addition to this the sum of $1,500 has been annually appropriated for the salary of a botanist, and special appropriations have been made from time to time for the increase of the collections. These sums, however inadequate to the requirements of such a museum, serve nevertheless to keep up a very visible and substantial progress in each one of the departments, as is seen in the improved order, and the additions to the collections, and as recorded in the annual museum reports. Since the period of the resolution and action referred to, the original collections have been greatly extended and new ones added. As far as possible, with the means at his command, the Director has endeavored to make the institution. "a museum of scientific and practical geology and comparative

These descriptions refer to the location and arrangements in the building on the corner of State and Lodge streets.

zoology." The collections in the museum building are arranged as follows: On each side of the main entrance hall are placed collections of economic interest, such as marbles, limestones, freestones, granites, etc., wrought into forms to show their adaption to building or ornamental use. These specimens are mostly in blocks of one foot or six inch cubes, and others of different form. Adjacent to the hall are office and library rooms, likewise occupied by the botanical collection, and by the Botanist and the assistant in the Zoological Department.

The first floor above is entirely devoted to the collections illustrating the geology and palæntology of New York, and showing the relations of these formations with the carboniferous system of the West, and with the coal measures of Pennsylvania. These collections, here arranged in their natural order, have laid the foundation of the geological nomenclature of the United States and Canada for formations of the same age. Besides these systematically managed collections, the upper part of the wall cases, above each formation, exhibit enlarged figures of the fossils characteristic of such formation, surmounted by an extended geological section, showing the actual relations of the successive geological formations. There is also a series of iron ores from the principal mines in the State. The entire arrangement is such as to afford students convenient facilities for prosecuting studies in geology and palæontology.

On the middle floor, the wall cases are chiefly devoted to the minerals of the State of New York, and to a general mineralogical collection, each separately arranged. In the central portion of this floor are arranged the foreign collections of fossils from all formations and the American Triassic, Cretaceous, Tertiary and Estuary formations. An extensive series of casts, comprising among them the Megatherium and gigantic Armadilli, of South America (presented by Charles F. Wadsworth), occupy the eastern portion of the floor; while the skeleton of the American Mastodon, with other remains of the mastodon and elephant, and the skeleton of the Megcceros, occupy the western portion of the room. A series of table-ca cases contain the stone implements, pottery, and other objects of ethnological interest.

The third or upper floor is entirely occupied by the zoological collections, including stuffed skins, skeletons and alcoholic specimens. The species known to inhabit the State of New York are arranged separately and apart from the general collection of this department.

During the period which has elapsed since the passage of the

resolution referred to in 1865, the area of case and shelf-room in each department has been more than doubled. The large mammals, once inhabiting the State, but now extinct within its borders, have been added to the collection; and the skeletons of a large proportion of all the mammals and some of the reptiles and fishes of our waters have been added. Some valuable additions have been made of extralimital species. The collections of shells have been to a great extent accumulated within that period, and the fresh-water shells have been correctly labeled and catalogued. The foreign collections of fossils and those of the more recent American formations have been greatly augmented.

The general collection of minerals has been very largely increased, and its separate arrangement and labeling has been accomplished within the few past years. The catalogues of this department are now in the hands of the printer. Vast additions have been made to the palæontological series of the rocks of New York in the arranged collections; and more than three times as many more are in keeping elsewhere, which should be systematically arranged in the Museum. There has been prepared a collection of sections or transparent cuttings of fossils, amounting to between three and four thousand specimens, and a large number of cuttings of minerals and polished specimens. With these may be enumerated a considerable number of sections of recent shells, of which there is in preparation a large collection.

During this period more than thirteen thousand labeled specimens of minerals and fossils have been distributed to the Colleges and schools of the State, and many thousands of specimens still remain for future distribution. The entire economic collection (with perhaps half a dozen exceptions) and the iron ores have also been accumulated within that time. In the Botanical Department the most extensive additions have been made in every class, and the determined and labeled collection of the fungi is now larger than that of any other Museum in the country. Thus the collection which in 1839 the Secretary of State supposed would require a room such as could be obtained by removing a partition and uniting two committeerooms in the third story of the Capitol, now occupy nearly twothirds of the main floor of the Museum and the three entire floors above, besides the storage in the basement. The collections at present arranged and stored in rooms outside of the Museum, together with those now within the Museum, would, if properly dis

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