Tag Archives: art

100 Years of Field Research at WCS

Theodore Roosevelt and his wife Edith were the first visitors to Kalacoon. Beebe is seated at the far end of the table, Mrs Roosevelt is seated nearest the camera and President Roosevelt is next to her. WCS Photo Collection

Why?  According to William Beebe, why was “the question which makes all science worthwhile.” Why, for instance, do tinamous of the genus Tinamus have rough skin on their lower legs while tinamous of the genus Crypturus have smooth skin?  Why do hoatzin populations seem to gather in nodes rather than being found throughout tropical forests?

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Eagle Sculptures at the Bronx Zoo (And Beyond), Part 2

IMG_0636This post was written by Kimio Honda,  Studio Manager in WCS’s Exhibition and Graphic Arts Department. This is part 2 of 2 posts on eagle sculptures at the Bronx Zoo and beyond.

Beyond the eagles I described in my previous post, there are a few other, though less visible, eagle sculptures at the Bronx Zoo. These belonged to the building behind the current Birds of Prey exhibit that was originally known as the Winter House for Eagles, built in 1912. (You can see original plans for the building on the NYC Design Flickr page.) Curator of Birds William Beebe took the building as a research space as early as 1914, and it later served as the headquarters for his Department of Tropical Research. The Beebe Lab, as it was known, later became the office for the Publications Department, and house now Digital Programs and Media Production.  Continue reading

Conservation of another kind

MS_150311_0490-edit-resized.jpgAs its name implies, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) holds the conservation of wildlife and wild places as its central mission.  Not surprisingly, many of the posts here on “Wild Things”—the blog for the WCS Archives—highlight WCS’s historical conservation efforts.  This post, however, features a different kind of ‘conservation’: recent work performed on some of the Archives’ own materials. Continue reading

The Rainey Gates [part 3]

KH_JimmyThis post was written by Kimio Honda,  Studio Manager in WCS’s Exhibition and Graphic Arts Department. This is the third part of a three-part series on the Bronx Zoo’s Rainey Gates; for part 1, on Paul J. Rainey, see here, and for part 2, on the development of the Gates, see here.

While working on the Rainey Gates, Paul Manship was able to sculpt from the animals at the Bronx Zoo, as they were brought into a special studio—likely the artists’ studio that sat at the northeastern corner of the Lion House. (See our previous post on the studio.)  The animals featured in the gates were chosen from the actual zoo collection. Some of them were well-known characters.  Continue reading

The Rainey Gates [part 2]

Detail of Rainey Memorial Gateway, by Paul Manship. Image from Smithsonian American Art MuseumThis post was written by Kimio Honda,  Studio Manager in WCS’s Exhibition and Graphic Arts Department. This is the second part of a three-part series on the Bronx Zoo’s Rainey Gates; for part 1, on Paul J. Rainey, see here.

Paul Manship, creator of the Rainey Gates, is a well-known American sculptor. Even if you haven’t heard his name, you may know one of his most prominent works: the bright gold Prometheus at the Rockefeller Center. His works are at the Metropolitan Museum and the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. Manship served as chairman of the board at what is known today as the the Smithsonian American Art Museum, which also holds dozens of Manship works.  Continue reading

The Rainey Gates [Part 1]

IMG_8392medThis post was written by Kimio Honda,  Studio Manager in WCS’s Exhibition and Graphic Arts Department.

My interest in the Bronx Zoo and the New York Zoological Society goes back to my teenage years in Japan. When I was transferred to New York for my work, I got to know some people at the zoo. Many years later I started working at the Exhibition and Graphic Arts Department (known around here as EGAD). As a result, I have had a chance to know more intimately the works of art around our parks and to hear some interesting stories.  Continue reading

Voyage to the Galapagos: Digitizing Photographic Gems from the Department of Tropical Research

1005-20-02-0124.tif Since September I have worked with the WCS Library and Archives in their ongoing effort to digitize historical photographic holdings. My focus has been on a collection documenting one of the expeditions made by the Society’s Department of Tropical Research. William Beebe led this 1925 expedition from New York to the Galapagos on a ship named Arcturus.   Continue reading

Collections processing updates

1985-10-01-Peyton-CarrAndPearl-Figure4-page2-detail.jpgOver the past several months the WCS Archives has processed six collections, five of which are wholly or partially open for research.   The finding aids for these collections have joined the descriptions of previously processed archival collections available through the WCS Library’s public website, www.wcs.org/library.  (The direct link to the Archives’ finding aids is: http://ielc.libguides.com/wcs/archives_fas.)  Included below are the abstracts for and links to the collections’ finding aids, plus an image or document from each. Continue reading

Diving into the Past: Discovering the Department of Tropical Research through Digitization

1005-20-01-0016-blog.jpg Spending months working with historical photos from a specific collection almost creates an illusion that one may have participated in the scenes depicted in these prints.  This notion particularly holds strong when carefully scanning and assigning appropriate metadata to historical photos from scientific research expeditions in beautiful locales filled with wondrous wildlife. Having the privilege to spend my photo archives internship working with many prints from the famous Bathysphere dives conducted by William Beebe and Otis Barton provided me with an imaginary tropical escape while also teaching me invaluable metadata skills. Continue reading

Shaping Wildlife: Animal Art in the Early Days of the Bronx Zoo (Part 2)

Wildlife Conservation Society_476_Proctor sculpting baboon_BZ_00 00 00_cropThis is the second part of a two-part blog post on art in the early days of the Bronx Zoo. See here for part 1.

Beyond the Bronx Zoo’s Lion House studio, New York Zoological Society officials attempted to oblige artists working at the Zoo. Director William T. Hornaday arranged a special reduced rate for artists at the nearby Parkway Hotel. “The place seems respectable,” he assured visiting artists, “although of course there is a bar-room attachment”—a feature that possibly bothered the teetotaling Hornaday more than his artist guests. Hornaday also sent out a general order to all employees that “artists, sculptors, zoologists and students generally” were to be given special attention and “whenever possible, seats should be offered.”   Continue reading