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Exhuming the Mastodon, Charles Willson Peale

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Charles Willson Peale was primarily known as a portrait painter, but he also had an absorbing interest in natural history. In 1784 he founded the first natural history museum in the United States, in Philadelphia. Peale unearthed and reconstructed a mastodon in 1801, which became the museum's main attraction. The mastodon was discovered on a farm near Newburgh, NY. Peale directed the excavation, with the assistance of one of his sons, Rembrandt Peale.

Creator:
Charles Willson Peale
Date:
1806-1808
Dimensions:
50 × 62.5 in
Materials:
Oil on Canvas
Accession #:
MA5911
Courtesy of:
Baltimore City Life Museum Collection/Museum Department