From the Google cache.
Teyler’s museum in Haarlem
Date: 8/28/05 at 11:16PM
Mood: Looking Playing: I’m a little dinosaur, by Jonathan Richman
Teyler’s museum in Haarlem is the oldest museum in The Netherlands accessible to the public; and one of the oldest in the world.
For instance, the Louvre in Paris became a museum later, on 8 november 1793.
Though the Louvre building has an earlier history as a royal palace.
The first museum in China is from 1905.
The Peshawar museum in Pakistan is from 1906.
Many exhibits at Teyler’s museum are still as they were originally in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; so giving visitors an idea not just of fossils or ancient Dutch, Italian, etc. paintings; but of how in the history of museums these used to be exhibited as well.
It was founded in the eighteenth century by Pieter Teyler van der Hulst.
He was a rich textile merchant. Originally, his family name had been Taylor: he was of Scottish ancestry.
Teyler and people around him belonged to a minority Protestant church: the Doopsgezinden (Anabaptist, Mennonite, or Baptist); which meant they were excluded from political office.
They were part of the Dutch Enlightenment movement of the eighteenth century.
They thought religious truth should not be based on the authority of the pope of Rome; or of the synod of the Dutch Calvinist Reformed established church; but on research in science and artists’ work.
Today still, there are statues of figures representing both Science and Art on the museum’s roof; and both art and science are represented in its collections.
The museum was expanded in the nineteenth century by an Austrian classicist architect; so it looks somewhat like museums in Vienna.
Fossils and creationists
As one enters, the theme of the first halls is fossils.
They include plants; a plesiosaur; an ichthyosaur; a mesosaur; and a mammoth.
Perhaps the most famous fossil of Teyler’s museum is Andrias scheuchzeri.
Scheuchzer believed in the literal truth of the Bible.
He presumed he had found the skeleton of a human, drowned by God for his sins in the Great Flood described in the Bible; thus disproving beginning skepticism on the historical truth of that Flood.
Scheuchzer’s supporters were called Diluvians.
The fossil inspired a poem, in a 1731 book by Scheuchzer:
Sad bony remains of an old sinner;
Melt rock, and hearts of the new children of evil!
However, the paradox of Scheuchzer and the Diluvians was that they ultimately inspired skepticism.
More and more people doubted whether the Andrias scheuchzeri fossil skeleton in Teyler’s museum was really human.
Andrias scheuchzeri lived in Germany till about three million years ago.
This way, Cuvier dealt a death-blow to the Diluvians’ belief in the literal truth of the Bible (Cuvier, however, opposed pre Darwin evolution theories with a not very tenable “catastrophe theory”).
One may compare Scheuchzer’s Diluvians to the creationists of today.
However, eighteenth century Diluvians can at least be said to have stimulated the study of the then new subject of fossils; while today’s creationists are anti science.
Among the fossil collection at Teyler’s is a copy of the infamous Piltdown man falsification.
It was made, and believed to be authentic, in an England jealous of Neanderthal and other fossil human finds of Germany and elsewhere, while not having found human fossils of its own.
Another fossil in Teyler’s is the earliest find of Archaeopteryx, world’s earliest fossil bird from the Jurassic.
Only in 1970 the museum found out that their exhibit, misidentified earlier as a flying reptile, was an Archaeopteryx; as its feathers were not imprinted clearly and somewhat difficult to see.
Crystals, volcanoes, and art
The museum also has the biggest antimonite crystal in the world: 72 cm high, originally from Japan.
Right now, there is an exhibition on volcanoes. In Teyler’s style, they have not only scientists on volcanoes. Also artists, like Japanese Hokusai’s works on Fuji-san volcano.
On 6 October, a new exhibition will start: drawings by Michelangelo.
The museum today also contributes to international conservation of old masters’ works.
Many old drawings, from the eighth to the twentieth century, were made with gaul nut ink, or iron-gallus ink.
These ultimately destroy paper and the drawings on it.
The museum is working at a method to fight this.
An eminent 18th century physician in Germany was embarrassed by colleagues who sought to discredit him through a hoax. Read more at Suite101: Professional Jealousy Leads to Fake Fossils: here.
- Audubon’s Birds of America, other old books, online (dearkitty1.wordpress.com)
- Sabre-tooth cat discovery near Las Vegas (dearkitty1.wordpress.com)
- Paleontologists to the Regency – Part one of three (angelynschmid.com)
- Piltdown Man Enigma Solved (socyberty.com)
- Saber Toothed Tiger Fossil Found in North Las Vegas Hills (z6mag.com)
- Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino (mindfuldrawing.com)
- The Piltdown Hoax at 100 (whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com)
- History’s Biggest Scientific Fraud Goes Under the Microscope (livescience.com)
- Solving a 100-year-old scientific hoax (msnbc.msn.com)