National Museum of Natural History

National Museum of Natural History

Overview

The National Museum of Natural History is a natural history
Natural history
Natural history is the scientific research of plants or animals, leaning more towards observational rather than experimental methods of study, and encompasses more research published in magazines than in academic journals. Grouped among the natural sciences, natural history is the systematic study...

 museum
Museum
A museum is an institution that cares for a collection of artifacts and other objects of scientific, artistic, cultural, or historical importance and makes them available for public viewing through exhibits that may be permanent or temporary. Most large museums are located in major cities...

 administered by the Smithsonian Institution
Smithsonian Institution
The Smithsonian Institution is an educational and research institute and associated museum complex, administered and funded by the government of the United States and by funds from its endowment, contributions, and profits from its retail operations, concessions, licensing activities, and magazines...

, located on the National Mall
National Mall
The National Mall is an open-area national park in downtown Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States. The National Mall is a unit of the National Park Service , and is administered by the National Mall and Memorial Parks unit...

 in Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

, United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. Admission is free and the museum is open 364 days a year.

The museum's collections total over 500 million specimens of plant
Plant
Plants are living organisms belonging to the kingdom Plantae. Precise definitions of the kingdom vary, but as the term is used here, plants include familiar organisms such as trees, flowers, herbs, bushes, grasses, vines, ferns, mosses, and green algae. The group is also called green plants or...

s, animal
Animal
Animals are a major group of multicellular, eukaryotic organisms of the kingdom Animalia or Metazoa. Their body plan eventually becomes fixed as they develop, although some undergo a process of metamorphosis later on in their life. Most animals are motile, meaning they can move spontaneously and...

s, fossil
Fossil
Fossils are the preserved remains or traces of animals , plants, and other organisms from the remote past...

s, mineral
Mineral
A mineral is a naturally occurring solid chemical substance formed through biogeochemical processes, having characteristic chemical composition, highly ordered atomic structure, and specific physical properties. By comparison, a rock is an aggregate of minerals and/or mineraloids and does not...

s, rocks
Rock (geology)
In geology, rock or stone is a naturally occurring solid aggregate of minerals and/or mineraloids.The Earth's outer solid layer, the lithosphere, is made of rock. In general rocks are of three types, namely, igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic...

, meteorite
Meteorite
A meteorite is a natural object originating in outer space that survives impact with the Earth's surface. Meteorites can be big or small. Most meteorites derive from small astronomical objects called meteoroids, but they are also sometimes produced by impacts of asteroids...

s, and human cultural artifacts
Cultural artifact
A cultural artifact is a term used in the social sciences, particularly anthropology, ethnology, and sociology for anything created by humans which gives information about the culture of its creator and users...

. With 7.4 million visitors in 2009, it is the most visited of all of the Smithsonian museums and is also home to about 185 professional natural history scientist
Scientist
A scientist in a broad sense is one engaging in a systematic activity to acquire knowledge. In a more restricted sense, a scientist is an individual who uses the scientific method. The person may be an expert in one or more areas of science. This article focuses on the more restricted use of the word...

s — the largest group of scientists dedicated to the study of natural and cultural history in the world.

The museum, then known as the United States National Museum, opened its doors to the public on March 17, 1910 in order to provide the growing Smithsonian Institution with more space for collections and research.
Discussion
Ask a question about 'National Museum of Natural History'
Start a new discussion about 'National Museum of Natural History'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Recent Discussions
Encyclopedia

The National Museum of Natural History is a natural history
Natural history
Natural history is the scientific research of plants or animals, leaning more towards observational rather than experimental methods of study, and encompasses more research published in magazines than in academic journals. Grouped among the natural sciences, natural history is the systematic study...

 museum
Museum
A museum is an institution that cares for a collection of artifacts and other objects of scientific, artistic, cultural, or historical importance and makes them available for public viewing through exhibits that may be permanent or temporary. Most large museums are located in major cities...

 administered by the Smithsonian Institution
Smithsonian Institution
The Smithsonian Institution is an educational and research institute and associated museum complex, administered and funded by the government of the United States and by funds from its endowment, contributions, and profits from its retail operations, concessions, licensing activities, and magazines...

, located on the National Mall
National Mall
The National Mall is an open-area national park in downtown Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States. The National Mall is a unit of the National Park Service , and is administered by the National Mall and Memorial Parks unit...

 in Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

, United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. Admission is free and the museum is open 364 days a year.

The museum's collections total over 500 million specimens of plant
Plant
Plants are living organisms belonging to the kingdom Plantae. Precise definitions of the kingdom vary, but as the term is used here, plants include familiar organisms such as trees, flowers, herbs, bushes, grasses, vines, ferns, mosses, and green algae. The group is also called green plants or...

s, animal
Animal
Animals are a major group of multicellular, eukaryotic organisms of the kingdom Animalia or Metazoa. Their body plan eventually becomes fixed as they develop, although some undergo a process of metamorphosis later on in their life. Most animals are motile, meaning they can move spontaneously and...

s, fossil
Fossil
Fossils are the preserved remains or traces of animals , plants, and other organisms from the remote past...

s, mineral
Mineral
A mineral is a naturally occurring solid chemical substance formed through biogeochemical processes, having characteristic chemical composition, highly ordered atomic structure, and specific physical properties. By comparison, a rock is an aggregate of minerals and/or mineraloids and does not...

s, rocks
Rock (geology)
In geology, rock or stone is a naturally occurring solid aggregate of minerals and/or mineraloids.The Earth's outer solid layer, the lithosphere, is made of rock. In general rocks are of three types, namely, igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic...

, meteorite
Meteorite
A meteorite is a natural object originating in outer space that survives impact with the Earth's surface. Meteorites can be big or small. Most meteorites derive from small astronomical objects called meteoroids, but they are also sometimes produced by impacts of asteroids...

s, and human cultural artifacts
Cultural artifact
A cultural artifact is a term used in the social sciences, particularly anthropology, ethnology, and sociology for anything created by humans which gives information about the culture of its creator and users...

. With 7.4 million visitors in 2009, it is the most visited of all of the Smithsonian museums and is also home to about 185 professional natural history scientist
Scientist
A scientist in a broad sense is one engaging in a systematic activity to acquire knowledge. In a more restricted sense, a scientist is an individual who uses the scientific method. The person may be an expert in one or more areas of science. This article focuses on the more restricted use of the word...

s — the largest group of scientists dedicated to the study of natural and cultural history in the world.

History


The museum, then known as the United States National Museum, opened its doors to the public on March 17, 1910 in order to provide the growing Smithsonian Institution with more space for collections and research. The building, which was not fully completed until 1911, was designed by Hornblower & Marshall
Hornblower & Marshall
Hornblower & Marshall was a Washington, D.C.-based architectural firm that was a partnership between Joseph Coerten Hornblower and James Rush Marshall . The firm designed numerous substantial government and other buildings, a number of which have been listed on the U.S...

. The building, designed in the neoclassical
Neoclassical architecture
Neoclassical architecture was an architectural style produced by the neoclassical movement that began in the mid-18th century, manifested both in its details as a reaction against the Rococo style of naturalistic ornament, and in its architectural formulas as an outgrowth of some classicizing...

 architectural style, was the first constructed on the north side of the National Mall, along Constitution Avenue
Constitution Avenue
In Washington, D.C., Constitution Avenue is a major east-west street running just north of the United States Capitol in the city's Northwest and Northeast quadrants...

, as part of the 1901 McMillan Commission plan. In 2000, Kenneth E. Behring donated $80 million to the museum and in 1997 donated $20 million to modernize it.

In addition to exhibits, the museum maintains vast reference collections and research facilities.

In 2005, The "Butterfly of Peace
Aurora Butterfly of Peace
The Aurora Butterfly of Peace diamond collection is an artwork consisting of 240 natural, fancy colored diamonds weighing a combined total of . This butterfly-shaped diamond mosaic was created over a period of twelve years by Alan Bronstein and Harry Rodman. The diamonds were collected and...

" gem was first displayed in the U.S. In 2008, an exhibit opened with 5000 square feet (464.5 m²) dedicated to soil and its life-sustaining properties.

Hall of Geology, Gems, and Minerals


The National Gem and Mineral Collection is one of the most significant collections of its kind in the world. The collection includes some of the most famous pieces of gems and minerals including the Hope Diamond
Hope Diamond
The Hope Diamond, also known as "Le bleu de France" or "Le Bijou du Roi", is a large, , deep-blue diamond, now housed in the Smithsonian Natural History Museum in Washington, D.C. It is blue to the naked eye because of trace amounts of boron within its crystal structure, but exhibits red...

 and the Star of Asia
Star of Asia
The Star of Asia is a large, 330 carat cabochon-cut star sapphire currently located at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.The stone originates from the Mogok mines of Burma. The gem is noted for its significant size and is considered to be one of the largest of its type. It is...

 Sapphire
Sapphire
Sapphire is a gemstone variety of the mineral corundum, an aluminium oxide , when it is a color other than red or dark pink; in which case the gem would instead be called a ruby, considered to be a different gemstone. Trace amounts of other elements such as iron, titanium, or chromium can give...

, one of the largest sapphires in the world. There are currently over 15,000 individual gems
Gemstones
Gemstones is the third solo album by Adam Green, released in 2005. The album is characterised by the heavy presence of Wurlitzer piano, whereas its predecessor relied on a string section in its instrumentation.-Track listing:#Gemstones – 2:24...

 in the collection, as well as 350,000 mineral
Mineral
A mineral is a naturally occurring solid chemical substance formed through biogeochemical processes, having characteristic chemical composition, highly ordered atomic structure, and specific physical properties. By comparison, a rock is an aggregate of minerals and/or mineraloids and does not...

s and 300,000 samples of rock
Rock (geology)
In geology, rock or stone is a naturally occurring solid aggregate of minerals and/or mineraloids.The Earth's outer solid layer, the lithosphere, is made of rock. In general rocks are of three types, namely, igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic...

 and ore
Ore
An ore is a type of rock that contains minerals with important elements including metals. The ores are extracted through mining; these are then refined to extract the valuable element....

 specimens. Additionally, the Smithsonian's National Gem and Mineral Collection houses approximately 35,000 meteorites, which is considered to be one of the most comprehensive collections of its kind in the world.


The collection is displayed in the Janet Annenberg Hooker Hall of Geology, Gems and Minerals, one of the many galleries in the Museum of Natural History. Some of the most important donors are Washington A. Roebling, the man who built the Brooklyn Bridge
Brooklyn Bridge
The Brooklyn Bridge is one of the oldest suspension bridges in the United States. Completed in 1883, it connects the New York City boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn by spanning the East River...

, who gave 16,000 specimens to the collection, Frederick A. Canfield, who donated 9,000 specimens to the collection, and Dr. Isaac Lea
Isaac Lea
Isaac Lea was an American conchologist, geologist, and businessman, who was born in Wilmington, Delaware.-Life:...

, who donated the base of the museum’s collection of 1312 gems and minerals.

Hall of Human Origins


The David H. Koch Hall of Human Origins opened on March 17, 2010, marking the museum's 100th anniversary. The hall is named for David H. Koch
David H. Koch
David Hamilton Koch is an American businessman, philanthropist, political activist, and chemical engineer. He is a co-owner and an executive vice president of Koch Industries, a conglomerate that is the second-largest privately held company in the U.S...

, who contributed $15 million to the $20.7 million exhibit.

The Hall is "dedicated to the discovery and understanding of human origins," and occupies 15000 square feet (1,393.5 m²) of exhibit space. Specimens include 75 replica skulls, an interactive human family tree that follows six million years of evolution, and a Changing the World gallery that focuses on issues surrounding climate change and humans' impact on the world. The exhibit has been criticized for downplaying the significance of human-caused global warming.

The exhibit also provides a complementary web site, which provides diaries and podcasts directly from related fields of research. The exhibit was designed by Reich + Petch.

Dinosaurs/Hall of Paleobiology


The museum has over 570,000 catalogued reptiles from around the world. The National Collection of Amphibians and Reptiles has increased 300% over the past 40 years (190,000 specimen records in 1970 to over 570,000 specimen records in 2008). The Hall of Dinosaurs has fossilized skeletons and cast models, including Tyrannosaurus rex facing off with Triceratops
Triceratops
Triceratops is a genus of herbivorous ceratopsid dinosaur which lived during the late Maastrichtian stage of the Late Cretaceous Period, around 68 to 65 million years ago in what is now North America. It was one of the last dinosaur genera to appear before the great Cretaceous–Paleogene...

, and the "Triceratops exhibit shows the first accurate dinosaur skeleton in virtual motion, achieved through the use of scanning and digital technology." The collection consists of 46 "complete and important specimens" of dinosaurs. The website has a "virtual tour" of the collection.

Hall of Mammals


The Behring Hall of Mammals designed by Reich + Petch is a multi-award winning gallery. The design is innovative and welcoming. The mammal specimens are presented as works of modern art within strikingly minimal environmentals. Visitors discover mammal's evolutionary adaptions to hugely diverse contexts, and ultimately discover that they too are mammals.

The museum has the largest collection of vertebrate
Vertebrate
Vertebrates are animals that are members of the subphylum Vertebrata . Vertebrates are the largest group of chordates, with currently about 58,000 species described. Vertebrates include the jawless fishes, bony fishes, sharks and rays, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, and birds...

 specimens in the world, nearly twice the size of the next largest mammal collections, including historically important collections from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Its collection was initiated by C. Hart Merriam and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (later the Department of Interior), which expanded it in the 1890s-1930s.

Insect Zoo


The O. Orkin Insect Zoo features live insects and exhibits about insects and entomologists. Different habitats have been created to show the type of insects that live in different environments and how they have adapted to a freshwater
Freshwater
Fresh water is naturally occurring water on the Earth's surface in ice sheets, ice caps, glaciers, bogs, ponds, lakes, rivers and streams, and underground as groundwater in aquifers and underground streams. Fresh water is generally characterized by having low concentrations of dissolved salts and...

 pond
Pond
A pond is a body of standing water, either natural or man-made, that is usually smaller than a lake. A wide variety of man-made bodies of water are classified as ponds, including water gardens, water features and koi ponds; all designed for aesthetic ornamentation as landscape or architectural...

, house, mangrove
Mangrove
Mangroves are various kinds of trees up to medium height and shrubs that grow in saline coastal sediment habitats in the tropics and subtropics – mainly between latitudes N and S...

 swamp
Swamp
A swamp is a wetland with some flooding of large areas of land by shallow bodies of water. A swamp generally has a large number of hammocks, or dry-land protrusions, covered by aquatic vegetation, or vegetation that tolerates periodical inundation. The two main types of swamp are "true" or swamp...

, desert
Desert
A desert is a landscape or region that receives an extremely low amount of precipitation, less than enough to support growth of most plants. Most deserts have an average annual precipitation of less than...

, and rain forest. The zoo is sponsored by Orkin
Orkin
Orkin is a pest-control company that is a wholly owned subsidiary of Rollins Inc.-The Orkin Uniform:The most recognized Orkin uniform consists of a white collared shirt with the Orkin logo and red epaulets and pressed khaki pants. The uniform varies depending on an employee’s job function for...

, a pest control company.

Ocean Hall


The Sant Ocean Hall opened on September 27, 2008, and is the largest renovation of the museum since it opened in 1910. The hall includes 674 marine specimens and models drawn from the over 80 million specimens in the museum's total collection, the largest in the world. The hall is named for the Roger Sant family, who donated $15 million to endow the new hall and other related programs.

The hall consists of 23000 square feet (2,136.8 m²) of exhibition space and features a replica of a 45 feet (13.7 m)-long North Atlantic Right Whale
North Atlantic Right Whale
The North Atlantic right whale which means "good, or true, whale of the ice") is a baleen whale, one of three right whale species belonging to the genus Eubalaena, formerly classified as a single species. With only 400 in existence, North Atlantic right whales are among the most endangered whales...

, a 1,500-gallon aquarium, one female giant squid
Giant squid
The giant squid is a deep-ocean dwelling squid in the family Architeuthidae, represented by as many as eight species...

 displayed in the center of the hall and a male displayed off to the side, an adult coelacanth
Coelacanth
Coelacanths are members of an order of fish that includes the oldest living lineage of Sarcopterygii known to date....

, and a Basilosaurus
Basilosaurus
Basilosaurus is a genus of cetacean that lived from in the Late Eocene. Its fossilized remains were first discovered in the southern United States . The American fossils were initially believed to be some sort of reptile, hence the suffix -"saurus", but later found to be a marine mammal...

.

The museum also provides the Smithsonian Ocean Portal
Smithsonian Ocean Portal
The Smithsonian Ocean Portal is an educational website created and maintained by the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC...

, a complementary web site which provides regularly updated, original content from the museum’s research, collections, and Sant Ocean Hall as well as content provided by more than 20 collaborating organizations, including ARKive, Census of Marine Life, Consortium for Ocean Leadership, Encyclopedia of Life, IUCN, Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, National Geographic, NOAA, New England Aquarium, Ocean Conservancy, Oceana, Pew Charitable Trusts, SeaWeb, Save Our Seas, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, World Heritage Marine Programme.

African Voices


This exhibit and associated website "examines the diversity, dynamism, and global influence of Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

's peoples and cultures over time in the realms of family, work, community, and the natural environment."

Butterflies + Plants: Partners In Evolution


Featuring a live butterfly
Butterfly
A butterfly is a mainly day-flying insect of the order Lepidoptera, which includes the butterflies and moths. Like other holometabolous insects, the butterfly's life cycle consists of four parts: egg, larva, pupa and adult. Most species are diurnal. Butterflies have large, often brightly coloured...

 pavilion allows "visitors to observe the many ways in which butterflies and other animals have evolved, adapted, and diversified together with their plant
Plant
Plants are living organisms belonging to the kingdom Plantae. Precise definitions of the kingdom vary, but as the term is used here, plants include familiar organisms such as trees, flowers, herbs, bushes, grasses, vines, ferns, mosses, and green algae. The group is also called green plants or...

 partners over tens of millions of years." The exhibit was designed by Reich + Petch.

Western Cultures Hall


"This hall explores some examples from various cultures in the western world including northern Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

, ancient Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

, Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

 and Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

 and the recent discovery of the Iceman
Ötzi the Iceman
Ötzi the Iceman , Similaun Man, and Man from Hauslabjoch are modern names for a well-preserved natural mummy of a man who lived about 5,300 years ago. The mummy was found in September 1991 in the Ötztal Alps, near Hauslabjoch on the border between Austria and Italy. The nickname comes from the...

, a Copper Age
Copper Age
The Chalcolithic |stone]]") period or Copper Age, also known as the Eneolithic/Æneolithic , is a phase of the Bronze Age in which the addition of tin to copper to form bronze during smelting remained yet unknown by the metallurgists of the times...

 mummy
Mummy
A mummy is a body, human or animal, whose skin and organs have been preserved by either intentional or incidental exposure to chemicals, extreme coldness , very low humidity, or lack of air when bodies are submerged in bogs, so that the recovered body will not decay further if kept in cool and dry...

 found in an Italian glacier
Glacier
A glacier is a large persistent body of ice that forms where the accumulation of snow exceeds its ablation over many years, often centuries. At least 0.1 km² in area and 50 m thick, but often much larger, a glacier slowly deforms and flows due to stresses induced by its weight...

." This exhibit closed September 26, 2010.

Korea Gallery
The Korea Gallery is a special showcase to celebrate Korean traditions and examine its unique influence and complex role in the world today.

The exhibit expresses the continuity of the past by highlighting enduring features of Korean culture that have influence and resonance today. The exhibit uses the Smithsonian ceramics collection as well as a rich selection of photographs, ritual objects and traditional Korean carpentry to communicate and connect to both the local Korean community and an international audience. Traditional art forms, such as ceramics and calligraphy, along with mythological figures, language, large feature photographs and illustrations speak to a fascinating range of shared historical memories that connect Koreans at home and abroad.

Personal stories of modern Koreans, as told in their own voices, provide a context to discuss some of the many issues that face the divided country today. Korea's incredible transformation from 'The Hermit Kingdom' to a world power is traced through its impact on the arts, the economy and popular culture. The exhibit was designed by Reich + Petch.

Osteology: Hall of Bones


This exhibit displays a "variety of vertebrate skeletons grouped by their evolutionary relationships."

Discovering Rastafari!


November 2, 2007 - Indefinite

Using artifacts, rare photographs, and ephemera to explore the origins and religious practices of the movement in Jamaica
Jamaica
Jamaica is an island nation of the Greater Antilles, in length, up to in width and 10,990 square kilometres in area. It is situated in the Caribbean Sea, about south of Cuba, and west of Hispaniola, the island harbouring the nation-states Haiti and the Dominican Republic...

, this exhibition takes viewers beyond the popular Jamaican music known as reggae
Reggae
Reggae is a music genre first developed in Jamaica in the late 1960s. While sometimes used in a broader sense to refer to most types of Jamaican music, the term reggae more properly denotes a particular music style that originated following on the development of ska and rocksteady.Reggae is based...

 to the deeper roots of the Rastafari culture. Video footage featuring first-person testimony from male and female Rastafari of different ages, nationalities, and racial and class backgrounds speak to Rastafari of unity and to the spread of the movement across the Caribbean
Caribbean
The Caribbean is a crescent-shaped group of islands more than 2,000 miles long separating the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, to the west and south, from the Atlantic Ocean, to the east and north...

 and beyond over the past three decades.

Dig It! The Secrets of the Soil


July 19, 2008-January 3, 2010
Featuring the world of fungi, bacteria
Bacteria
Bacteria are a large domain of prokaryotic microorganisms. Typically a few micrometres in length, bacteria have a wide range of shapes, ranging from spheres to rods and spirals...

, worm
Worm
The term worm refers to an obsolete taxon used by Carolus Linnaeus and Jean-Baptiste Lamarck for all non-arthropod invertebrate animals, and stems from the Old English word wyrm. Currently it is used to describe many different distantly-related animals that typically have a long cylindrical...

s, and other organisms, this exhibition draws connections between soils and everyday life.

Written in Bone: Forensic Files of the 17th-Century Chesapeake


February 7, 2009- February 6, 2013

This exhibition and associated website examines history through 17th-century bone biographies, including those of colonists teetering on the edge of survival at Jamestown
Jamestown, Virginia
Jamestown was a settlement in the Colony of Virginia. Established by the Virginia Company of London as "James Fort" on May 14, 1607 , it was the first permanent English settlement in what is now the United States, following several earlier failed attempts, including the Lost Colony of Roanoke...

, Virginia, and those of wealthy and well-established individuals of St. Mary’s City, Maryland.

Farmers, Warriors, Builders: The Hidden Life of Ants


May 30, 2009- October 10, 2009
This exhibition features large-format photographs of ants going about their daily business, a cast of an underground ant
Ant
Ants are social insects of the family Formicidae and, along with the related wasps and bees, belong to the order Hymenoptera. Ants evolved from wasp-like ancestors in the mid-Cretaceous period between 110 and 130 million years ago and diversified after the rise of flowering plants. More than...

 city, and a live ant colony.

Other


The museum has an IMAX Theater for feature-length films, and the Discovery Room, a family- and student-friendly hands-on activity room on the first floor.

In the lower level there is a bird exhibit with all the migratory and native birds to Washington D.C.

In popular culture

  • The South Park
    South Park
    South Park is an American animated television series created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone for the Comedy Central television network. Intended for mature audiences, the show has become famous for its crude language, surreal, satirical, and dark humor that lampoons a wide range of topics...

    episode "About Last Night...
    About Last Night... (South Park)
    "About Last Night…" is the twelfth episode of the twelfth season of the animated series South Park, and the 179th episode of the series overall. The episode was first broadcast on Wednesday, November 5, 2008 at 10:00 PM EST, less than a day after Barack Obama was declared the winner in the 2008...

    " concerns a plot to steal the Hope Diamond
    Hope Diamond
    The Hope Diamond, also known as "Le bleu de France" or "Le Bijou du Roi", is a large, , deep-blue diamond, now housed in the Smithsonian Natural History Museum in Washington, D.C. It is blue to the naked eye because of trace amounts of boron within its crystal structure, but exhibits red...

    .
  • In Fallout 3
    Fallout 3
    Fallout 3 is an action role-playing game released by Bethesda Game Studios, and the third major installment in the Fallout series. The game was released in North America, Europe and Australia in October 2008, and in Japan in December 2008 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360...

    , one of the museum's sections is home to the ghouls' (humans mutated to resemble corpses by nuclear war) city named Underworld.
  • In 2008's Get Smart
    Get Smart (film)
    Get Smart is a 2008 American spy-fi comedy film based on Mel Brooks and Buck Henry's 1960s spy parody television series of the same name. The film stars Steve Carell as Maxwell Smart and Anne Hathaway as Agent 99...

    , the fictional spy organization CONTROL is located underneath the National Museum of Natural History
  • The giant squid from the National Museum of Natural History inspired the one that comes to life in the film Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian
    Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian
    Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian is an American adventure comedy film directed by Shawn Levy, and starring Ben Stiller, Hank Azaria, Amy Adams, Owen Wilson, Robin Williams, and Steve Coogan. The film is a sequel to Night at the Museum...

  • The book Lost Hope (ISBN978-1461003854) follows the adventure of the museum's gem curator after the Hope Diamond is stolen. Several galleries and non-public laboratories are prominently featured.

External links