standard Smithsonian Museum of Natural History

Smithsonian Museum of Natural History is part of the Smithsonian Institute and houses a national collection of more than 125 million natural science specimens and cultural artifacts. The Museum is dedicated to inspiring curiosity, discovery, and learning about the natural world through its unparalleled research, collections, exhibitions, and education outreach programs .

The museum’s collections total over 500 million specimens of plants, animals, fossils, minerals, rocks, meteorites, and human cultural artifacts. 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 scientists — the largest group of scientists dedicated to the study of natural and cultural history in the world.

Smithsonian Museum of Natural History  is located on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., United States .  Admission is free and the museum is open 364 days a year.

Smithsonian Museum of Natural History

Smithsonian Museum of Natural History

National Museum of Natural History

Whether looking at the history and cultures of Africa, describing our earliest Mammalian ancestor or primate diversity around the world, examining ancient life forms including the ever popular dinosaurs, or exploring the beauty of rare gemstones such as uniquely colored diamonds, the Museum’s temporary and permanent exhibitions serve to educate, enlighten and entertain millions of visitors each year. With a growing network of interactive websites, the Museum is transforming itself into a hub for national and international electronic education, accessible to anyone with access to the internet.

At the center of the Museum’s exhibition and research programs are its expertly documented collections: more than 126 million natural science specimens and cultural artifacts. Just to name a few of our museum holdings, the collections include 30 million insects carefully pinned into tiny boxes; 4½ million plants pressed onto sheets of paper in the Museum’s herbarium; 7 million fish in liquid-filled jars; and 2 million cultural artifacts, including 400,000 photographs housed in the National Anthropological Archives. Over 3½ million specimens are out on loan each year; over 15,000 visitor days are spent in the collections; and there are almost 600,000 additional visits to collection data bases available on the Web.

The Museum includes a state-of-the-art collections storage facility in Suitland, Maryland; a marine science research facility in Ft. Pierce, Florida; and field stations as far away as Belize, Alaska, and Kenya. Research activities are organized into seven departments, and a number of affiliated U.S. government agencies on-site contribute to the Museum’s strength, including the Department of the Interior (U.S. Geological Survey Biological Resources Division), the Department of Agriculture (Systematic Entomology Laboratory), the Department of Commerce (National Marine Fisheries Service Systematics Laboratory), and the Department of Defense (Walter Reed Biosystematics Unit).

Through its research, collections, education and exhibition programs, NMNH serves as one of the world’s great repositories of scientific and cultural heritage as well as a source of tremendous pride for all Americans. [source: www.mnh.si.edu , also the museum’s homepage]

Main Attractions

Hall of Geology, Gems, and Minerals

–  The collection includes some of the most famous pieces of gems and minerals including the Hope Diamond and the Star of Asia Sapphire, one of the largest sapphires in the world

Hall of Human Origins

– The Hall is dedicated to the discovery and understanding of human origins

Dinosaurs/Hall of Paleobiology

– dinosaurs , dinosaurs and … more dinosaurs .

Hall of Mammals

– a lot of mammal specimens

Insect Zoo

– Different habitats have been created to show the type of insects that live in different environments and how they have adapted to a freshwater pond, house, mangrove swamp, desert, and rain forest. The zoo is sponsored by Orkin, a pest control company.

Ocean Hall

– 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.

African Voices

– the african culture

Butterflies + Plants : Partners In Evolution

Western Cultures Hall

– “This hall explores some examples from various cultures in the western world including northern Iraq, ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome and the recent discovery of the Iceman, a Copper Age mummy found in an Italian glacier

Korea Gallery

–  about the Korean traditions and examine its unique influence and complex role in the world today.

Osteology : Hall of Bones

–  displays a “variety of vertebrate skeletons grouped by their evolutionary relationships.

IMAX Theatre

– the IMAX theatre is located  at the first floor

National museum of natural history image

National museum of natural history image

Visiting

Open daily except December 25. Regular hours are 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The museum extends their hours during the summer months.

Tips

  • This is the most popular Washington DC museum for families. Arrive early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid crowds.
  • Purchase IMAX tickets in advance or as soon as you arrive.
  • If you are visiting with kids, be sure to save time for the Discovery Room where there are lots of hands-on activities.
  • Allow at least 2-3 hours.

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