Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History Photos

  • 01 of 26

    Take a Peek Inside the Smithsonian Natural History Museum

    Natural history elephant exhibit
    Smithsonian Institution

    The National Museum of Natural History displays more than 125 million natural science specimens and cultural artifacts. The museum is one of the most visited attractions in Washington, D.C. The following photos will give you a glimpse of some of the most popular exhibits and some of the new ones as well.

    The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History is located on the National Mall and is one of Washington DC's most popular attractions. Enjoy your visit and discover your own favorite historical artifacts.

    Continue to 2 of 26 below.
  • 02 of 26

    Dinosaur Hall

    Dinosaur exhibit
    Smithsonian Institution

    The Dinosaur Hall is one of the most popular exhibits at the National Museum of Natural History, exploring life almost 3.5 billion years ago. The Dinosaur Hall is currently being expanded and will reopen in 2019. 

    Continue to 3 of 26 below.
  • 03 of 26

    Hope Diamond

    The Hope Diamond
    Smithsonian Institution

    The Hope Diamond is on display at the​ museum. It is the largest blue diamond in the world, weighing 45.52 carats.

    Continue to 4 of 26 below.
  • 04 of 26

    Kenneth E. Behring Family Hall of Mammals

    Natural history exhibits
    Smithsonian Institution

    The Kenneth E. Behring Family Hall of Mammals tells the story of the evolution and adaptation of mammals over time through the use of 274 mammals and nearly a dozen fossils.

    Continue to 5 of 26 below.
  • 05 of 26

    Mammal Orientation Gallery

    Natural history exhibit
    Smithsonian Institution

    Look at the new mammal hall orientation gallery. While in this section of the hall, visitors learn the three characteristics that define a mammal—hair, milk, and middle ear bones.

    Continue to 6 of 26 below.
  • 06 of 26

    Watering Hole - Close-up of Giraffe

    Watering hole natural history exhibit
    Don Hurlbert/Smithsonian Institution

    A giraffe drinks at the watering hole in the Kenneth E. Behring Family Hall of Mammals.

    Continue to 7 of 26 below.
  • 07 of 26

    Polar Bear

    Polar bear natural history exhibit
    Smithsonian Institution

    A polar bear looks down from atop his icy perch at a seal in the water below. Polar bears feed chiefly on seals, but they can also effectively hunt larger prey such as walruses.

    Continue to 8 of 26 below.
  • 08 of 26

    Leopard and Impala

    Leopard and impala natural history exhibit
    Smithsonian Institution

    A leopard lounges in a tree with its kill, an impala. Leopards often drag prey into trees both for eating and for hiding the meat from scavengers such as hyenas and jackals.

    Continue to 9 of 26 below.
  • 09 of 26

    Sant Ocean Hall

    Scuba divers
    Chip Clark/Smithsonian Institution

    The Sant Ocean Hall was created in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to show the ocean's history and its importance in contemporary society. It is the single largest exhibition space in the museum and the only one in the country devoted exclusively to a global view of the ocean.

    The exhibition includes seven-foot-tall prehistoric shark jaws, a 24-foot-long giant squid suspended in a fluid-filled tank, a model of a 45-foot-long North Atlantic right whale hanging overhead, and much more.

     

    Continue to 10 of 26 below.
  • 10 of 26

    Spotted Eagle Ray

    Spotted Eagle Ray
    Chip Clark/Smithsonian Institution

    The Sant Ocean Hall uses a combination of 674 marine specimens and models, high-definition video experiences, one-of-a-kind exhibits and the newest technology to explore the past, present, and future as never before.

     

    Continue to 11 of 26 below.
  • 11 of 26

    3D Science on a Sphere Globe

    Earth globe exhibit
    Rachel Cooper

    The Sant Ocean Hall is greatly enhanced by technological components, information and images that cannot be found on the Internet. “Science on a Sphere” is a room-sized, 360-degree global display system created by researchers at NOAA, using computers and projectors to display information on a 6-foot-wide sphere. Animated images and narration explain many of the complex aspects of the ocean, such as what the ocean produces, how it changes, and how it interacts and influences the atmosphere.

    The hall also features a 21-minute underwater film that is projected over 12 Sony SXRD 4K projectors, a 1,800 square foot Deep Ocean theater, and 24 interactive stations featuring videos and educational programs about ocean life.

    Continue to 12 of 26 below.
  • 12 of 26

    Sea-Link Recovery Lift

    Sea-Link Recovery Lift
    Chip Clark/Smithsonian Institution

    The Sant Ocean Hall examines life in the ocean with a 13-minute film "Deep Ocean Exploration," featuring scientists as they uncover some of the planets deepest mysteries.

     

    Continue to 13 of 26 below.
  • 13 of 26

    Tube Sponges

    Tube sponges
    Chip Clark/Smithsonian Institution

    The Coral Reef section has a 1,500-gallon tank featuring an Indo-Pacific reef with about 74 live specimens. The hall’s “Journey through Time” section looks into the past with fossils of a large number of ancient animals.

     

    Continue to 14 of 26 below.
  • 14 of 26

    King Penguin

    King penguin
    Don Wilson/Smithsonian Institution

    There are many strange and wonderful animals in the Sant Ocean Hall.

     

    Continue to 15 of 26 below.
  • 15 of 26

    Pelican

    Pelican natural history exhibit
    Chip Clark/Smithsonian Institution

    The Sant Ocean Hall was created in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to show the ocean’s history and its importance in contemporary society. It is the only exhibition in the country devoted exclusively to a global view of the ocean.

     

    Continue to 16 of 26 below.
  • 16 of 26

    Portugal Man o' War

    Portugal Man o' War natural history exhibit
    Chip Clark/Smithsonian Institution

    The combination of 674 marine specimens and models, high-definition video experiences, one-of-a kind exhibits and the newest technology allows visitors to explore the ocean’s past, present, and future as never before.

     

    Continue to 17 of 26 below.
  • 17 of 26

    Butterflies + Plants: Partners in Evolution

    Butterflies
    Chip Clark/Smithsonian Institution

    Visitors get an up-close look at how butterflies and plants have evolved and diversified together over millions of years. The Live Butterfly Exhibit provides an interactive, entertaining and educational experience for all ages.

    Continue to 18 of 26 below.
  • 18 of 26

    Live Butterfly Exhibit

    Plant exhibit
    Chip Clark/Smithsonian Institution

    The Butterflies + Plants: Partners in Evolution exhibition draws a lot of crowds.

    Continue to 19 of 26 below.
  • 19 of 26

    Butterflies + Plants: Partners in Evolution

    Butterfly
    Chip Clark/Smithsonian Institution

    The live butterflies are a big draw. 

    Continue to 20 of 26 below.
  • 20 of 26

    Man and the Manlike Apes

    Primate skeletons
    Rachel Cooper

    The skeletons are on display in the Bones and Reptiles Room.

    Continue to 21 of 26 below.
  • 21 of 26

    Camel Skeleton

    Camel skeleton
    Rachel Cooper

    This skeleton of a Dromedary Camel is on display in the Bones and Reptiles Room.

    Continue to 22 of 26 below.
  • 22 of 26

    Monkey Skeletons

    Monkey skeletons
    Rachel Cooper

    Also at the Bones and Reptiles Room are monkey skeletons.

    Continue to 23 of 26 below.
  • 23 of 26

    Skulls Composite

    Evolutionary skulls
    Chip Clark, Jim DiLoreto, Don Hurlbert/Smithsonian Institution

    There is a display showing diversity of human fossil skulls. (Left to right): Homo sapiens, ~ 4,800 years old; Homo heidelbergensis, ~350,000 years old; Homo rudolfensis, 1.9 million years old.

    Continue to 24 of 26 below.
  • 24 of 26

    Human Handprint

    Primitive handprint cave painting
    James DiLoreto, Donald Hurlbert/Smithsonian Institution

    This 30,000 year-old handprint from Chauvet Cave in France, made by mixing pigment with saliva inside the mouth and blowing the mixture onto a cave wall, is an emblem of the deep history of human creativity.

    Continue to 25 of 26 below.
  • 25 of 26

    Skull of Human Ancestor

    Skull of human ancestor
    Reconstruction and photo/John Gurche

    Starting with a cast skull, artist John Gurche builds layers of muscle, fat, and skin to create hyper-realistic busts of human ancestors, as in this reconstruction of Homo heidelbergensis, who lived approximately 700,000 to 200,000 years ago.

    Continue to 26 of 26 below.
  • 26 of 26

    Prehistoric Artwork

    Caveman painting
    Karen Carr

    Some cave paintings were likely made as shown—by mixing pigment with saliva inside the mouth and blowing the mixture onto a cave wall.