Take a Peek Inside the Smithsonian Natural History Museum
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 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.
The Hope Diamond is on display at the museum. It is the largest blue diamond in the world, weighing 45.52 carats.
Kenneth E. Behring Family Hall of Mammals
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.
Mammal Orientation Gallery
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.
Watering Hole - Close-up of Giraffe
A giraffe drinks at the watering hole in the Kenneth E. Behring Family Hall of Mammals.
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.
Leopard and Impala
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.
Sant Ocean Hall
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.
Spotted Eagle Ray
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.
3D Science on a Sphere Globe
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.
Sea-Link Recovery Lift
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.
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.
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.
Portugal Man o' War
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.
Butterflies + Plants: Partners in Evolution
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.
Live Butterfly Exhibit
The Butterflies + Plants: Partners in Evolution exhibition draws a lot of crowds.
This skeleton of a Dromedary Camel is on display in the Bones and Reptiles Room.
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.
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.
Skull of Human Ancestor
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.
Some cave paintings were likely made as shown—by mixing pigment with saliva inside the mouth and blowing the mixture onto a cave wall.