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Service Animals Service dogs specially trained to assist a person with a disability are welcome in the Museum. Calendar of Events This calendar of events highlights some of the programs and activities that will be happening at the museum. We are committed to visitor safety and have security measures in place to keep you and Museum objects protected.

When you arrive at the Museum you can expect a full security screening similar to what you might experience at the airport, except you can keep your shoes and belts on. Help speed your entry into the Museum by having your bags open and ready for inspection, and empty your pockets before going through the screening station. Check the Smithsonian s security policy for the most up-to-date information. The museum s Security Office is located on the Ground Floor in the north Constitution Avenue lobby next to the elevators.

A temporary cafeteria featuring sandwiches, salads, hot and cold drinks, and desserts is now open on our second floor. Outside food continues to be prohibited in the museum. We are unable to provide designated seating for school or tour groups. Check out our Smithsonian Bead Program!

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There are no Smithsonian Institution public parking facilities on the National Mall. If you must drive, please see parking options. Bag Lunches No accommodations are available for eating bag lunches within the museum. Pets Pets except service animals are not permitted in the museum. Emotional support animals are not permitted in the museum. Photography The Smithsonian permits still and video photography for noncommercial use only in its museums and exhibitions, unless otherwise posted.

For the safety of our visitors and collections, the use of tripods, monopods, and selfie sticks is not permitted at any time. Smoking Smoking is prohibited in all Smithsonian facilities. This includes e-cigarettes. Please see the "Prepare for Security" section for items that are not permitted inside the museum.

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Skip to main content. Smithsonian Institution. Search Keywords. NW Washington, D. Admission is FREE to the museum and programs, except where noted. Photo by Paul Fetters. Cave handprints, David H. Live tarantula, O. Orkin Insect Zoo, Second Floor. Early human species sculpture, David H.

Examining collection objects, Q? Photo by Jennifer Renteria, Smithsonian. Visit Now. Today at the Museum View All Events. Accessibility The National Museum of Natural History is committed to providing inclusive experiences for all audiences. Information for Visitors in a Wheelchair All of the Museum s exhibitions including the Butterfly Pavilion are accessible by wheelchair, and all public floors of the Museum can be reached by elevator.

All theaters include wheelchair locations and companion seats. All food service areas are accessible by wheelchair with no steps, turnstiles, or other potential obstructions All Museum restrooms are accessible to those with mobility disabilities or in wheelchairs. Sign language interpretation or real-time captioning CART are available for public programs with a two week advanced notice. Tactile objects are provided for all visitors at designated points throughout the Museum. A full list of tactile objects can be found at the Information Desks in large print and braille. Verbally-described tours with tactile elements designed for visitors with visual disabilities are available with a two-week advanced notice.

Subject to volunteer availability. Volunteer-led interactive cart programs with tactile elements take place in select exhibit hall and are subject to volunteer availability. Prepare for Security We are committed to visitor safety and have security measures in place to keep you and Museum objects protected. Service animals not emotional support animals Bottled water Check the Smithsonian s security policy for the most up-to-date information.

Other Information Bag Lunches No accommodations are available for eating bag lunches within the museum. Additional Resources. Download Museum Map Navigate your way around all three floors of the museum. Campbell would be involved, in one capacity or another, with several other subsequent expeditions. Though construction of the hall was completed in , the dioramas would gradually open between the mids and early s.

It contains 8 complete dioramas, 4 partial dioramas, and 6 habitat groups of mammals and locations from India , Nepal , Burma , and Malaysia. The hall opened in and, similar to Akeley Hall, is centered around 2 Asian elephants. At one point, a giant panda and Siberian tiger were also part of the Hall's collection, originally intended to be part of an adjoining Hall of North Asian Mammals planned in the current location of Stout Hall of Asian Peoples.

These specimens can currently be seen in the Hall of Biodiversity. Vernay and Col. John Faunthorpe as noted by stylized plaques at both entrances. The expeditions were funded entirely by Vernay, a wealthy, British-born, New York antiques dealer. The first Vernay-Faunthorpe expedition took place in At the time, many of the animals Vernay was seeking, such as the Sumatran rhinoceros and Asiatic lion , were already rare and facing the possibility of extinction.

To acquire these specimens, Vernay would have to make many appeals to regional authorities in order to obtain hunting permits. Rosenkranz accompanied the Vernay-Faunthorpe expeditions as field artist and would later paint the majority of the diorama backgrounds in the hall. Each diorama places focus on a particular species, ranging from the largest megafauna to the smaller rodents and carnivorans. Notable dioramas include the Alaskan brown bears looking at a salmon after they scared off an otter, a pair of wolves , a pair of Sonoran jaguars , and dueling bull Alaska moose.

The Hall of North American Mammals opened in with only ten dioramas, including those of the larger North American mammals. In , the wolf diorama was installed, but further progress on the hall was halted as World War II broke out. After the war the hall ceased completion in Since that time, the hall had remained the much the same and the majority of the mounts were weathering and bleaching. A massive restoration project began in late due to a large donation from Jill and Lewis Bernard.

Taxidermists were brought in to clean the mounts and skins and artists restored the diorama backdrops. In October the hall was reopened as the Bernard Hall of North American Mammals and included scientifically-updated signage for each diorama. There are several small dioramas featuring small mammals found throughout North America, including collared peccaries , Abert's squirrel , and a wolverine. Its 25 dioramas depict birds from across North America in their native habitats. Opening in , the dioramas in Sanford Hall were the first to be exhibited in the museum and are, at present, the oldest still on display.

At the far end of the hall are two large murals by ornithologist and artist, Louis Agassiz Fuertes. In addition to the species listed below, the hall also has display cases devoted to large collections of warblers , owls , and raptors. Conceived by museum ornithologist Frank Chapman , construction began on dioramas for the Hall of North American Birds as early as The Hall is named for Chapman's friend and amateur ornithologist Leonard C. Sanford , who partially funded the hall and also donated the entirety of his own bird specimen collection to the museum.

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Although Chapman was not the first to create museum dioramas, he was responsible for many of the innovations that would separate and eventually define the dioramas in the American Museum. Whereas other dioramas of the time period typically featured generic scenery, Chapman was the first to bring artists into the field with him in the hopes of capturing a specific location at a specific time.

In contrast to the dramatic scenes later created by Carl Akeley for the African Hall, Chapman wanted his dioramas to evoke a scientific realism, ultimately serving as a historical record of habitats and species facing a high probability of extinction. At the time of Sanford Hall's construction, plume-hunting for the millinery trade had brought many coastal bird species to the brink of extinction, most notably the great egret.

Frank Chapman was a key figure in the conservation movement that emerged during this time. His dioramas were created with the intention of furthering this conservationist cause, giving museum visitors a brief glimpse at the dwindling bird species being lost in the name of fashion. Thanks in part to Chapman's efforts, both inside and outside of the museum, conservation of these bird species would be very successful, establishing refuges, such as Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge , and eventually leading to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of The global diversity of bird species is exhibited in this hall.

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Example dioramas include South Georgia featuring king penguins and skuas , the East African plains featuring secretarybirds and bustards , and the Australian outback featuring honeyeaters , cockatoos , and kookaburras. This particular hall has undergone a complicated history over the years since its founding in Frank Chapman and Leonard C. Sanford, originally museum volunteers, had gone forward with creation of a hall to feature birds of the Pacific islands. In the years up to its founding, the museum had engaged in various expeditions to Fiji , New Zealand , and the Marianas among other locations to collect birds for the exhibit.

The hall was designed as a completely immersive collection of dioramas, including a circular display featuring birds-of-paradise.

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In , The Butterfly Conservatory was installed inside the hall originally as a temporary exhibit, but as the popular demand of the exhibit increased, the Hall of Oceanic Birds has more or less remained closed by the museum. The Hall of Reptiles and Amphibians serves as an introduction to herpetology , with many exhibits detailing reptile evolution, anatomy, diversity, reproduction, and behavior. Notable exhibits include a Komodo dragon group, an American alligator , Lonesome George , the last Pinta island tortoise , and poison dart frogs. It contains ten dioramas depicting a range of forest types from across North America as well as several displays on forest conservation and tree health.

Constructed under the guidance of noted botanist Henry K. The entrance to the hall features a cross section from a 1,year-old sequoia taken from the King's River grove on the west flank of the Sierra Mountains in Based on the town of Pine Plains and near-by Stissing Mountain in Dutchess County , [41] the hall gives a multi-faceted presentation of the eco-systems typical of New York.

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Though The Wellington is suitable for business travelers, the hotel tends to draw more vacationing couples, as the location is convenient to Midtown attractions and the subway. It was pretty miserably hot and our windows stayed open the entire stay. Whereas other dioramas of the time period typically featured generic scenery, Chapman was the first to bring artists into the field with him in the hopes of capturing a specific location at a specific time. For instance, a cladogram will show a relationship between amphibians , mammals, turtles , lizards , and birds since these apparently disparate groups share the trait of having 'four limbs with movable joints surrounded by muscle', making them tetrapods. It is located on the Upper West Side and is a short hop to the subway, only two blocks away.

Aspects covered include soil types, seasonal changes, and the impact of both humans and nonhuman animals on the environment. It is named for the German-American philanthropist, Felix M. The Milstein Hall of Ocean Life focuses on marine biology , botany and marine conservation. The upper level of the hall exhibits the vast array of ecosystems present in the ocean. Dioramas compare and contrast the life in these different settings including polar seas , kelp forests , mangroves , coral reefs and the bathypelagic. It attempts to show how vast and varied the oceans are while encouraging common themes throughout.

The lower, and arguably more famous, half of the hall consists of several large dioramas of larger marine organisms. It is on this level that the famous "Squid and the Whale" diorama sits, depicting a hypothetical fight between the two creatures. The whale was redesigned dramatically in the renovation: its flukes and fins were readjusted, a navel was added, and it was repainted from a dull gray to various rich shades of blue. In , museum president Henry F. Osborn proposed the construction of a large building in the museum's southeast courtyard to house a new Hall of Ocean Life in which "models and skeletons of whales" would be exhibited.

This proposal to build in the courtyard marked a major reappraisal of the museum's original architectural plan. Calvert Vaux had designed the museum complex to include four open courtyards in order to maximize the amount of natural light entering the surrounding buildings. In , a renovation gave the hall a more explicit focus on oceanic megafauna in order to paint the ocean as a grandiose and exciting place.

Richard Van Gelder oversaw the creation of the hall in its current incarnation. The hall was renovated once again in , this time with environmentalism and conservation being the main focal points. Paul Milstein was a real estate developer, business leader and philanthropist and Irma Milstein is a long-time Board member of the American Museum of Natural History. New displays were linked to schools via technology.

It is named for Gardner D. Stout, a former president of the museum, and was primarily organized by Dr. Walter A. Fairservis, a longtime museum archaeologist. Stout Hall has two sections: Ancient Eurasia, a small section devoted to the evolution of human civilization in Eurasia , and Traditional Asia, a much larger section containing cultural artifacts from across the Asian continent.

The latter section is organized to geographically correspond with two major trade routes of the Silk Road. The Traditional Asia section contains areas devoted to major Asian countries, such as Japan , China , Tibet , and India , while also including a vast array of smaller Asian tribes including the Ainu , Semai , and Yakut. A forced perspective , miniature diorama of Isfahan. The hall contains three dioramas and notable exhibits include a large collection of spiritual costumes on display in the Forest-Woodland section.

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Uniting the sections of the hall is a multi-faceted comparison of African societies based on hunting and gathering , cultivation , and animal domestication. Each type of society is presented in a historical, political, spiritual, and ecological context. A small section of African diaspora spread by the slave trade is also included. Below is a brief list of some of the tribes and civilizations featured:. Grasslands: Pokot , Shilluk , Barawa. Forest-Woodland: Yoruba , Kofyar , Mbuti. Desert: Ait Atta , Tuareg. It presents archaeological artifacts from a broad range of pre-Columbian civilizations that once existed across Middle America, including the Maya , Olmec , Zapotec , and Aztec.

Because most of these civilizations did not leave behind recorded writing or have any contact with Western civilization, the overarching aim of the hall is to piece together what it is possible to know about them from the artifacts alone. The museum has displayed pre-Columbian artifacts since its opening, only a short time after the discovery of the civilizations by archaeologists, with its first hall dedicated to the subject opening in Opened in under the name "Jesup North Pacific Hall", it is currently the oldest exhibition hall in the museum, though it has undergone many renovations in its history.

The hall contains artifacts and exhibits of the tribes of the North Pacific Coast cultural region Southern Alaska, Northern Washington, and a portion of British Columbia. Featured prominently in the hall are four "House Posts" from the Kwakwaka'wakw nation and murals by William S. Taylor depicting native life.

Artifacts in the hall originated from three main sources. The earliest of these was a gift of Haida artifacts including the now famous Haida canoe of the Grand Gallery collected by John Wesley Powell and donated by Herbert Bishop in George T. Emmons in and At the time of its opening, the Hall of Northwest Coast Indians was one of four halls dedicated to the native peoples of United States and Canada.

It was originally organized in two sections, the first being a general area pertaining to all peoples of the region and the second a specialized area divided by tribe. The primary focus of this hall is the North American Great Plains peoples as they were at the middle of the 19th Century, including depictions of Blackfeet see also: Blackfoot Confederacy , Hidatsa , and Dakota cultures. Of particular interest is a Folsom point discovered in New Mexico, providing valuable evidence of early American colonization of the Americas. This hall details the lives and technology of traditional Native American peoples in the woodland environments of eastern North America.

Particular cultures exhibited include Cree , Mohegan , Ojibwe , and Iroquois. Many of the celebrated displays from the original hall can still be viewed in the present expanded format. These include life-size dioramas of our human predecessors Australopithecus afarensis , Homo ergaster , Neanderthal , and Cro-Magnon , showing each species demonstrating the behaviors and capabilities that scientists believe they were capable of.

Also displayed are full-sized casts of important fossils, including the 3.

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The hall also features replicas of ice age art found in the Dordogne region of southwestern France. The limestone carvings of horses were made nearly 26, years ago and are considered to represent some of the earliest artistic expression of humans. The Arthur Ross Hall of Meteorites contains some of the finest specimens in the world including Ahnighito , a section of the ton Cape York meteorite which was found at the location of the same name in Greenland. The meteorite's great weight—at 34 tons, it is the largest meteorite on display at any museum in the world [63] —requires support by columns that extend through the floor and into the bedrock below the museum.

The hall also contains extra-solar nanodiamonds diamonds with dimensions on the nanometer level more than 5 billion years old. These were extracted from a meteorite sample through chemical means, and they are so small that a quadrillion of these fit into a volume smaller than a cubic centimeter. It adjoins the Morgan Memorial Hall of Gems showcasing many rare, and valuable gemstones. The exhibit was designed by the architectural firm of Wm.

Pedersen and Assoc. Vincent Manson was the curator of the Mineralogy Department. The exhibit took six years to design and build, — On display are many renowned samples that are chosen from among the museum's more than , pieces. Included among these are the Patricia Emerald, a carat g , 12 sided stone. It was discovered during the s in a mine high in the Colombian Andes and was named for the mine-owner's daughter. The Patricia is one of the few large gem-quality emeralds that remains uncut.

It was discovered over years ago in Sri Lanka , [ citation needed ] most likely in the sands of ancient river beds from where star sapphires continue to be found today. It was donated to the museum by the financier J. The thin, radiant, six pointed star, or asterism , is created by incoming light that reflects from needle-like crystals of the mineral rutile which are found within the sapphire. The Star of India is polished into the shape of a cabochon , or dome, to enhance the star's beauty. A few weeks later, also in Miami, the Star of India was recovered from a locker in a bus station, but the Eagle Diamond was never found; it may have been recut or lost.

Quartz var. The David S. Gottesman Hall of Planet Earth is a permanent hall devoted to the history of Earth, from accretion to the origin of life and contemporary human impacts on the planet. Several sections also discuss the studies of Earth systems, including geology , glaciology , atmospheric sciences , and volcanology. The exhibit is famous for its large, touchable rock specimens. The hall features striking samples of banded iron and deformed conglomerate rocks , as well as granites , sandstones , lavas , and three black smokers.

The north section of the hall, which deals primarily with plate tectonics , is arranged to mimic the Earth's structure , with the core and mantle at the center and crustal features on the perimeter. Most of the museum's collections of mammalian and dinosaur fossils remain hidden from public view. They are kept in numerous storage areas located deep within the museum complex.

Among these, the most significant storage facility is the ten story Childs Frick Building which stands within an inner courtyard of the museum. The predicted great weight of the fossil bones led designers to add special steel reinforcement to the building's framework, as it now houses the largest collection of fossil mammals and dinosaurs in the world.

These collections occupy the basement and lower seven floors of the Frick Building, while the top three floors contain laboratories and offices. It is inside this particular building that many of the museum's intensive research programs into vertebrate paleontology are carried out. Other areas of the museum contain repositories of life from the past. The Whale Bone Storage Room is a cavernous space in which powerful winches come down from the ceiling to move the giant fossil bones about.

The museum attic upstairs includes even more storage facilities, such as the Elephant Room, while the tusk vault and boar vault are downstairs from the attic. The great fossil collections that are open to public view occupy the entire fourth floor of the museum as well as a separate exhibit that is on permanent display in the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Hall, the museum's main entrance. The fourth floor exhibits allow the visitor to trace the evolution of vertebrates by following a circuitous path that leads through several museum buildings.

On the 77th street side of the museum the visitor begins in the Orientation Center and follows a carefully marked path, which takes the visitor along an evolutionary tree of life. As the tree "branches" the visitor is presented with the familial relationships among vertebrates. This evolutionary pathway is known as a cladogram. To create a cladogram, scientists look for shared physical characteristics to determine the relatedness of different species. For instance, a cladogram will show a relationship between amphibians , mammals, turtles , lizards , and birds since these apparently disparate groups share the trait of having 'four limbs with movable joints surrounded by muscle', making them tetrapods.

A group of related species such as the tetrapods is called a " clade ". Within the tetrapod group only lizards and birds display yet another trait: "two openings in the skull behind the eye". Lizards and birds therefore represent a smaller, more closely related clade known as diapsids. In a cladogram the evolutionary appearance of a new trait for the first time is known as a "node". Throughout the fossil halls the nodes are carefully marked along the evolutionary path and these nodes alert us to the appearance of new traits representing whole new branches of the evolutionary tree.

Species showing these traits are on display in alcoves on either side of the path. A video projection on the museum's fourth floor introduces visitors to the concept of the cladogram, and is popular among children and adults alike. Many of the fossils on display represent unique and historic pieces that were collected during the museum's golden era of worldwide expeditions s to s. The 4th floor includes the following halls: [73]. A Triceratops and a Stegosaurus are also both on display, among many other specimens. Besides the fossils in museum display, many specimens are stored in the collections available for scientists.

Those include important specimens such as complete diplodocid skull [83] , tyrannosaurid teeth, sauropod vertebrae, and many holotype. The original Hayden Planetarium was founded in with a donation by philanthropist Charles Hayden. James Polshek has referred to his work as a "cosmic cathedral". Also located in the facility is the Department of Astrophysics , the newest academic research department in the museum. This structure, a small companion piece to the Rose Center, offers a new entry way to the museum as well as opening further exhibition space for astronomically related objects.

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