Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Located in Washington, D.C., the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History is an expansive museum that has a variety of exhibits and activities dedicated to preserving and promoting geology, biology, and natural history. Photo: marcorubino/Fotolia


»History

History


On March 17, 1910, the National Museum of Natural History opened as the National Museum. This museum had a variety of themes and displays that covered subjects, such as history, natural history, and art. During World War I, the Museum was used for the Bureau of War Risk Insurance, thus it was closed and unoccupied as a museum.

After World War I, in 1957, officials decided the National Museum would be divided into two categories: the Museum of History and Technology and the Museum of Natural History. Thus, everything that fell into the history and technology portion of the Museum moved to a separate location, which officially opened in the beginning of 1964. Then, art and portraits were moved to a location in 1968. In spring of 1969, the Museum was officially named as the National Museum of Natural History.

Today, the National Museum of Natural History also has a Museum Support Center in Suitland, Maryland, where a variety of collections and laboratories are located. Places to Visit in Washington DC: Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History - Photo: Stephen Finn/Fotolia

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»Permanent Attractions

Permanent Attractions


The National Museum of Natural History has over 125 million items in their permanent collection. While most of them are displayed at the Museum itself, some are located at the Museum Support Center. The permanent attractions at the Museum are divided and organized among sciences including Anthropology, Zoology, Entomology, Paleobiology, Botany and more~ Places to Visit in Washington DC: Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History - Photo: Stephen Finn/Fotolia

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»Special Attractions

Special Attractions


In addition to the Museum’s extensive permanent collection, the National Museum of Natural History regularly hosts and displays a variety of special attractions throughout the year. Since the Museum’s special attractions are continuously changing, check the Museum’s official website or contact them to find an updated list of special attractions.

Primordial Landscapes: Iceland Revealed is an exhibit that displays the work of Feodor Pitcairn, a photographer, and Ari Trausti Guomunddson, who is a poet. Together, the pair displays and captures what life in the remote location of Iceland is like. This exhibit will be on display until April 2017.

100 Years of America’s National Park Service: Preserve, Enjoy, Inspire is a special exhibit dedicated to the National Park Service’s history and service. A combination of over 50 photographs and documents are displayed to showcase the National Park Service’s rich and impactful history. This exhibit will be featured until August 2017.

The 21st Annual Nature’s Best Photography Windland Smith Rice International Awards Exhibition showcases 83 photographs taken by photographers who traveled the world and braved risky and dangerous weather and conditions. This exhibit is in conjunction with the Windland Smith Rice competition for best nature photographs. Visitors can explore this exhibit until September 2017. Places to Visit in Washington DC: Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History - Photo: Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

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»Educational Opportunities

Educational Opportunities

The National Museum of Natural History has a variety of educational opportunities that are available to people of all ages. In fact, the Museum’s wide variety of educational programs has led them to be known as “one of the largest science learning venues in the world”.

The educational opportunities at the Museum are divided in the following categories; Kids 10 and Under and Families, Teens 11 and Up, and Educators. Younger children and families can participate in a number of activities, such as Q?rius jr.?, which will encourage participants to explore the world around them.

Teenagers are able to participate in a variety of educational activities that are similar to those that young children can participate in. But, the programs available to teens are more thought-provoking and intensive. One of the most popular educational opportunities for teenagers is the YES! Internship. The YES! Internship is available for teenagers 13 to 19 years old, enrolled in high school, and are interested in pursuing a career related to science. During the internship program, participants will have access to facilities and information that general Museum guests don’t have, as well as the opportunity to participate in workshops, activities that will prepare them for college, and stimulate a TED talk.

As for educators, they are able to sign their class up for a field trip or utilize the Museum’s online resources for class activities and presentations. The Museum of Natural History has two different programs: one for grades K to 5, and the other for grades 6 to 12. Each field trip program gives students a different and unique chance to explore the Museum and learn about natural science.

For more information about any of the educational opportunities at the Museum of Natural History, head over to the Museum’s official website, or visit or contact them during their standard hours of operation.

Back to: Washington, D.C.

10th St. & Constitution Ave. NW, in Washington, D.C. 20560 , website, Phone: 202-633-1000 Places to Visit in Washington DC: Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History - Photo: Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

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Places to Visit in Washington DC: Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History