Smithsonian Museum of Natural History

Location: Washington D.C.

Webpage: Smithsonian Museum

General Description: The Museum of Natural History is two floors of amazing exhibits covering a wide range of topics in the realm of natural history.  Sections of the museum are devoted to permanent exhibits with temporary exhibits scattered about within and between the permanent exhibits.  You could easily spend a couple of hours in each of the permanent exhibits which would mean a minimum of a couple of days.  The permanent exhibits are the following:

Living on An Ocean Planet: Story of the human use and effects on the ocean, as well as, the effects the ocean has on human history.

Eternal Life in Ancient Egypt: Ancient Egypt burial rituals including a recreation of a tomb and actual human and animal mummies.

Hall of Human Origins: Story of human origins and how archeological evidence is conducted and the current state of understanding.

The Ocean Hall: Exploring the importance and complexity of the world’s oceans and how science is unlocking it’s mysteries.

Butterflies + Plants: How butterflies have evolved, adapted and diversified in symbiotic relationships with plants.

Korea Gallery: To celebrate the country’s art, history, and culture

Hall of Mammals: A showcase of 274 mammals from around the world along with information about the unique adaptations to their environment.

Geology, Gems, and Minerals: Examples of crystals, gems, and minerals from around the world from their formation to mining to production of fine jewelry.

Insect Zoo: A few examples of insects and their relationships with plants, animals, and humans.

Hall of Bones: Hundreds of skeletons of reptiles, amphibians, mammals, birds, and fishes ranging from gigantic to very small.

Impressions:

1) WOW!!  As a museum advocate and natural history lover, this museum is a dream come true.  There is no way I could do justice in a single day, but I gave it my best effort.  I want to thank both Kal and Kristin for keeping me moving and only looking at what caught my eye.  I am sure I studied less than 25% of what was offered.  Following are some of my most vivid experiences.

2) The Hall of Human Origins contains replications of the many skeletons found in Africa and Asia, as well as, artist reproductions of what our ancestors and close relatives probably looked like.  In high school I had an interest in the current research and wrote a couple of papers on the subject for science classes.  It was great seeing what these skeletons actually look like along with the current state of knowledge.  I was also impressed with the interactive exhibits that demonstrated what information can be collected from these discoveries and how this provides clues to the life styles of these early humans.

3) The Hall of Bones is simply overwhelming.  I was not surprised, but still impressed with the amount of information that can be learned from a skeleton.

4) The Gems and Minerals exhibits were interesting.  I gained an understanding of different ways crystals are formed and to see both the raw product alongside the finished product to be used in jewelry was fascinating.  Although after looking at over a hundred of them I find it hard to recall any single example!

5) I really liked the exhibit on Ancient Egypt.  Although relatively small the exhibit packs a lot of information.  I saw my first real mummy and was surprised to see the animal mummies including cats and snakes!. I would have like to have more time to study the inscriptions both inside and outside of Tentkhonsu coffin along with the interpretation of its meanings.

6) Unfortunately, Kal did not want to take her camera with her into the museum, so you will have to visit the website to see any images.

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