This Sunday, June 25 from 10am – 12:30pm, the National Museum of Natural History is partnering with the U.S. Forest Service and USDA for a morning celebrating pollinators and learning about our connections to pollinators and plants with interactive activities and a concert with MISTER G! It’s all free and open to the public, and no registration is required.
Schedule of events: 10-10:55am: Hands-on activities and learning stations 11-11:50am: Concert with MISTER G 11:55am – 12:30pm: Hands-on activities and learning stations, plus a book signing with MISTER G* *Books will be available for purchase at the event.
The program will be held in Q?rius, The Coralyn W. Whitney Science Education Center, on the Ground Floor of the National Museum of Natural History. Use the Constitution Avenue entrance, and Q?rius is located on the right as you enter the museum.
Want to begin your pollinator explorations ahead of the event? Check out the museum’s learning resource page about pollinators and plants!
Celebrate Amphibian Week with the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History’s family program, The World & Me! Join the fun this Saturday, May 6, to learn about amphibians with friends and resources from the USDA Forest Service, USGS, Bureau of Land Management, and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service!
Families with kids of all ages are invited to explore different stations and learn through play, art, and museum collections. Learn all about these remarkable vertebrates that spend their lives in both land and water. Discover how a healthy ecosystem supports frogs, toads, newts, and salamanders, and why we need to preserve their habitats.
The program will take place at the National Museum of Natural History. Meet at the entrance of Q?rius, the Coralyn W. Whitney Science Education Center, on the Ground Floor of the museum. Q?rius is located next to the Constitution Avenue entrance.
This is a drop-in event — families can join anytime from 10am – 12:30pm and stay for as long as they’d like. No registration is required.
Discover the world of natural history science in a fun and interactive way! The Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History is offering a FREE virtual summer program series called Natural History Summer Explorations. These week-long online programs, hosted by museum educators, allow students to explore their interests in ocean science, paleontology, and other natural history topics. Students will have daily live webinars with artists and Smithsonian science experts, do activities and projects, and create their own scientifically inspired artwork.
Natural History Summer Explorations are recommended for rising 3rd through 7th graders, but all are welcome to attend. Live video webinars will be presented in Zoom video from 11am – 12pm EDT daily, during these weekly sessions:
July 13-17: Deep Sea Adaptations
Dive into a virtual week of ocean explorations that looks at how science and art are interconnected. Daily live online programs will include demonstrations and conversations with museum scientists and artists who will explore adaptations of some amazing deep-sea animals through puppet making, drawing, dance and more! Each day will also include a self-directed activity that our young explorers can share with friends, family, and even our scientists and other participating explorers.
July 27-31: Paleo Art – The Edge of Extinction
Explore fossils! Join museum experts for a virtual week of explorations to learn how to use fossils to understand what life on our planet looked like in the past. Through daily live online demonstrations and conversations with museum scientists and artists, you will use fossil evidence to create your own science-based mural of a North American ecosystem just before the extinction of the dinosaurs! Each day will also include a self-directed activity that explorers can share with friends, family, and even our scientists and other participating explorers.
August 3-7: ¡Descubre la historia natural! / Discover Natural History!
Check our website at the link below for more information. Registration for this session, which will be conducted primarily in Spanish, will open on July 20.
A link to join the webinars will be emailed to everyone who registers. For those who would like to share their projects and drawings with educators, scientists, and other participants, a parental permission form will be provided.
If you have any questions, please send an email to: YouthNMNH@si.edu.
A diplodocus is one of the many dinos featured in the Hall of Fossils
Back in 2014, when it was announced that the Hall of Fossils at the National Museum of Natural History would be closing for five years to undergo a major renovation, one of my first thoughts was of Owen. He was eight years old then, in second grade, and still digging dinosaurs. At that time, he wanted to be paleontologist when he grew up (with a side gig as a hip hop dancer, of course) and loved visits to the “Dino Museum.” I remember thinking that when it finally opened again, he would be 13 years old, in seventh grade, and probably not so into the prehistoric beasts anymore. But it seemed like such a long time away that I couldn’t really even fathom what he would be like at that age — my little boy, a teenager!?
Checking out the old Hall of Fossils when they were little people
Well, that time has come. The new David H. Koch Hall of Fossils-—Deep Time is complete, which means the dinosaurs are back — along with a whole new presentation of 3.7 billion years of life on Earth and how the past informs the present and shapes the future.
A first look at the space
The Nation’s T.rex (the real deal!) devouring a triceratops
Stop and see the Centrosaurus
The 31,0000-square-foot exhibition is nothing short of impressive. Featuring everything from an authentic Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton (read the story of its discovery) to replicas of other large prehistoric species to displays of smaller fossils to all kinds of installations and displays about the history of our planet and the climatic, geological, and human impact on it. Carts with related hands-on activities for all ages are also set up throughout the exhibit. You can experience it all as a journey through time, starting billions of years back and following it into the future.
Smaller fossils on display are just as interesting as the giants
A mechanical pterodactyl
An activity cart about dino tracks
The exhibition was produced with some messages in mind: That all life — past, present, and future is connected and is continually changing over time. Geological processes and global cycles cause ecosystem and evolutionary changes, and mass extinctions have at times devastated life on Earth. There is also a call to us humans to recognize the impact we have and consider our role in shaping the future and the fate of life on Earth.
This all opens to the public on Saturday, June 8, with an Opening Ceremony at 10:15am — the first 300 visitors to the National Mall-side entrance can participate in it. After that, all are welcome to explore, though crowds are expected, and there will be lines. But the museum will be open late, until 7:30pm, both Saturday and Sunday. Costumes are encouraged, so come as your favorite dino or as a paleontologist (but be sure to note safety instructions on this page)! There will be even more events to celebrate the opening of Deep Time on several other weekends. Admission to most of them is free.
As for Owen… my teen is now a rising eighth grader. And while he no longer seeks out books about dinosaurs or requests Dinosaur Planet on Discovery Channel, he is still into science (and basketball and soccer and history and indie rock music, and if you ask him what he wants to be when he grows up, he’ll wisely answer something along the lines of, “How can I know now? There are so many possibilities.”).
When I told him about the new Hall of Fossils after attending a preview, I remarked that it was kind of bummer it had closed when he was at peak dino.
His response, “Yeah, but the new one sounds really cool…when can we go?”