National Museum of Natural History!

The National Museum of Natural History is a great place to visit, if you're backpacking around Washinton, D.C. It is located at 10th St. and Constitution Ave. NW. Admission is FREE. No tickets are required to get in. Their Web site uses Google Maps and Earth to show you more about what they do. For more information, call 202-633-1000.

National Museum of Natural History
National Museum of Natural History

The NMNH (National Museum of Natural History) is part of the world's preeminent research and museum complex, the Smithsonian Institution. Through its unparalleled education outreach programs, exhibitions, collections, and research, the Museum is dedicated to inspiring learning, discovery, and curiosity about the natural world. Constructed exclusively to house the national research facilities and collections, opened in 1910, the green-domed museum on the National Mall was among the first Smithsonian buildings.

Smithsonian Institution of Art - Diana
Smithsonian Institution of Art - Diana, National Museum of Natural History

The Museum's permanent and temporary exhibitions serve to entertain, enlighten and educate millions of visitors each year, whether exploring the beauty of rare gemstones such as uniquely colored diamonds, examining ancient life forms including the ever popular dinosaurs, describing primate diversity around the world or our earliest Mammalian ancestor, or looking at the cultures and history of Africa.

Dinosaurs, National Museum of Natural History

Altogether the Museum houses over 1,000 employees, and is the size of 18 football fields; the main building on the National Mall contains 325,000 square feet of public and exhibition space and 1.5 million square feet of space overall. Accessible to anyone with access to the internet, the Museum is transforming itself into a hub for international and national electronic education, with a growing network of interactive websites.

1.5 Million Square Feet of Space!
1.5 Million Square Feet of Space, National Museum of Natural History

At the center of the Museum's research programs and exhibitions are its expertly documented collections: over 126,000,000 cultural artifacts and natural science specimens. The collections include 400 thousand photographs housed in the National Anthropological Archives; 2,000,000 cultural artifacts; 7,000,000 fish in liquid-filled jars; 4,500,000 plants pressed onto sheets of paper in the Museum's herbarium and 30,000,000 insects carefully pinned into tiny boxes, just to name a few of the museum holdings.

Fish, National Museum of Natural History

There are almost 600 thousand additional visits to collection data bases available on the Web; more than 15 thousand visitor days are spent in the collections; and more than 3,500,000 specimens are out on loan each year.

The National Museum of Natural History includes field stations as far away as Kenya, Alaska, and Belize; a marine science research facility in Ft. Pierce, Florida; and a state-of-the-art collections storage facility in Suitland, Maryland.

A number of affiliated United States government agencies on-site contribute to the Museum's strength, including Walter Reed Biosystematics Unit (the Department of Defense), the National Marine Fisheries Service Systematics Laboratory (Department of Commerce), the Systematic Entomology Laboratory (Department of Agriculture), and the U.S. Geological Survey Biological Resources Division (Department of the Interior), and Research activities are organized into seven departments.

As well as a source of tremendous pride for all Americans, through its exhibition, education, collections and research programs, the National Museum of Natural History (use your Android phone and Google Maps to locate it) serves as one of the world's great repositories of cultural and scientific heritage!

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