Past Special Exhibits
October 2, 2010–April 24, 2011
Ever wonder why dogs sniff each other’s rear ends, why cows need four stomachs to digest their food or why cats spit up hair balls? Here’s your chance to find out! Animal Grossology takes a unique and scientific look at nature’s slime-making, vomit-munching and dookie-loving creatures.
February 13–May 9, 2010
At 60 feet long, Carcharodon megalodon was the largest shark that ever lived and a dominant marine predator. Sharks are at risk today, with recent population declines attributed to humans. While the Megalodon vanished 2 million years ago, its fascinating story inspires lessons for contemporary science and shark conservation.
This unique exhibit showcases both fossil and modern shark specimens, as well as full-scale models from several collections. Visitors enter a full-sized sculpture of Megalodon through massive jaws and discover this shark’s history and the world it inhabited, including its physiology, diet, lifespan, relatives, neighbors, evolution and extinction.
The exhibit also provides details on how to improve the health of our oceans and survival of threatened species. Recent worldwide declines are attributed to commercial and sport overfishing. Scientists estimate that humans kill 100 million sharks, skates and rays each year, and the life history of most shark species makes it difficult for populations to rebound.
For those wondering why sharks should be saved, the exhibit asks visitors to consider the marine food-web domino effect caused by overfishing. Another section describes how this animal continues to fascinate many, elevating the Megalodon to near cult status. From biker jackets to postage stamps, the exhibition explains the many ways that the Megalodon remains a part of human culture through art, literature, music and film.
Megalodon was produced by the Florida Museum of Natural History with support from the National Science Foundation.
Journey Through the Arctic Refuge
October 17, 2009–January 10, 2010
Follow along on a photographic expedition through Alaska’s 19.2-million-acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The exhibition tells the story from the perspective of a National Geographic-sponsored traverse in 2006 celebrating the 50th anniversary of a biological survey led by naturalists Olaus and Mardy Murie, which resulted in the protection of this stunning wilderness.
Exhibit images shot by John Burcham, Forrest McCarthy, George Schaller and Jon Waterman feature wildlife, wilderness vistas, evidence of Arctic climate change, and kayaking and trekking scenes within the refuge. Additionally, the exhibit includes archival items from the 1956 survey; ptarmigan, wolf, Grizzly, Caribou and sheep scat; casts of wolf and Grizzly tracks; whale bones; Caribou antlers; cotton grass, a favorite food of Caribou; an Arctic Ground Squirrel preserved by Olaus Murie in 1956; and a continuous video loop about the refuge.
The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge shelters nine marine mammal species, 45 mammal species and 180 bird species, each endangered by the prospect of oil development on the northern coastal plain. For several years, Congress has narrowly resisted bills to open the refuge to oil leasing because of a flood of letters, phone calls and e-mails from millions of Americans. Inspired viewers of this exhibit also will have an opportunity to speak out on this issue; the last station provides postcards on which to write a plea for wilderness bill protection.
Chocolate: The Exhibition
Saturday, May 9–Sunday, September 20, 2009
From rainforest treasure to luscious treat, immerse yourself in the story of chocolate.
A gift for the gods. A symbol of wealth and luxury. An economic livelihood. Bonbons. Hot fudge. Candy bars. For thousands of years humans have been fascinated with the delicious phenomenon that we call chocolate. Journey through history to get the complete story behind the tasty treat that we crave in "Chocolate".
You'll begin in the rainforest with the unique cacao tree whose seeds started it all. Visit the ancient Maya civilization of Central America and discover what chocolate meant nearly 1,500 years ago. Then travel forward in time and northward to the Aztec civilization of 16th-century Mexico, where cacao seeds were so valuable they were used as money. Discover chocolate's introduction into the upper classes of European society and its transformation into a mass-produced world commodity.
Chocolate will engage your senses and reveal facets of this sumptuous sweet that you've never thought about before. You'll explore the plant, the products and the culture of chocolate through the lenses of science, history and popular culture.
June 28, 2008–January 4, 2009
The Dead Sea Scrolls — objects of great mystery, intrigue and significance — are widely acknowledged to be among the greatest archaeological treasures ever discovered.
The Dead Sea Scrolls date from 250 BCE to 68 CE and are our bridge to a period that laid the foundation of western traditions, beliefs and practices throughout the past two millennia. Among the Scrolls are some 207 biblical manuscripts that represent nearly every book in the Hebrew Bible (Christian Old Testament) and that predate any previously known copies by more than 1,000 years.
The Museum of Natural Sciences displayed 12 authentic Dead Sea Scrolls over the six month exhibition representing portions of the books of Genesis, Isaiah, Deuteronomy, Exodus and others.
Also included in the exhibition were more than 100 authentic artifacts (primarily coins and pottery) from Qumran, the ancient settlement on the northwestern shores of the Dead Sea in Israel closest to the caves where the scrolls were discovered.
In addition to biblical manuscripts, sectarian (non-biblical) manuscripts were recovered that reflect a wide variety of literary genres: biblical commentary, religious legal writings, liturgical (prayer) texts and compositions that predict a coming apocalypse. These Scrolls, some of which were on exhibit, reveal the fascinating transition between the ancient religion of the Bible and Rabbinic Judaism and Christianity.
Dead Sea Scrolls FAQ
Dinosaurs: Ancient Fossils, New Discoveries
October 27, 2007–March 2, 2008
Imagine the thrill of discovering something brand-new about a creature that lived millions of years ago. Ever since the first dinosaur fossil was identified almost 200 years ago, people have wondered how these fascinating animals lived, moved and behaved. At first, dinosaur hunters used only such tools as a keen eye, shovels and compasses.
Today, scientists also rely on everything from satellite technology to scanning electron microscopes. Prepare to take a journey of discovery into the exciting world of modern paleontology, where new discoveries, new technology and new ideas are helping today's scientists piece together what these living, breathing dinosaurs were really like.
Dinosaurs: Ancient Fossils, New Discoveries Web site
Wild Music: Sounds & Songs of Life
June 30–September 16, 2007
Whales compose, bullfrogs chorus, songbirds greet the dawn and people everywhere sing and dance. What do we all have in common? “Wild Music” explores evidence for the biological origins of music through highly interactive exhibits and exceptional sound experiences, and — in the process — expands our understandings of what makes music. Wild Music Web site
Hunters of the Sky
March 10, 2007–May 28, 2007
SPACE: A Journey to Our Future
October 7, 2006–February 11, 2007
Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2005 From the British Museum of Natural History
June 17–September 10, 2006
BRAIN: The World Inside Your Head
January 28–May 7, 2006
Discovering Chimpanzees: The Remarkable World of Jane Goodall
October 15, 2005–January 10, 2006
Teacher's Guides to CSI
June 25–September 18, 2005
Treasures Unearthed: North Carolina's Spectacular Gems & Minerals
July 17, 2004–June 12, 2005
Titanic: the Artifact Exhibit
August 2, 2003–April 18, 2004
March 15–May 26, 2003
Powers of Nature
October 19, 2002–February 16, 2003
April 20–September 2, 2002
2001 Wildlife Photographer of the Year
February 2–March 3, 2002
Hubble Space Telescope
June 2–September 3, 2001
*NOTE: These files are not located on the Museum's Web site. Please contact the STScI staff if you have trouble accessing the files.
February 7–May 6, 2001
The Dinosaurs of Jurassic Park
September 27, 2000–January 5, 2001
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