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Joy of Museums

Museums, Art Galleries and Historical Sites

Natural History Museums

Natural History Museums

Natural History Museums

A natural history museum is a scientific institution with natural history collections that include records of animals, plants, fungi, ecosystems, geology, palaeontology, climatology, and more. A primary role of a natural history museum is to improve our understanding of the beauty and wonder of the natural world. Some museums feature natural-history collections in addition to other collections, such as ones related to history, art and science. Also, nature centres often include natural-history exhibits.

Below is the evolving list of Natural History Museums featured on “Joy of Museums”.

Natural History Museums

Natural History Museums Details

  • Natural History Museum, London
    • Natural History Museum, London exhibits a vast range of life and earth science specimens comprising some 80 million items within five main collections: botany, entomology, mineralogy, palaeontology and zoology. Many of the collections have great historical as well as scientific value, such as specimens collected by Charles Darwin. The museum is particularly famous for its exhibition of dinosaur skeletons and ornate architecture.
  • American Museum of Natural History, New York
    • The American Museum of Natural History is one of the largest museums in the world comprises 28 interconnected buildings housing 45 permanent exhibition halls, in addition to a planetarium and a library. The museum collections contain over 33 million objects, of which only a small fraction can be displayed at any given time. The mission of the American Museum of Natural History is: “To discover, interpret, and disseminate—through scientific research and education—knowledge about human cultures, the natural world, and the universe.”
  • National Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C.
    • The National Museum of Natural History is a natural history museum administered by the Smithsonian Institution. The museum was one of the first Smithsonian buildings explicitly constructed to hold the national collections and research facilities. The museum’s collections contain over 126 million specimens of plants, animals, fossils, minerals, rocks, meteorites, human remains, and human cultural artefacts.
  • Shanghai Natural History Museum
    • The Shanghai Natural History Museum is a museum dedicated to natural history. It is one of the largest museums of natural sciences in China. The museum is housed in a 2015 purpose-built site in the Jing’an Sculpture Park. The museum’s collections including over 62,000 animals, 135,000 plants and 1,700 minerals. There are also rare species which cannot be found elsewhere outside China. The largest exhibit is a 140-million-year-old dinosaur skeleton of Mamenchisaurus Hochuanensis, which is over four stories high.
  • National Museum of Nature and Science, Tokyo
    • The National Museum of Nature and Science focuses on natural history exhibits and interactive scientific experiences. The museum also includes historical pre-Meiji science in Japan.
  • Natural History Museum, Chicago
    • The Field Museum of Natural History is a natural history museum in Chicago. The museum is named in honour of its first major benefactor, the department-store magnate Marshall Field. The museum and its collections originated from the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition and the artefacts displayed at the fair. The museum’s collection of over 24 million specimens and objects provides the basis for the museum’s scientific-research programs. These collections include the full range of existing biodiversity, gems, meteorites, fossils, and rich anthropological collections and cultural artefacts from around the globe. The academic faculty and scientific staff engage in field expeditions, in biodiversity and cultural research on every continent, in training, and the stewardship of the rich specimen and artefact collections.
  • Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago
    • The Field Museum of Natural History is a natural history museum in Chicago. The museum is named in honour of its first major benefactor, the department-store magnate Marshall Field. The museum and its collections originated from the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition and the artefacts displayed at the fair.

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Natural History Quotes

“This last chapter .. may have given the impression that somehow man is the ultimate triumph of evolution, that all these millions of years of development have had no purpose other than to put him on earth. There is no scientific evidence whatever to support such a view and no reason to suppose that our stay here will be any more permanent than that of the dinosaur.”
– David Attenborough, Life on Earth

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“Geology gave us the immensity of time and taught us how little of it our own species has occupied.”
– Stephen Jay Gould

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“A museum is a place where nothing was lost, just rediscovered…”
– Nanette L. Avery

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I like animals. I like natural history. The travel bit is not the important bit. The travel bit is what you have to do in order to go and look at animals.
– David Attenborough

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Let us not underrate the value of a fact; it will one day flower in a truth. It is astonishing how few facts of importance are added in a century to the natural history of any animal. The natural history of man himself is still being gradually written.
– Henry David Thoreau

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When Kepler found his long-cherished belief did not agree with the most precise observation, he accepted the uncomfortable fact. He preferred the hard truth to his dearest illusions; that is the heart of science.
– Carl Sagan

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Art is the tree of life. Science is the tree of death.
– William Blake

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The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.
– Isaac Asimov

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Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.
– Albert Einstein

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Science is the great antidote to the poison of enthusiasm and superstition.
– Adam Smith

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“I am seeking. I am striving. I am in it with all my heart.”  
– Vincent van Gogh

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Photo Credit: JOM

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