Advance Schedule of Exhibitions and Programs at the American Museum of Natural History Fall 2015-Summer 2016

©AMNH/D. Finnin

©AMNH/D. Finnin




Opulent Oceans: Extraordinary Scientific Illustrations from the Museum’s Library

October 3, 2015–October 2, 2016

Inspired by the book Opulent Oceans: Extraordinary Rare Book Selections from the American Museum of Natural History, published in October 2014, this exhibition includes 46 exquisite reproductions from 33 rare and beautifully illustrated scientific works.


The world’s oceans abound with a truly astonishing diversity of life forms. Beginning some 400 years ago, European voyages of discovery began mapping the globe, and knowledge of ocean life flourished as never before. These explorers documented their discoveries in illustrated books—by sketching their own specimens or collaborating with artists and engravers—resulting in images that communicate the anatomy, life cycles, habits—and sheer beauty—of newfound marine species.


The exhibition is curated by the author of the book, Melanie L.J. Stiassny, Axelrod Research Curator in the Museum’s Department of Ichthyology in collaboration with Tom Baione, Harold Boeschenstein Director of the Museum’s Research Library. LeFrak Theater corridor, first floor


The presentation of Opulent Oceans: Extraordinary Rare Book Selections from the American Museum of Natural History at the American Museum of Natural History is made possible through the generosity of the Arthur Ross Foundation.



First Wednesdays of the month, October through June

SciCafe is the American Museum of Natural History’s popular after-hours series featuring informal talks on current topics in science, amazing stories from the field, cocktails, and conversation. The series draws on the unique expertise of the Museum’s staff of more than 200 active scientists as well as their vast network of colleagues across the globe. Recent SciCafe topics have included understanding autism, collective behavior in ant colonies and beyond, and exploring the evolution of human irrationality by watching the way our primitive relatives make decisions.


Coming up this Fall:


Wednesday, October 7: Seeing Inside Bats. Curator Nancy Simmons and postdoctoral fellow Abigail Curtis, from the Museum’s Department of Mammalogy, will explore inside the world (and bodies!) of bats. Often small in size and difficult to study, these amazing mammals are known for many remarkable qualities including powered flight, echolocation, and diverse feeding strategies. Using CT-scanning technology, Simmons and Curtis are taking a new look at bat skeletons, from wrists to sinuses.


The SciCafe series is proudly sponsored by Judy and Josh Weston.


One Step Beyond

October 16, 2015

The Museum’s popular One Step Beyond is an ongoing party series that features the biggest names in techno, electronica, and hip hop. Guests can dance in the Museum’s Rose Center for Earth and Space while cocktails keep the party going. The next One Step Beyond will take place on Friday, October 16.


22nd Annual Family Party
Wednesday, October 21, 2015, 5–7:30 pm

The Family Party features educational activities and entertainment for children of all ages. Children will have the opportunity to explore the Museum’s magnificent halls; interact with live animals; dig for gems; look through a microscope; and explore the Family Party’s Museum Science Center, which showcases Museum scientists’ ongoing work through hands-on activities. Tickets to this special benefit event are $85 for children and $175 for adults. For event and ticket information, please call 212-313-7161, or email


Special thanks toTiffany & Co.


39th Annual Margaret Mead Film Festival
October 22–25, 2015

With the theme “Thresholds,” this year’s Mead Festival examines authentic stories illuminating the depth and breadth of human existence: Uruguayan ballerinas ignite the stage; an Austrian village becomes a model for a Chinese utopia; an Indian girl sold into marriage escapes to become a thriving businesswoman; and young adults with autism in Ohio experience their first dance. These are some of the stories emblematic of the legacy of Margaret Mead, whose pioneering work as a Museum anthropologist continues to influence the study of global human relations decades later.

The preeminent showcase for contemporary cultural storytelling, the festival features international documentaries, multi-media performances, installations, receptions throughout the Museum, intimate conversations with filmmakers and film subjects, and the presentation of the annual Margaret Mead Filmmaker Award.

The Margaret Mead Film Festival is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.


Support for the Margaret Mead Festival is provided, in part, by the May and Samuel Rudin Foundation, the Sidney, Milton, and Leoma Simon Foundation, the family of Frederick H. Leonhardt, and The Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation.


Halloween Celebration
Saturday, October 31, 2015, 2-5 pm

More than 30 of the Museum’s popular halls will be open for trick-or-treating, arts and crafts, fun with roaming cartoon characters, and live performances. Past performers and characters have included Curious George®, Clifford the Big Red Dog®, Miffy, Peter RabbitTM, David Grover and the Big Bear Band, Big Nazo, Louie & Subanda, a magician, stilt walkers, and performers from the Big Apple Circus.


Made possible with support of The Rudin Foundation, Inc.


The Secret World Inside You

November 7, 2015–August 14, 2016

Our bodies are home to approximately 100 trillion bacteria living inside us and on us—along with even more viruses and other microorganisms. This vast community is referred to as our microbiome. Many of us think of all microorganisms as “germs” that cause disease, and that eliminating these microbes is essential to improving health. But only a tiny fraction of the microbes we harbor could, and do, make us sick. Fascinating new research is revealing how many of these microbes work with the body to manufacture vitamins, bolster our immune system, help digest food, and even moderate moods and behavior. The Secret World Inside You: The Human Microbiome will explore the rapidly evolving science that is revealing complexities of the human microbiome and redefining our notions of human health. This perspective will prove critical in preventing common health problems including allergies, asthma, and obesity. Interactives will explore where the microbes are in the human body and how they interact and affect our bodies, and a live presenter will examine the world of microbes. Gallery 3, third floor


This project is supported by the Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) program of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).


Origami Holiday Tree
November 23, 2015–January 10, 2016

An annual tradition and major tourist attraction, the delightfully decorated Origami Holiday Tree has marked the start of the holiday season at the Museum for decades. The theme of this year’s 13-foot-tree is Mighty and Microscopic Life, with models inspired by the upcoming exhibitions The Secret World Inside You: The Human Microbiome andDinosaurs Among Us, and the current exhibition Life at the Limits: Stories of Amazing Species. Volunteers, including local, national, and international origami artists, begin folding in March to complete around 1,000 creations that will be displayed on the tree. Each year the tree features a different theme relating to the Museum’s special exhibitions or to its collections, which includes more than 33 million artifacts and specimens. Past themes have included Origami Night at the Museum; Wicked, Wild, and Wonderful; The Museum’s Biggest and Best; Fantastic Creatures: Mythic and Real; Origami in Flight; Under the Sea; Flowers for New York; Origami A to Z; and Origami Safari. During the holiday season, volunteers will be on hand to teach visitors of all ages origami, the art of paper folding.


Astronomy Live

The last Tuesday of each month, from December through June, 7 pm

Take a tour of the universe with a live presenter or view the constantly changing night sky in this monthly program series. Learn about what is visible in our nighttime sky with the brilliant stars of the Zeiss Mark IX star projector or travel to the edge of the observable universe with the world’s largest scientifically accurate cosmic atlas, the Digital Universe, assembled at the Hayden Planetarium. Programs vary each month; visit for descriptions.


For a quick journey into space, view the Museum’s Webby-nominated The Known Universe—a short video with more than 14 million views on YouTube. The Known Universe takes viewers from the Himalayas, through our atmosphere, and into the inky black of space to the afterglow of the Big Bang.


Kwanzaa 2015

Sunday, December 27, 2015

This year’s cultural festival of African and African-American heritage marks the Museum’s 37th annual Kwanzaa celebration and features rapper and producer Doug E. Fresh. Attendees can join in the fun and experience the rich traditions of Kwanzaa, honoring the holiday’s seven guiding principles. The day will also include family-friendly activities, exciting performances, and an international marketplace. In addition, special Kwanzaa foods will be available in the Museum Food Court. Milstein Hall of Ocean Life, first floor

Support for Kwanzaa is provided, in part, by the May and Samuel Rudin Foundation, the Sidney, Milton, and Leoma Simon Foundation, the family of Frederick H. Leonhardt, and The Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation.


Gigantic Dinosaur Inspires New Permanent Exhibit

Generations of visitors have flocked to see the renowned blue whale and iconic Tyrannosaurus rex, among other fossil dinosaurs, at the Museum. In January 2016, the Museum will add another must-see exhibit when a cast of a 122-foot-long dinosaur will be installed on the fourth floor. Paleontologists have inferred that this dinosaur, a giant herbivore that belongs to a group known as titanosaurs, weighed in at around 77 tons—as much as 14 or 15 African elephants. The cast will graze the gallery’s approximately 19-foot-high ceilings and is just a bit too long to fit completely into the space. Instead, its neck and head will extend out towards the elevator banks, welcoming visitors to the “dinosaur” floor.


Generous support for this project has been provided by the Susan S. and Kenneth L. Wallach Foundation.


Dinosaurs Among Us (working title)

March 19, 2016–January 2, 2017

Dinosaurs Among Us will examine how one group of  dinosaurs evolved into the fascinating living creatures we call birds. Exploring topics ranging from flight to feathers, nests to wishbones, and brains to lungs, the exhibition will highlight the continuities between living dinosaurs—birds—and their extinct ancestors, showcasing remarkable new evidence for what scientists now call one of the best-documented evolutionary transitions in the history of life.


The exhibition will feature ancient, rarely seen fossils, and life-like models, including a 23-foot-long feathered tyrannosaur (Yutryannus huali) and a small four-winged dromeosaur (Anchiornis huxleyi) with a 22-inch-wingspan and vivid, patterned plumage. Visitors will encounter a tiny dinosaur whose sleeping posture precisely echoes that of a living bird, an extinct-dinosaur nest containing remains of the adult that guarded the hatchlings, and a Velociraptor forearm bearing clear traces of feather attachments. LeFrak Family Gallery, fourth floor


The Museum gratefully acknowledges theRichard and Karen LeFrak Exhibition and Education Fund.


Dinosaurs Among Us is proudly supported by Chase Private Client.


Crocs: Ancient Predators in a Modern World

May 28, 2016–January 2, 2017

This exhibition will explore the complex lives of crocodilians—the group including crocodiles, alligators, caimans, and gharials—their evolutionary history, biology, behavior, and precarious relationships with human societies. Crocs have flourished for more than 200 million years, once including a rich diversity of specialized forms from galloping land predators and jumping insect-eaters to pug-nosed herbivores and dolphin-like pelagic hunters. Today, all modern crocodilians are built for the water’s edge. These stealthy aquatic predators have rugged bodies, keen senses, and incredible strength. They also lead intricate social lives, communicating with a range of pips, grunts, hisses, bellows, and subtle changes in body posture; battling over territories; engaging in lengthy courtship rituals; and providing their young with parental care. Crocs: Ancient Predators in a Modern World will immerse visitors in the world of crocs, with engaging interactives, models, artifacts, and living specimens, including an African dwarf crocodile, Siamese crocodile, and American alligator hatchlings. Gallery 77, first floor


Frontiers Lecture Series

Select Mondays monthly, 7:30 pm

This dynamic lecture series features prominent scientists, authors, and Museum experts. Learn about cutting-edge research and more. Kaufmann Theater, first floor


Coming up this Fall:


Monday, October 19: From Mars to the Stars. Mars may be the only destination beyond the moon to ever see human footprints. Aerospace engineer Louis Friedman will share a provocative vision for the future of space travel. In his latest book, Friedman suggests that while space exploration will continue well into the future, human travel beyond Mars will become an obsolete idea, supplanted by evolving nano and bio-technologies and by an ever-expanding information age.


Support for Hayden Planetarium Programs is provided by the Schaffner Family and the Horace W. Goldsmith Endowment Fund.





The Butterfly Conservatory: Tropical Butterflies Alive in Winter

September 5, 2015–May 30, 2016

This exhibition, an annual favorite, features up to 500 live, free-flying tropical butterflies from the Americas, Africa, and Asia. The butterflies are housed in a vivarium that approximates their natural habitat, includes live flowering plants that serve as nectar sources, and features controlled artificial light, temperature, and humidity. Featured species include iridescent blue morpho butterflies, striking scarlet swallowtails, and large owl butterflies. Text panels located immediately outside the vivarium offer information about the evolution and life cycle of butterflies, including explanations of mimicry, diversity, and butterflies’ important role in conservation. Whitney Hall of Oceanic Birds, second floor


Generous support for The Butterfly Conservatory has been provided by the Eileen P. Bernard Exhibition Fund.


Spiders Alive!

July 4–November 29, 2015

For centuries, spiders have inspired storytellers from Ovid to E. B. White to the creators of Spider-Man. But their actual role in diverse ecosystems around the globe is just as captivating. Spiders Alive! immerses visitors in the fascinating and complex world of spiders. Among the most versatile animals on the planet, these invertebrates inhabit every continent but Antarctica and are able to survive in environments that range from deserts to rain forests to crowded cities. Scientists have identified more than 45,300 species of spiders to date, and there are at least as many more to be discovered.


Among the live spiders visitors will encounter in this exhibition are the goliath bird eater, one of the largest spiders in the world, whose prey includes snakes, mice, and frogs; the venomous western black widow, one of the few North American spiders harmful to people; and species from other arachnid orders, including African whip spiders, whose whip-like feelers, up to 10 inches in length, help the animal find its way. The exhibition also includes larger-than-life models, videos, interactive exhibits, and fossils. Museum staff will be handling live arachnids for visitors to see up close. Gallery 77, first floor


Life at the Limits: Stories of Amazing Species

April 4, 2015–January 3, 2016

Imagine holding your breath for an hour and a half. Enduring temperatures above 300° F and below

-458˚ F. Or seeming to cheat death by repeatedly cloning yourself. Life at the Limits: Stories of Amazing Species explores the diverse and sometimes jaw-dropping strategies animals and plants employ to find food, fend off predators, reproduce, and thrive in habitats most would find inhospitable, even lethal. The exhibition, overseen by Curator Mark Siddall, a parasitologist, and Curator John Sparks, an ichthyologist, introduces visitors to bizarre mating calls, extreme examples of parasitism, and other extraordinary means of survival, using specimens, videos, interactive exhibits, and models, including a climbable Hercules beetle. Live animals on display include the surprisingly powerful mantis shrimp; the highly mobile nautilus; and the axolotl, an entirely aquatic salamander that breathes through external gills. Life at the Limits tells the stories of these and many more creatures across the tree of life—and their unusual approaches to the challenges of living on Earth.

LeFrak Family Gallery, fourth floor


The Museum gratefully acknowledges the Richard and Karen LeFrak Exhibition and Education Fund.


Generous support for Life at the Limits has been provided by the Eileen P. Bernard Exhibition Fund.


Life at the Limits is proudly supported by Chase Private Client.


Countdown to Zero: Defeating Disease

January 13, 2015–January 2, 2017

The challenges of eliminating devastating diseases are enormous, but successful strategies can bring about colossal social and economic benefits. Countdown to Zero, a new exhibition developed in collaboration with The Carter Center, highlights scientific and social innovations that are ridding the world of ancient afflictions. The exhibition focuses on several global efforts that have been able to contain, eliminate, or eradicate disease. Chief among these is the 30-year campaign that may soon eradicate Guinea worm disease, positioning it to become only the second human disease ever eradicated, after smallpox. The exhibition also highlights the ongoing programs to eliminate polio and prospects for more localized elimination of river blindness, lymphatic filariasis, and malaria. Akeley Gallery, second floor


Countdown to Zero is presented by the American Museum of Natural History in collaboration with The Carter Center.


The presentation of Countdown to Zero at the American Museum of Natural History is made possible through the generosity of the Arthur Ross Foundation.



LARGE-FORMAT AND 3D FILMS, Samuel J. and Ethel LeFrak Theater, first floor


Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Secret Ocean

July 6, 2015–January 10, 2016

This 40-minute giant-screen film in 2D and 3D provides a compelling look at a secret world within the oceans. Filmed over three years at locations around the world, including the Bahamas, Fiji, and Bimini, Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Secret Ocean isnarrated by renowned oceanographer Sylvia Earle. The film introduces audiences to more than 30 species, illuminating behaviors captured for the first time thanks to the development of new tools that allow underwater filming in 3D, ultra-HD 5K, slow motion, and macro, and with motion control.


Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Secret Oceanis directed by Jean-Michel Cousteau and produced by Ocean Futures Society and 3D Entertainment Films.





The Museum is open daily, 10 am–5:45 pm. The Museum is closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas.



Museum admission is free to all New York City school and camp groups.

Suggested general admission, which supports the Museum’s scientific and educational endeavors and offers access to the Museum’s 45 halls including the Rose Center for Earth and Space, is $22 (adults) suggested, $17 (students/seniors) suggested, $12.50 (children) suggested. All prices are subject to change.


The Museum offers discounted combination ticket prices that include suggested general admission plus special exhibitions, 2D or 3D giant-screen movie, and Space Shows.


  • Museum Plus One includes one special exhibition, 2D or 3D giant-screen movie, or Space Show: $27 (adults), $22 (students/seniors), $16 (children)


  • Museum Supersaver includes all special exhibitions, 2D or 3D giant-screen movie, and Space Show: $35 (adults), $28 (students/seniors), $22 (children)


Visitors who wish to pay less than the suggested Museum admission and also purchase a ticket to attend a special exhibition, 2D or 3D giant-screen movie, or Space Show may do so on-site at the Museum. To the amount they wish to pay for general admission, they add $25 (adults), $20.50 (students/seniors), or $13.50 (children) for a Space Show, special exhibition, or 2D or 3D giant-screen movie.


Public Information

For additional information, the public may call 212-769-5100 or visit the Museum’s website at



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