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Exhibition Highlights

Eastern Rattlesnake Skull listing


About the Exhibition

Explore poison’s roles in nature, myth, and human health—as a defense against predators, a source of strength, or a lethal weapon-turned-lifesaving treatment.

Mark Siddall Headshot Listing

Video, Staff Profile

Meet the Curator

Dr. Mark Siddall studies the evolutionary biology of a wide range of parasites, from single-celled microbes to leeches.

Scorpion Shutterstock 122552734 Listing


Poison in Nature

Poisons are just one tool of many in an organism’s struggle for existence. For the most part, when humans are stung or poisoned, we’ve been caught in the crossfire.

Poison Witches Hand Listing


Poison in Myth and Legend

Once upon a time, people often turned to magic, instead of science, to understand the unexplainable, including many sicknesses and poisonings.

Poison Napoleon Listing Image DAE 10395479-1


Villains and Victims

In centuries past, illness and death could strike suddenly and inexplicably. Was poison to blame? Or some poorly understood disease?

Poison Chilean Rosehair Tarantula Listing


Poison for Good

Used carefully, poisons can be beneficial. Plant toxins and animal venoms have been used in treatments for medical conditions ranging from coughing to cancer.

Major funding has been provided by the

Lila Wallace – Reader’s Digest Endowment Fund.

The Power of Poison

American Museum of Natural History

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New York, NY 10024-5192
Phone: 212-769-5100

Open daily from 10 am-5:45 pm
except on Thanksgiving and Christmas
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