Behind the Scenes at the Museum

Take a peek at the Museum's collections, exhibitions, and some of the everyday—and extraordinary—things that happen behind the scenes.

Museum giant squid

The Museum's Giant Squid

The Museum has one of the few specimens of Architeuthis kirkii housed in a museum in North America, says Curator Neil H. Landman, who studies fossil and living invertebrates in the Division of Paleontology.

Lysandra cormion

Nabokov's Type

Author Vladimir Nabokov was devoted to lepidopterology, the study of moths and butterflies. 

Boy Uses a Microscope

From the Archives: Exploring

A boy uses a microscope in the Museum's Natural Science Center for Young People in 1969.

RGGS Wet Lab

Graduate Study at the Museum

Home to the Richard Gilder Graduate School, the Museum is the first museum in the Western Hemisphere to grant the Ph.D. degree.

Whale from Northwest Coast collection

Inside the Collections: Artifacts from the Pacific Northwest Coast

While highlights from the Museum's collection of artifacts from the Pacific Northwest Coast are on display in the Hall of Northwest Coast Indians, more than 13,000 objects are kept in storage in the Division of Anthropology.

T Rex Cleaning v2

A T. Rex Teeth Cleaning

Using a lift in the Hall of Saurischian Dinosaurs, a staff member reaches into the iconic dinosaur's jaw.

Installing Sauropod Tracks

From the Archives: Dinosaur Tracks

Museum staff install sauropod dinosaur tracks from Texas in what was then the Jurassic Dinosaur Hall in 1952.

C of L Jellyfish Model

Crafting Jellyfish

Models of the crystal jelly, shown at 10 times life size, were crafted in the Exhibition Studio for Creatures of Light

Artist Paints Mountain Lion Group Background

From the Archives: Grand Canyon

Artist Charles Chapman painted the background for the mountain lion diorama in the Hall of North American Mammals, which features the Grand Canyon, in 1941.

Dinoflaggelate

Dinoflagellate

These microscopic marine organisms have puzzled scientists for centuries. 

Bison and Pronghorn Archival

From the Archives: Bison Diorama

A Museum staff member prepares a model diorama for one of the iconic scenes in the Hall of North American Mammals in 1939.

Ammonites

Ammonite Collection

Ammonites are an extinct type of shelled mollusk that’s closely related to modern-day nautiluses and squids.

NAM Video Series Salmon Thumb

Repainting Salmon in the Brown Bear Diorama

This iconic diorama in the Bernard Family Hall of North American Mammals features a rare non-mammalian star: the salmon, caught by an otter and poached by two hungry bears.

CofL Ponyfish Model

Ponyfish Model

A Museum artist works on a model of a male golden ponyfish for the exhibition Creatures of Light

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Inside the Ichthyology Collection

The Museum's Ichthyology Collection includes approximately 2 million specimens.

From the Archives: Mastodon

From the Archives: Mastodon

Museum staff move a skeleton of a mastodon, a species that disappeared 10,000 years ago as part of a mass extinction of large mammals in North America.