Explore Your Collections and Ours at Identification Day

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An assemblage of items Museum employees are hoping to learn more about at Identification Day. ©AMNH/D.Finnin

An assemblage of items Museum employees are hoping to learn more about at Identification Day.

©AMNH/D.Finnin


Millions of people every year come to the Museum to explore our renowned natural history collections. On Saturday, May 9, though, we want to take a look at your collections during the Museum’s annual Identification Day. Bring your shells, rocks, insects, feathers, bones, and artifacts to be identified by Museum scientists and explore rarely seen objects from the Museum’s collection.

Employees from all around the Museum are preparing to get in on the act. Here are a few mystery objects that they’re hoping to have identified on Saturday. 

©AMNH/D.Finnin

©AMNH/D.Finnin


"These two fossils were dug up during a camping trip through eastern Montana, with the help of a rancher named Marge." - Erin, Video Team

©AMNH/D.Finnin

©AMNH/D.Finnin


"When I was younger, I found these two arrowheads along the ravine in my backyard in Pataskala, Ohio." - Emily, Education Department

©AMNH/D.Finnin

©AMNH/D.Finnin


"My Dad is a geologist and I grew up going fossil hunting with him in upstate New York. When I became an educator and started teaching about fossils at the Museum, I thought it would be fun to go and collect some local fossils to show my students. I found these in Hamilton, New York in the summer of 2014, but I don’t know the names of any of them. I would love to find out so I can share the information with my students." - Ilana, Museum Educator

©AMNH/D.Finnin

©AMNH/D.Finnin


"The lovely purple stone and crystal cluster were passed on to me from an equally lovely roommate during my first years in New York City, and both really reflect her style. My mother gave me the orange rock, and it’s so lightweight that I had a hard time believing it wasn’t made of a strange plastic. She received it from a hitchhiker traveling from the Northeast to Florida. And last summer, I went to Estonia and was lucky enough to stumble across what appears to be a fossil on the island of Hiiumaa." - Rosa, Marketing Team

©AMNH/D.Finnin

©AMNH/D.Finnin


"This axe-head was found in the fields of a farm in Washington, Iowa, in the 1960's." - Joe, Exhibitions Department

©AMNH/D.Finnin

©AMNH/D.Finnin


"I found this vertebra on a beach on the southeast coast of Iceland, near the town of Höfn. I suspect it's from a whale or seal. The family we were staying with had found a few similar ones—and a couple of much bigger examples—washed up over the years. The trilobite was a gift. It was purchased from a street vendor in the Central Anatolia region of Turkey. He claimed it was from Morocco, and I'm curious to know its age." - Anna, Marketing Team

Clockwise from top: Denis’ skull, Sasha’s bone, Lucy’s jaw ©AMNH/D.Finnin

Clockwise from top: Denis’ skull, Sasha’s bone, Lucy’s jaw

©AMNH/D.Finnin


"I saw this skull while riding my bike along the Hudson on my way to work and couldn't just let it sit there! What better place to find out what it is than here!" - Denis, Photo Department 

"I found this bone on the beach in Sarasota, Florida in 2011 or 2012." - Sasha, Exhibitions Department

"I found this piece of a jaw in Connecticut last summer. It's pretty small, so I'm curious to know what it belonged to." - Lucy, Marketing Team

Identification Day takes place on Saturday, May 9 and runs from noon to 5 pm. In addition to getting your object identified and receiving a certificate of identification, you can get a picture taken with your find, check out episodes of the Museum’s new web series Shelf Life and learn about the amazing species featured in Life at the Limits. At 5 pm, you can join Director of Astrovisualization Carter Emmart for a tour through some of the Museum’s digital collections in the Hayden Planetarium

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