Lectures and Special Events

Identification Day

May 7, 2016

Identification Day thumbnail

Inspired by the legacy of Theodore Roosevelt, the Museum celebrates natural history collections by inviting visitors to bring in their own specimens to the annual Identification Day. Scientists will attempt to identify your discoveries while showing you some specimens from the Museum's rarely seen collections.   

Take a look at the photo album from Identification Day.

Learn more about Identification Day in the video below:


Participating sciences include: Anthropology, Botany, Earth and Planetary Sciences, Entomology, Herpetology, Ichthyology, Invertebrate Paleontology, Mammalogy, Microscopy, Ornithology, Paleontology.

Read more about last year's Identification Day here.

Take a look at the Museum's Flickr page featuring past Identification Days.

Before you come to Identification Day, here are a few tips that will help scientists identify your specimens:


  • Bring as much information on your specimens as possible. If it belongs to a friend or family member, try to get the information from them.


  • Please only bring plants that you have permission to collect.
  • Plant samples that have flowers or fruits (or both) are much easier to identify than those without.
  • Bring your plant sample in a zip-lock bag (this will keep the plant moist for easier identification and will avoid spreading pests in the Museum).
  • Please try to bring fresh (very recently collected) plant samples.


  • Bring as much information on your specimen as possible, especially its place of origin.

NEW THIS YEAR: Peer inside the world within! 
Bring your objects for 3D micro-CT scanning, revealing their internal 3D structure without having to cut them open.  You will be able to see slice-by-slice pictures, and create virtual 3D models into which you can fly with the touch of the mouse.

Things that are great to scan

Most objects as long as they are:

  • smaller than 70mm and larger than 4 mm in diameter.
  • Weigh less than 3 lbs
  • Stable
  • Have a 3D structure

Things that are difficult to scan

  • Objects made primarily of metal and other dense matter
  • Objects that move or dry out
  • Flat objects (ok for 2D x-rays examinations)
  • Objects in Liquids
  • Objects that are frozen

A Special Note on Animal Specimens

  • With the exception of insects, please do not bring any live or dead specimens. Photos of your snake, bird, or other specimen will suffice for identification.