Dragons, Unicorns, and Mermaids: Mythic Creatures

A couple looks at a giant model of a purple kraken head and tentacles that appear to be rising out of the floor
Dragons, Unicorns & Mermaids: Mythic Creatures reveals the relationship between science and legend, tracing the origins of mythic creatures and their enduring hold on the imagination.

For thousands of years, humans around the world have brought mythic creatures to life in stories, music, and works of art. Uncover the origins and significance of legendary creatures of the air, land, and water such as sea monsters, mermaids, unicorns, griffins, dragons, and more.


This exhibition combines dramatic models, cast fossils, cultural objects, and absorbing multimedia and interactive technology to tell the stories behind the alluring mythic creatures that continue to fascinate visitors of all ages. 

Key Concepts

  • Mythic Creatures Teach Us About Cultures Around the World
  • Many Mythic Creatures Reflect Attempts to Describe the Natural World
  • Mythic Creatures Are a Medium of Cultural Interaction
  • Mythic Creatures Take Shape Through Human Imagination
  • Cultures Keep Mythic Creatures Alive Through Art and Literature


“A brilliant curatorial idea.”
– The New York Times

“On a scale of one to ten…a mythical ten.”
– The New Yorker

“An intriguing blend of the surreal and the scientific”
– The Globe and Mail (Toronto)

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Dragons, Unicorns & Mermaids: Mythic Creatures is organized by the American Museum of Natural History, New York (amnh.org) in collaboration with The Field Museum, Chicago; Canadian Museum of History, Gatineau; Australian National Maritime Museum, Sydney; and Fernbank Museum of Natural History, Atlanta.