The Power of Poison

In a walkthrough diorama of a rainforest, a spider and red plant are magnified 3x larger than life D. Finnin/© AMNH
Explore the biology of poison and its paradoxical roles in nature, legend, history, and human health.

Whether as a defense against predators, a source of magical strength, a lethal weapon, or a lifesaving medical treatment, the story of poison is surprising at every turn.

Exhibition topics include:

  • The science of poisons, toxins, and venoms
  • Coevolution
  • Toxins as medicine
  • Forensic science
  • Stories of poison from legend, literature, and popular culture
  • Historical villains and victims


This popular traveling exhibition features theatrical dioramas, models, objects, interactive modules, optional live animals, and engaging media presentations. 

Wander through an immersive diorama of Colombia’s Chocó Forest, turn the virtual pages of an "enchanted" book to learn about toxic plants, investigate evidence to solve poisoning mysteries at digital interactive stations, and hear dramatic stories of poisonings and forensic detection in a theater presentation.

Key Questions

  • What is poison?
  • Where are poisons found?
  • How do poisons work?
  • What is the history of poisons in society?
  • How do we use poisons for good?



" of the most theatrical exhibitions the museum has mounted."
− The New York Times

"...exquisitely designed." 
− Gizmodo

"...thoroughly modern." 
Fast Company


Request More Information

Contact us to request availability for hosting this traveling exhibition. 

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The Power of Poison is organized by the American Museum of Natural History, New York (