The Power of Poison

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

The Power of Poison explores poison’s paradoxical roles in nature, human health and history, literature, and myth. 

Dramatic dioramas and engaging media presentations introduce poisons, toxins, and venoms, their role in evolutionary strategies, and the role of poison in legends from around the world.

Visitors can wander through an immersive diorama of Colombia’s Chocó Forest, explore some of history’s most puzzling poisoning cases through digital interactives, and hear dramatic stories of poisonings and forensic detection in a theater presentation.



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

"...exquisitely designed" − Gizmodo

"...thoroughly modern" − Fast Company

Exhibition Information


Venue Gallery Size:

7,000 – 8,000 ft2
(650 – 750 m2)


Venue Ceiling Height:

12 ft recommended
(3.6 m)


Conservation & Security Requirements:



Standard Rental Length:

16 weeks


Exhibition Brochure

Cover of the educator's guide to the exhibition The Power of Poison, including images of a snake, passionflower, drops of mercury, and witches at a cauldron

Educator’s Guide