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. 

Inviting visitors to wander through a walk-through diorama of Colombia’s Chocó Forest, the exhibition introduces poisons, toxins, and venoms and their role in evolutionary strategies. Visitors
 will also explore some of history’s most puzzling poisoning cases through digital interactives and a theater where live presenters share dramatic stories of poisonings and forensic detection.

Immersive dioramas and media presentations portray the role of poison in fairy tales and legends from around the world. The exhibition will also examine how poison is used for good, leading to treatments for a myriad of medical conditions.



" 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