Museum open Wed–Mon, Sea Center open daily; both 10:00 AM–5:00 PM

Past Exhibitions

Voyages of Discovery: Natural History Exploration

Ended March 10

During the Age of Sail, Europe’s most influential science museums built their collections with specimens from around the world. In this captivating exhibit, view rare original illustrations from the published reports of early expeditions. More about Voyages of Discovery

A Parliament of Owls
300 Years of Owl Illustration

Ended February 5, 2023

A group of owls is called a “parliament.” A captivating display of original antique prints traces the history of illustration of the owl family in the new Maximus Gallery exhibit. More about A Parliament of Owls

19th-Century Lithographs of Exotic Hummingbirds

Ended September 5, 2022

Experience a beautiful new exhibit about the exotic hummingbird family in the Museum’s Maximus Gallery. Featured are original nineteenth-century hand-colored lithographs by British ornithologist John Gould. More about Hummingbirds

What's in Our Drawers:
Art and Objects from the Museum's Collection

Ended April 3, 2022

This special exhibit offers a rare chance to see behind-the-scenes from the perspective of our curatorial staff working in anthropology, zoology, and other disciplines. Treasures from our permanent collections are showcased with specially selected objects and artifacts as well as antique natural history prints. More about What's in Our Drawers

A Medicine to the Mind:
Early Gardening Catalogs

Ended September 6, 2021

A garden’s cyclical replenishment can lift our spirits and assure us of nature’s regeneration. The subjects of this exhibit—early gardening catalogs—are windows into our horticultural past. Their study unites a variety of disciplines: botany, social and economic history, garden and art history. More about A Medicine to the Mind

Beneath a Wild Sky:
Stories of America's Lost Birds

Ended May 2, 2021

An exhibit about the diversity and abundance of wildlife in North America in the early 19th century as witnessed by artists and ornithologists, paired with their own prophetic warnings about wilderness loss during their time. Images of now-extinct birds illustrated by Mark Catesby, Alexander Wilson, and John James Audubon are on display. More about Beneath a Wild Sky

Kachō-e: Impressions of Natural History in Japanese Prints

Ended January 5, 2020

Kachō-e features Japanese illustrated books by artists like Hokusai (who created the iconic Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji and The Great Wave off Kanagawa), a carefully arranged selection of chrysanthemum prints, and a whole menagerie of spirited animals that seem prepared to leap, swim, fly, and slither off the page. More about Kachō-e

Strange Science

Ended September 2, 2020

Colorful engravings of snakes, lizards, frogs, shells, insects, birds and plants will line the gallery walls this summer when we feature original prints based on a famous 18th-century cabinet of curiosities. More about Strange Science

Great Naturalists

Ended May 5, 2020

The exhibit profiles the lives of great naturalists who collected, described, and classified living things through their own observations and discoveries in nature. These naturalists were important figures in the early years of natural history as it changed from a mainly amateur pursuit in the 1600s to today’s specialized scientific profession. More about Great Naturalists