Past Exhibitions

amazing species

Amazing Species: Life at the Limits

Holding your breath for up to two hours. Gulping down a snack 10 times your own weight. Living in crushing depths where there is no sunlight to support life. These may sound like superpowers to humans, but somewhere on this planet, an organism is using one of these extraordinary talents to go about its daily tasks. Life at the Limits: Stories of Amazing Species offered a fascinating glimpse of the breathtaking diversity of the natural world and the power of natural selection to shape exceptional responses to the challenges, and opportunities, of life on Earth.

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Amazing Species: Life at the Limits

Hercules Beetle

Talons of Harpy Eagle

Coral Reef

Tubeworm

brain

Brain: The Inside Story

The human brain—the result of millions of years of evolutionary history—uses molecular, chemical, and electrical signals to interpret information, weigh decisions, and learn at every stage of life. Drawing on 21st-century research and technology, Brain: The Inside Story offered visitors a new perspective and keen insight into their own brains through imaginative art, vivid brain scan imaging, and dynamic interactive exhibits for all ages. The exhibition brings visitors up to date on recent neuroscience, highlighting the brain’s surprising ability to rewire itself in response to experience, disability, or trauma, and showcases technologies that researchers use to study the brain and treat conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

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Brain Lounge

Aging and Brain

How it Works

Bundle of Nerves

Neuron Table

Stacking Game

horse

The Horse

Humans domesticated horses some 6,000 years ago, and over time, we have created more than 200 breeds, from the powerful Clydesdale to the graceful Arabian. As we have shaped horses to suit our needs on battlefields, farms, and elsewhere, these animals have shaped human history. They have also captured our imagination and hearts. Millions of people rely on horses as their spirited, dedicated, much adored companions.

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Horse Armor

Terra Cotta Horse

Ancient Horse Diorama

The Horse

dinosaurs

Dinosaurs: Ancient Fossils, New Discoveries

Imagine the thrill of discovering something brand-new about a creature that lived millions of years ago. Ever since the first dinosaur fossil was identified almost 200 years ago, people have wondered how these fascinating animals lived, moved, and behaved. At first, dinosaur hunters used only such tools as a keen eye, shovels, and compasses. Today, scientists also rely on everything from satellite technology to scanning electron microscopes.

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Sauropod Biomechanics

Robotic T. rex

Liaoning Diorama

Bambiraptor

Trophy Wall

mythic creatures

Mythic Creatures

Mythic Creatures traces the natural and cultural roots of some of the world’s most enduring mythological creatures from Asia, Europe, the Americas and beyond. The exhibition featured “life-size” models of a 17-foot- long dragon with a wingspan of more than 19 feet; a 10- foot-long unicorn; an 11-foot- long Roc with large, sharp talons and a wingspan of nearly 20 feet swooping above visitors’ heads; a kraken, whose 12-foot- long tentacles appeared to rise out of the floor of the exhibition as if surfacing from the sea; plus two actual life-size models—a six-foot- tall, extinct primate called Gigantopithecus; and the largest bird ever to have lived, the more-than- nine-foot- tall, extinct Aepyornis. The exhibition also included replicas of preserved specimens from the American Museum of Natural History and other museums’ collections, as well as cast fossils of prehistoric animals, to investigate how they could have, through misidentification, speculation, fear or imagination, inspired the development of some legendary creatures.

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Dragons, Unicorns & Mermaids

European Dragon

Chinese Dragon

The Kraken

Unicorn

Gigantopethicus

water

Water: H2O=Life

Water is essential to all life. Water plays a key role in shaping the landscape and governing climate. All water on Earth is linked in a vast cycle, from oceans to wetlands, rainwater to groundwater. Earth’s water is finite, but human populations continue to rise. Only careful stewardship—thoughtful, more efficient use of water and protection of its purity—will let us balance competing demands among all species. Water is abundant in some places but scarce in others. Providing the benefits of safe water to water-poor regions will transform the daily lives of billions of people. Natural freshwater and marine systems are fragile—but resilient. Actions we take today can revitalize these most precious of all resources.

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H20=Life

Global Waters

Waterways