S.I.Natural History Museum, Washington D.C.
This museum is mostly entertaining for students and anyone interested in paleontology, evolution of species, geology and formation of rocks. My favorite area was the one devoted to gems and minerals. The museum exhibits a wide range of precious stones and jewelry from across the world, donated to the museum due to their size and worth.
Their most famous one is the Hope Diamond, a 45.52-carat blue diamond, regarded as the largest of its kind. Among the previous owners of this gem, found in India in the early XVII century, are King Louis XIV of France, George IV of England and Henry Philip Hope, for whom the stone is named after. Eventually Pierre Cartier acquired the stone and sold it to Evalyn Walsh McLean, and American lady from Washington DC. At her death, Harry Winston bought the diamond and later donated it to the Smithsonian collection. Now this gem is surrounded by 16 diamonds, and attached to a chain containing 45 more diamonds!
This museum is currently closed for major renovations, until Fall 2008. However, in order to have a glimpse of this museum's collection, since Nov. 2006 there is an exhibition with more than a hundred of representative objects, named Treasures of American History. This exhibition will take place in the Air and Space Museum until April 13, 2008.
These objects cover American history (e.g the hat Abraham Lincoln wore the night of his killing, the first bulb of Thomas Alva Edison, or the first phone of Alexander Graham Bell) and culture. This includes movies (e.g. Wizard of Oz's scarecrew and Dorothy's red shoes), sports (Muhammed Ali's gloves, Babe Ruth autographed ball), television (e.g. Sarah Jessica Parker's computer in Sex and the City, or Archie Bunker's sofa), movies (e.g. Return of the Jedi's C3P0 and R2D2) politics (e.g. hats from political campaigns) and icons (e.g. Jackie Kennedy's outfit for her first appearance as First Lady).
You can get more information of the exhibition in http://americanhistory.si.edu/treasures
If you go after April... sorry, seems you'll have to wait until the museum reopens :(
The Department of Paleobiology has many interesting exhibits for just about everyone. I especially enjoy the dinosaur bones on display and all the available information one can learn about them and other facts on paleobiology.
The collections can be seen on the ground floor of the museum.
Visitors crowd to see this legendary stone on display at the Gemology department and it isn't surprising to see why. This beautiful deep blue diamond weighing 45.52 carat and surrounded by white diamonds is said to carry a curse on anyone who possesses it.
I must say that I am very impressed with the National Museum of Natural History here at the Smithsonian Institute and is by far the best I've ever been to. On a plus point, all museums in the Smithsonian Institute are free to enter, thanks to its founder.
There are millions of items on display categorized under the following departments:
* Invertebrate Zoology
* Mineral Sciences
* Vertebrate Zoology
Opening hours are from 10:00 AM to 5:30 PM.
the museum of natural history is a huge museum with both collections of living creatures and prehistoric fossils. some of the must see attractions of the museum is the dinosaur hall, the orkin insect zoo, hall of mammals, and of course the hope diamond. at 45.52 carats the hope diamond is the largest blue diamond in the world. this diamond once belonged to king louis XVI of france. you can easily spend a whole day taking in the exhibits of this interesting museum.
The most thing I like here was the collection of semi-precious stones. I found many rare stones and they were so beauty and colorful. It was hard to believe that nature has created such beautiful things like this. I was wearing Amethyst on that day and I didn’t forget to take a picture with an original one.
In the same building, I saw many weird bugs and insects. Of course, they were real! An insect named “Leaf Insect” (Phyllium Bioculatum) was quite interesting. It took me for a while to find out where it was. Its wings were very similar to the leaf it lay on.
Few museums can match this one in its breadth and scope. Far from being merely a jingoistic celebration of America, it traces all the major streams of the country's historical and cultural development with wings devoted to agricultural advances, maritime and shipbuilding history, road and rail transport as well as electricity. A large section is also dedicated to the fundamental changes that took place during the American Industrial Revolution between 1790 and 1860. All this is in the East Wing of the ground floor. The West Wing of the ground floor is devoted to Science in American Life. This is an exhaustive look at American scientific history from 1876 to the present. Topics such as DNA and the Information Age are covered with care and include many hands-on exhibits specifically aimed at childre
On the second floor, you'll find, among other things, the original Star Spangled Banner from Fort McHenry, the flag which inspired Francis Scott Key to write the poem that eventually became the American national Anthem. You'll also see mock-ups of White House rooms decorated as they were in the early 20th century as well as ball gowns of most American First Ladies.
The third floor is given over to printing, the graphic arts, coins, ceramics, musical instruments, and military memorabilia. There's also the first American gunboat, once captained by Benedict Arnold, as well as a moving exhibition focusing on the internment of ethnic Japanese during World War II entitled, "Toward a More Perfect Union." It shines a rather harsh light on an unfortunate period in our history, one from which much has been learned since those dark days.
It got Closed in september 2006 for renovation but is now open.
I didn't spend as much time as I would have liked in the Natural History Museum. I was between meetings and just wanted to wander, watch and get my mind on something different.
Some of the exhibits are outstanding and others just so so. Unless your kids are major science buffs, I wouldn't make a day out of the museum. There's too much else to do.
I loved the Easter Island statue below. One of these days I really need to see them on the island itself.
The National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) is part of the Smithsonian Institution, the world’s preeminent museum and research complex. The Museum is dedicated to inspiring curiosity, discovery, and learning about the natural world through its unparalleled research, collections, exhibitions, and education outreach programs. Opened in 1910, the green-domed museum on the National Mall was among the first Smithsonian building constructed exclusively to house the national collections and research facilities. From the history and cultures of Africa with the earliest Mammalian ancestors and primate diversity around the world, from dinosaurs to rare gemstone, The main building on the National Mall contains 1.5 million square feet of space overall and 325,000 square feet of exhibition and public space; altogether the Museum is the size of 18 football fields, and houses over 1000 employees. With a growing network of interactive websites, the Museum is transforming itself into a hub for national and international electronic education, accessible to anyone with access to the internet. In the center of the Museum’s exhibition and research programs are its expertly documented collections: more than 125 million natural science specimens and cultural artifacts.
The Second Floor of the National Museum of Natural History hosts one of its most popular and most crowded exhibits- the Hope Diamond. This is a small room where hundreds of people gather at once to gawk at and take photos of a small piece of carbon (seriously). This 45.52 carat diamond is supposedly cursed; it was mined in India and eventually found its way into the jewelry collection of Marie Antoinette and then traveled to Britain and finally America; it was acquired by the Smithsonian and now sits in a small glass bulletproof chamber. The exhibit around the diamond describes the formation of diamonds and various other things.
This is one of the grandest, most fascinating museums of natural history in the world. It covers the evolution of life, geology, and much more. It also has an IMAX movie theater. If you see one museum on the Mall, it's a virtual toss-up between this and the Air and Space Museum.
One of the most famous, and visited, attractions is the storied Hope Diamond. This rare blue diamond is mounted on a rotating turntable, so that all can see it. Everyone hopes to get a good look, so don't spend too long enjoying it.
Attention jazz lovers! Friday night, from 6:00 to 10:00 pm, the museum has live jazz. There is a $10.00 charge, and it's worth it.
When one thinks of the Museum of Natural History, dinosaur skeletons are the first thing to come to mind. That delights the kids, but there are also plantlife, geological, and other animal life exhibits. This and the Air and Space Museum are probably the most popular Smithsonian museums visited by school groups. I remember coming up here after my 8th birthday and they had a life-sized likeness of a Triceratops, a three-horned, quadriped herbivore in the Cretaceous period. It was so big that most of a school group could ride on its back and that was a medium-sized dinosaur.
This museum tops all Natural History Museums that I have been to so far. They have vast exhibits of gems, fossils, and even insects. This museum is widely known for its housing of the Hope Diamond. They are open almost everyday from 9-5:30, and if you plan on eating at one of the museums I personally recommend this one.
In National Air and Space Museum I've seen original Apollo 11 command module Columbia. It was hang under the museum ceiling and I was a bit surprised that it was so small with the intrior as roomy as of average car, I guess. The truncated cone (5,900 kg) measuring only 10 feet 7 inches (3.2 m) tall and having a diameter of 12 feet 10 inches (3.9 m) across the base brought the crew of the first manned lunar landing mission back home.
Apollo 11 spacecraft consisted of the five main parts (from the top):
- launch escape system
- command module Columbia (the only part which came back to the Earth)
- service module
- lunar module Eagle (part of this module left on the Moon)
- lunar module adapter.
They all together were carried from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to the earth's orbit by Saturn V popularly known as the Moon Rocket - a multistage liquid-fuel expendable rocket - on July 16, 1969. Of the three astronauts: Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins the last one served as a command module pilot orbiting the Moon while the first two performed the first manned landing on the lunar surface.
The lunar module with Amstrong and Aldrin landed on the Moon at 9.17 pm my time on July 20. At 3.56 am on July 21, Armstrong made his descent to the Moon surface and took his famous "one giant leap for mankind." Soon later Aldrin joined him. My parents watched it (at 3.56 am!) on Polish TV which surprisingly showed it!
I've also seen various other spacecrafts including Mercury 2 in which astronaut John H. Glenn Jr. became the first American to orbit the Earth on February 20, 1962.