We increase knowledge and inspire learning about nature and culture, through outstanding research, collections, exhibitions, and education, in support of a sustainable future.
Understanding the natural world and our place in it.
Science: we use the scientific method to propose and test hypotheses and generate new knowledge.
Intellectual freedom: we recruit and train the best minds and give them independence to pursue important questions.
Excellence: we deliver the highest quality products and services in all endeavors, from research publications to exhibitions and educational programs.
Diversity: we capitalize on the richness inherent in differences.
Integrity: we achieve our goals with the greatest responsibility and accountability.
People: our staff and volunteers are exceptionally experienced and dedicated to our mission.
Collections: we care for the largest natural history collections in the world.
Recognition: we have a long tradition and are widely known throughout the United States and the world as part of the Smithsonian Institution.
Location: our headquarters in Washington, D.C., provides access to national and international partners and audiences and is of symbolic importance to all our constituencies.
Partnerships: we are dedicated to collaboration with other parts of the Smithsonian, government agencies, universities, and museums in the United States and abroad.
For information about the Museum's direction and stategy, see Knowledge for a Sustainable Future: Strategic Plan 2010–2015 (PDF)
What Sets the National Museum of Natural History Apart?
For an overview of the National Museum of Natural History, please download our brochure (PDF)
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