Skip to main content.

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
{search_item}
Losing Paradise exhibit illustration by Kim Silene

Schedule a guided, inquiry-centered program to enhance your students’ field trip experience. These programs offer hands-on access to objects from the museum’s collection with a guided, inquiry-centered program. Programs expand themes from the Museum’s exhibitions and engage students in the kinds of research activities that Museum scientists conduct every day.

Hands-on programs take place in the exhibit halls and in Museum labs and classrooms. Many programs require advance reservations. Please see the details for each program for further information about reservations.

On the mall

Butterfly Pavilion

Butterfly Pavilion

Location: Second Floor, Tickets Required

Partners in Evolution—a free-admission exploration into how insects and other animals have co-evolved with plants. The Butterfly Pavilion—a fee-based, live butterfly experience.

Discover Stations

Discover Stations

Location: Around the Museum

Discover Stations are mobile carts positioned in selected exhibits, where groups of eight to twelve students come face-to-face with object-based, problem-solving opportunities and experiences.

Discovery Room

Discovery Room

Location: Second Floor

In the Discovery Room, students interact with each other, Museum staff and volunteers around objects from the Museum’s collections to hone their scientific inquiry skills. Programs are developed from exhibition themes and emphasize comparing and contrasting objects, closely examining specimens such as fossils, skulls, and shells, and using evidence to draw conclusions. Families can enjoy the room during open hours.

Forensic Lab

Forensic Lab

Location: Second Floor, Written in Bone Exhibition

In the Lab, students will learn that forensic science is far more mysterious and engaging than forensic fiction. They will use real human bones to identify and describe the gender and status of people from the past and draw conclusions about their lives. The focus of the Lab programs is to help students to use the tools and problem solving skills of forensic anthropology to collect and analyze data the way that forensic anthropologists do.

Johnson Imax Theater

Johnson IMAX Theater

Location: First Floor, Tickets Required

An immersive 3D experience in the Johnson IMAX Theater will excite your students about new scientific research. During school visit hours, the theater shows curriculum-relevant films connected to the Museum’s collections and exhibitions and reviewed by Museum scientists and educators.

Insect Zoo

O. Orkin Insect Zoo

Location: Second Floor

O. Orkin Insect Zoo is a special exhibit hall on the 2nd Floor of the Museum where visitors can observe live insects and their many-legged relatives. Volunteers conduct tarantula feeding demonstrations, work with live insects that visitors may touch and hold, and answer questions about the many-legged creatures that live in the O. Orkin Insect Zoo.

IN your community

Naturalist Center

Naturalist Center

Closed as of July 9, 2011

The Smithsonian's Naturalist Center will return to the National Mall in winter 2012 as part of a new educational facility at the National Museum of Natural History.

[ TOP ]