The National Museum of Natural History is a natural history museum administered by the Smithsonian Institution, located on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., United States. It has free admission and is open 364 days a year. In 2016, with 7.1 million visitors, it was the eleventh most visited museum in the world and the most visited natural history museum in the world. Opened in 1910, the museum on the National Mall was one of the first Smithsonian buildings constructed exclusively to hold the national collections and research facilities. The main building has an overall area of 1.5 million square feet (140,000 m2) with 325,000 square feet (30,200 m2) of the exhibition and public space and houses over 1,000 employees.
The museum’s collections contain over 145 million specimens of plants, animals, fossils, minerals, rocks, meteorites, human remains, and human cultural artifacts, the largest natural history collection in the world. It is also home to about 185 professional natural history scientists—the largest group of scientists dedicated to studying natural and cultural history in the world.
Research and Collections
The NMNH represents 90% of the Smithsonian Institution’s collections and forms one of the world’s largest, most comprehensive natural history collections. The Smithsonian gives an approximate number of artifacts and specimens of 146 million. More specifically, the collections include 30 million insects, 4.5 million plants preserved in the Museum’s herbarium, and 7 million fish stored in liquid-filled jars. The National Collection of Amphibians and Reptiles has more than tripled from 190,000 specimen records in 1970 to over 580,000 specimen records in 2020. Of the 2 million cultural artifacts, 400,000 are photographs housed in the National Anthropological Archives. The museum’s collections can be accessed through off-site active loan and exchange programs. As a result, 3.5 million specimens are out on loan every year. The rest of the collections not on display are stored in the non-public research areas of the museum and at the Museum Support Center, located in Suitland, Maryland. Other facilities include a marine science center in Ft. Pierce, Florida, and field stations in Belize, Alaska, and Kenya. EZ DC Junk Removal
Hall of Geology, Gems, and Minerals
The National Gem and Mineral Collection are one of the world’s most significant collections. The collection includes some of the most famous pieces of gems and minerals, including the Hope Diamond and the Star of Asia Sapphire, one of the largest sapphires in the world. There are currently over 15,000 individual gems in the collection, 350,000 minerals, and 300,000 samples of rock and ore specimens. Additionally, the Smithsonian’s National Gem and Mineral Collection house approximately 45,000 meteorite specimens, including examples of every known type of meteorite. It is considered one of the world’s most comprehensive collections of its kind.
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