Highlights from the American Museum of Natural History

The American Museum of Natural History is one of the world’s preeminent scientific and cultural institutions. Since its founding in 1869, the Museum has advanced its global mission to discover, interpret, and disseminate information about human cultures, the natural world,  and the universe through a wide-ranging program of scientific research, education, and exhibition.

Blue Whale by AMNHAmerican Museum of Natural History

Blue Whale

The Milstein Hall of Ocean Life is home to one of the Museum’s most celebrated displays—a 94-foot-long, 21,000-pound model of a blue whale suspended from the ceiling. It’s the largest animal on Earth. In fact, the blue whale is the biggest animal ever known to have existed.

What Color is a Blue Whale?   Oceanographer and explorer Sylvia Earle tells the story of filming whales underwater, and Museum staff reveal how whale models have been refined through the years as we learned more about these mysterious ocean giants.

Another Milstein Hall of Ocean Life highlight is the Giant Squid and Sperm Whale diorama. It’s deep. It’s dark. And the giant squid and the sperm whale are facing off—in the fight of the century.

Giant Squid & Sperm Whale, AMNH, From the collection of: American Museum of Natural History
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Tyrannosaurus rex by AMNHAmerican Museum of Natural History

Tyrannosaurus rex

Meet one of the most iconic dinosaurs in the world. The Museum's T. rex is a prime example of one of the largest, most powerful carnivores ever to walk the Earth.

You might also recognize the Museum's T. rex in this video: The Real Exhibits Behind the Night at the Museum Movies.

Barosaurus and Allosaurus by AMNHAmerican Museum of Natural History

Barosaurus and Allosaurus

Look up—you've just walked into an ancient battle. In the world's tallest freestanding dinosaur mount, a Barosaurus rears up to defend her young from an Allosaurus.

Museum Separates Iconic Battling Dinosaurs in Rotunda   The Barosaurus and Allosaurus skeletons have shared the same display mount in the Museum's Rotunda since they were first installed in 1991. The separation kicked off with curator Mark Norell overseeing the first ceremonial cut in the mount. By the end of the six-week project, an eight-food-wide pathway had been cut through the dinosaur.

Davis Family Butterfly Vivarium (2024-02-21) by Alvaro Keding/© AMNHAmerican Museum of Natural History

Butterfly Vivarium

Mingle with hundreds of free-flying butterflies! When you step into the Davis Family Butterfly Vivarium, you’re transported to another world with 80 different species of butterfly fluttering amid lush vegetation in tropical temperatures.  

African Elephants (2024-02-21) by Alvaro Keding/© AMNHAmerican Museum of Natural History

African Elephant

One (really, really) big, happy family. Elephants live in herds led by the oldest female. Males drift between herds, but females form tight bonds and help raise each other's young.

Titanosaur (2024-02-21) by © AMNHAmerican Museum of Natural History


New kid on the block. Half a block long. This Titanosaur—a gigantic sauropod dinosaur—is so big that it can't fit in the gallery. The scientific name, Patagotitan mayorum, was announced in August 2017.

Meet the Titanosaur   This video showcases the dinosaur's journey to the Museum.  

Invisible Worlds Interactive Experience (2024-02-21) by Alvaro Keding/© AMNHAmerican Museum of Natural History

Invisible Worlds

Explore how all life on Earth is connected. Invisible Worlds is an immersive experience based on authentic scientific data visualized like never before. At key moments, you'll become part of the story as your movements affect the projections around you. 

Amethyst Geode (2024-02-21) by Denis Finnin/© AMNHAmerican Museum of Natural History

Amethyst Geode

Molten magma cooled around vast gas bubbles. Water seeped in, depositing chemicals that formed crystals, creating this giant geode—and its glittering sibling, right behind it. Discover more dazzling specimens in the Mignone Halls of Gems and Minerals.

Alaska Brown Bear by AMNHAmerican Museum of Natural History

Alaska Brown Bears

Brown bears along the Gulf of Alaska are the largest of their kind, thanks to a steady diet of protein-rich salmon. It took an exceptional team of sculptors and painters to bring this Hall of North American Mammals scene to life in 1941, updated by another talented team in 2012.

Giant Sequoia by AMNHAmerican Museum of Natural History

Giant Sequoia

This tree grew for more than 1,300 years. Felled by a lumber company in 1891, this tree was nicknamed for author Mark Twain. When the tree sprouted around AD 550, the English language didn't even exist!

Scales of the Universe (2024-02-21) by Denis Finnin/© AMNHAmerican Museum of Natural History

Scales of the Universe

The Scales of the Universe in the Rose Center for Earth and Space vividly illustrates the vast range of sizes in the universe, from subatomic particles and objects on the human scale to the largest objects in the observable cosmos. 

Insectarium (2024-02-21) by Alvaro Keding/© AMNHAmerican Museum of Natural History


Insects are more diverse than any other animal group alive today–and maybe also the most important. The Solomon Family Insectarium features an 8,000-pound resin model of a beehive, 18 live insect species, and one of the largest leafcutter ant displays in the world.

Join Museum Curator Jessica Ware and a few friends to discover the wonders of insects you might think you know in the Museum and PBS video series, Insectarium.

From centuries-old specimens to entirely new types of specialized collections like frozen tissues and genomic data, the Museum's scientific collections (with more than 34,000,000 specimens and artifacts) form an irreplaceable record of life on Earth, the span of geologic time, and knowledge about our vast universe. 

Want to go behind the scenes? Shelf Life is a collection for curious minds—opening doors, pulling out drawers, and taking the lids off some of the incredible, rarely-seen items in the American Museum of Natural History. 

To experience even more of the American Museum of Natural History, (AMNH) download the Museum's app, Explorer. Enjoy behind-the-scenes stories about exhibits, captivating interactives, stimulating quizzes and start planning your visit!

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