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The hidden worlds within natural history museums - Joshua Drew


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When you think of natural history museums, you might picture exhibits filled with ancient lifeless things, like dinosaurs or meteorites. But behind that educational exterior, there are hidden laboratories where scientific breakthroughs are made. Joshua Drew gives a breakdown of some of the hidden worlds within these museums.

Additional Resources for you to Explore

Can you not wait to visit a natural history museum? What are your options? Try the American Museum of Natural History in New York City or the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History for starters. Take a look and plan your trip or find your local museum of natural history. What exciting things await you? Perhaps a night in your museum, a mummy exhibit or the premiere of a new movie.

How have natural history museums contributed to science? Read this article about museum contributions to conservation biology. Natural History Collections: Why are they Relevant? helps you discover why specimen collections are often guarded and so essential to biologists at all levels. Follow the links in this article to learn more about DDT and bird eggs mentioned in this lesson. Want to learn exactly what a natural curator does? Read this blog: Zygoma: The Adventures of a Natural Science Curator and figure out the Friday mystery objects he presents. Visit the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum and find out the importance of their collections. Scientist Carl Zimmer contributes his opinion about natural history museums in this article: The Awe of Natural History Collections.

Interested in the link between climate change study, natural history museums and Thoreau? This link provides more information on exactly what was studied and how! How was Thoreau a scientist? Read this article and find out. The Concord Museum has an online version of its Early Spring: Henry Thoreau and Climate Change exhibit for you to walk through. Learn about Thoreau’s observations of ice, migratory birds, butterflies and Budburst at Walden Pond. How have Thoreau’s observations contributed to climate change science today?

Oology? Any ideas what it is? It is the branch of ornithology that specializes in studying bird eggs. Why would this ever be important? Read here how egg and skin collections provide long-term ecological study data to scientists.

How do natural history museums contribute to the study of evolution? Visit London’s Natural History Museum site and learn all about evolution and the museum’s collections! Then visit Harvard’s Museum of Natural History and learn about their contributions to evolutionary biology.

Want to help out natural history museums and be a Citizen Scientist? Visit Notes from Nature and help transcribe museum records. Then, visit Zooniverse: Real Science Online and see how you can contribute.

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Meet The Creators

  • Educator Joshua Drew
  • Director Iuri Araujo, Guilherme Araujo
  • Script Editor Alex Rosenthal
  • Narrator Addison Anderson

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