Thursday, March 18, 2010

100th Birthday of the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History

A regular stomping ground of DC kids, the Smithsonian's Museum of Natural History celebrates its 100th birthday this week (that's a lot of candles to blow out)!

The venerable institution marks this milestone with the opening of a new, interactive exhibit on the beginning of mankind, the David H. Koch Hall of Human Origins. This exhibit opened yesterday, March 17th, but there's still time to catch its special preview viewing today, March 18th, from 12-3pm. This exhibition traces the scientific evidence of humans over the last 6 million years and includes video, podcasts, a family tree of mankind, a "Time Tunnel", reconstructions and more. Very, very cool for kids of all ages - no endless walls to follow.

Some fun facts about the Museum of Natural History:
  • It's two city blocks long - nearly 4 acres!
  • When it was built in 1910, only the U.S. Capitol Dome was bigger
  • 1600 people visited on the first day it opened; since then, 290,000,000 people have been to the Natural History Museum
  • The Museum closed for about a year during World War 1 to house government clerks working on the war effort
  • More fun facts here
This museum also houses the Hope Diamond, the giant squid, the Megalodon jaws, and the Butterfly Pavillion (reservations strongly recommended for this, and a $2.00 fee applies for this exhibit - HINT: if you go on Tuesdays, it's free!).

The special public preview hours for the Human Origins Hall continue tomorrow, March 18, from 12:00 pm - 3:00 pm, and the exhibition opens for regular museum hours starting March 19.

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