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A Morning in the Museum of Natural History

Posted on Jun 11, 2015 by in The OFI Blog |


In the Butterflies + Plants: Partners in Evolution exhibition, scientist Ida Lopez shows an intern how to use Leafsnap, an app that can identify a tree’s species by a photo of one of its leaves.

This past Tuesday 6/9/15, the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) opened its doors early to interns from throughout the Smithsonian for a morning of mingling and exploring the venerable museum. The Morning in the NMNH Exhibitions event included a scavenger hunt, opportunities to hear from expert scientists posted throughout the museum, and a greeting and photo with the Director of the museum, Dr. Kirk Johnson.


The event attendees, interns from across the Smithsonian, pose for a picture with NMNH director Dr. Kirk Johnson.

The interns had the museum to themselves to appreciate its wonders–from the massive whale in the Ocean Hall to the dazzling Hope Diamond–in what felt almost like total solitude.


Scientist Michael Vecchione is stationed in the Sant Ocean Hall to offer his expertise about oceans and the specimens in the Hall.

A highlight of the event was a special tour of the currently-under construction Fossil Hall with Siobhan Starrs, Exhibit Developer behind the overhaul of the iconic hall, once colloquially known as “The Hall of Extinct Monsters.” She explained the extensive time, planning, and expertise that go into redesigning an exhibit at this scale, discussed the evolution of museum culture from the hall’s opening years to today, and led the tour through the nearly empty hall to paint a picture of its future.

Siobhan Starrs stands in the stripped-down Fossil Hall to describe the plans for the new space.