National Museum of Natural History

Evolution of Whales Animation

Whales have existed for million of years. Watch this animation, from the Sant Ocean Hall , to see how they evolved from land-dwellers to the animals we know today. Discover more about whale evolution...
Phoenix the right whale diving in North Atlantic.

A Tale of a Right Whale

Suspended at the center of the Sant Ocean Hall is a life-size model of a North Atlantic right whale named Phoenix. The result of four years of work, and collaboration between exhibit fabricators, whale...
Japanese scientists videotaped this female giant squid, alive, at the water's surface

Giant Squid

Giant squid live up to their name: the largest giant squid ever recorded by scientists was almost 43 feet (13 meters) long, and may have weighed nearly a ton. You’d think such a huge...

Quest for the Giant Squid

Watch a Discovery video on Smithsonian squid expert Clyde Roper’s search for giant squid in Kaikoura Canyon off the coast of New Zealand. More about giant squid can be found in our Giant Squid...

Smithsonian Ocean: Our Water, Our World

With striking imagery from her book Smithsonian Ocean: Our Water, Our World, Deborah Cramer makes a powerful case for a basic truth about the ocean: we need the sea, and now the sea needs...
Gulf Coast of Florida tidal flats exposed by an early morning low tide.

Changing Tides: A Series of Ocean Discussions

The ocean is essential to all life, but experts agree that there are changes affecting the ocean and how it functions. With this in mind, Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and the Centers...

Find Your Blue at the Smithsonian Ocean Portal

Calling all ocean lovers: What’s Your Blue? Have you found it? More than ever, the fate of the ocean is in our hands. To be good stewards and leave a thriving ocean for future...
An illustration of a giant squid (Architeuthis dux)

Giant Squid: One Species at a Time

How do you get two dead giant squid the size of a school bus from a fishing boat in Spain to Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.? Call in the U.S...

Clyde Roper: Squid Hunter - Eyeball to Eyeball

Dr. Clyde Roper, squid expert, explains how he developed a passionate interest in the giant squid ( Architeuthis dux) in this excerpt of "Eyeball to Eyeball," an episode of Errol Morris' First Person television...

Clyde Roper: Squid Hunter - Architeuthis

Dr. Clyde Roper recounts the tale of his encounter with a giant squid specimen ( Architeuthis dux) that was found washed up on a Massachusetts beach in this excerpt from "Eyeball to Eyeball," an...
The "Lower Invertebrates" exhibit in Smithsonian Institution Building in 1901 included models of a giant squid and an octopus.

Still Blue After a Century of Ocean Science and Exploration

The "Lower Invertebrates" exhibit in Smithsonian Institution Building in 1901 included models of a giant squid and an octopus. Credit: Smithsonian Archives This year marks 100 years since the National Museum of Natural History...
The People's Reef--Part of the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef

The Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef

The Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef , created by Margaret and Christine Wertheim of the Institute For Figuring , weaves together strands of art, science, mathematics, and conservation. This beautiful installation has traveled around the...
A piece of the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef exhibit.

When Art Meets Science: The Hyberbolic Crochet Coral Reef

The stunning Smithsonian Community Reef—an accompaniment to the main Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef exhibit created by local crafters. Credit: Rebecca Bray/Smithsonian Institution The “Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef,” a unique exhibition and thought-provoking fusion of...

Underwater Robots Explore the Ocean

A Rutgers freshman Engineering student prepares the Scarlet Knight’s internal electronics for sea trials. Undergraduates worked on the project through the Coastal Ocean Observation Lab—known to students as the COOL room. Credit: Provided by...
Hammerhead Shark, Cocos Island, Costa Rica

Ocean Views from Nature's Best Photos

The winners of the 2010 Nature's Best Photography Ocean Views Contest are a stunning sample of marine wildlife and ocean vistas from around the globe. The 2011 contest is open to photographers of all...

Smithsonian Collections on Google Earth

This video tour gives you a glimpse of how to explore Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History collections using Google Earth. To take your own tour, download Google Earth and dive down to...
Students of the Alaska SeaLife Center delegation.

Teens Take Action on the Ocean & Climate

What can students do to help the ocean? It turns out, a lot! These students from across the United States and Mexico are developing action plans on ocean and climate-related issues in their local...

Climate Change and the Chesapeake Bay

Students are working with the National Aquarium in Baltimore, Md., to develop an informal education plan that will communicate information about Chesapeake Bay marsh restoration and explain the effects of climate change and sea-level...