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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
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Children exploring hands-on exhibit

At a Glance

Volunteer Opportunities

The National Museum of Natural History is one of the largest science classrooms in the world. The Education and Outreach Department through exhibitions, programs and online resources is dedicated to inspiring people of all ages to better understand the natural world and our place in it by instilling a sense of wonder and responsibility.

Our work is built on a foundation of scientific research by its staff of over 150 scientists and curators as well as the national and international community of scientists. There are more than 126 million artifacts and specimens in our collections. Our programs are designed to nurture curiosity, prompting the desire to know more—our museum educators use every medium at our disposal to engage visitors around questions of how we know what we know. This process helps to promote scientific literacy and prepare individuals to accept responsibility for the natural world.

A visit to exhibitions such as the O. Orkin Insect Zoo and the Butterfly Pavilion brings the natural world up close and personal with the opportunity to interact with living creatures. Venues such as Q?rius and Q?rius jr. — a discovery room offer a hands-on approach to learning, using artifacts and specimens from the museum’s collections to make science and scientific processes real. 

We are working to educate and inspire the next generation – as we will all who come after – to respect the natural world, thus fulfilling a mission that, like the Museum, belongs to us all.

Contact Us

For additional information about Education programs and the Education and Outreach Department please contact us at:


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