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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
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Museums are defined by their collections. Visitors often identify our Museum by the amazing objects in our exhibitions - the Hope Diamond, Elephant, Stegosaurus, and Giant Squid are just a few. But behind the scenes, the 126 million objects in our collections are the foundation of all our research, exhibitions, and educational programming.

Each object is documented with precise information including where and how the item was collected, and special notes or observations by the collector. This body of knowledge grows as the object is photographed, analyzed, written about, and otherwise researched. Over time the film, photographs, oral histories, DNA data, and other documentation that help put the objects in context become a part of our collections as well. Join us to learn more about some of our favorite and most important specimens.

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