Cool Site: Smithsonian Natural History Museum Virtual Tour
It’s been a while since I’ve done one of my “Cool Site” blog posts, but the Smithsonian virtual tour interactive webpage is one cool site worth mentioning.
When you click on the virtual tour link, you are greeted in the South Rotunda of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History by a very large, life-size and life-like, representation of an elephant. You are able to zoom in on the plaque that reads, “Trunk raised… ears fanned… this elephant is on the alert. Something has caught his attention, and he’s off to investigate. In this Museum, we also investigate the natural world, using our rich collections to unravel the mysteries of nature and culture…”
You can look up and down and all around. Go into room exhibits or explore any of the three floors. Zoom in on displays in a way you would not be able to do standing there in person. Take as much time as you like or visit just when you have a spare minute or two. But I must warn you, that spare minute or two may turn into an hour or two as you lose yourself in the moment. The lighting, the life-like displays, the countless tidbits of fascinating information – you can’t help yourself but get lost in it.
Walk into the Mammal Hall, and after exploring all the mammals on display, some frozen in mid-action, don’t forget to look up at the sea mammals floating above you, seemingly swimming in an invisible ocean of air.
If mammals aren’t your thing, how about minerals? How about the Hope Diamond or Logan Brooch? How about other precious gems and rocks made by Mother Nature herself? These natural mineral formation displays will take your breath away, stunning in every way a beautiful sculpture can be, but no man could create. In this general area, you will also find sections dedicated to mining and mining rescues, as well as Earth and Space.
If dead things fascinate you or you fancy archaeology, then you will love the many areas dedicated to bones and skeletons, as well as mummies and coffins. Also, in this general area, you will find detail-rich exhibits about ancient Egypt, its history, customs, archaeological finds, and excavations.
For those budding entomologists, there is an Insect Zoo, which I skipped on my virtual tour, because I am as far from a budding entomologist as I can be. However, I did enjoy the butterfly exhibit – see, I don’t dislike all insects.
Any professional ornithologist or everyday bird-lover, will be quite pleased with the Birds of D.C. exhibit, displaying such life-like birds you stare at them waiting for them to move. (None did.)
Along with the the many additional exhibits on human origins, fossils, African cultures, the Ice Age, ancient seas, dinosaurs, and ocean hall, you can also explore past exhibits, as well as the gardens, gift shops, cafés, and IMAX theater.
Who knows, the virtual tour may give you and your kids something fun to do on a rainy day, or it might inspire you to take a family vacation to visit the the many museums that comprise the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., or it might inspire something more important… a future archaeologist, entomologist, ornithologist, or an intellectual explorer driven by a love and curiosity for learning.
Martie Hevia (c) All Rights Reserved