San Diego Natural History Museum--Your Nature ConnectionSDNHM Exhibits

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Fossil Mysteries Permanent Exhibit

Tim Murray
Director of Exhibits
fax: 619.232.0248

All That Glitters
The Splendor and Science of Gems and Minerals

May 15, 2010–April 8, 2012
Gems seduce us with their sparkle. But did you know that every glittering ruby, sapphire, diamond, and opal has a history as old as the Earth itself? A gem isn’t just a pretty bauble—it’s a rare and wonderful by-product of the tremendous forces that have shaped our planet. Discover how the same Earth processes that build landscapes produce dazzling gemstones and precious metals—even right here in San Diego County, one of the most famous gem-producing regions in the world. The exhibition features a stunning selection of spectacular natural mineral crystals, exquisite jewelry, and works of art.

See how one family enjoyed “All That Glitters” at theNAT... They liked the exhibition so much they created a video!

Click on the player above to take their
visual tour of the Gems and Minerals.

Opened October 26
SKULLS contains close to 200 skulls from theNAT’s research collections of animals from all over the world, from the tiny to the spectacular. Mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians are all on display, showcasing an eye-popping array of horns, beaks, bills, teeth, and more. Have a question about a skull? Use the SKULLS chalkboard to ask museum scientists. Or get creative and draw your own skull.

Fossil Mysteries
Permanent exhibition
From dinosaurs to mastodons, discover the rich fossil history of our region. In this major exhibition, created by the Museum, ponder a mystery, examine the strong fossil evidence from the Museum's collection, and use scientific tools to discover answers. Traveling through a 75-million-year timeline, from the age of dinosaurs to the Ice Ages, experience an unfolding of the prehistory of southern California and Baja California, Mexico.

    Developed by the San Diego Natural History Museum. Major funding provided by the California Cultural and Historic Endowment; National Science Foundation; Stephen and Mary Birch Foundation; an anonymous donor; and generous support from the J. W. Sefton Foundation; the San Diego Foundation: Weingart-Price Fund and Carol and Henry F. Hunte Fund; San Diego County Supervisors Pam Slater-Price, Ron Roberts and Greg Cox; The Legler Benbough Foundation; THE PARKER FOUNDATION: Gerald and Inez Grant Parker; Thomas C. Ackerman Foundation; Charmaine and Maurice Kaplan; Carol and Dennis Wilson; Rice Family Foundation; Samuel and Katherine French Fund; Ellen Browning Scripps Foundation; and Sony Electronics Inc.

Water: A California Story
July 19, 2008–Indefinite
Through photos, maps, video, and hands-on activities, learn about current, local issues on land and in the ocean. Examine the infrastructure of the regional water system, and discover how we import the majority of our water and the costs associated with this practice. Water: A California Story also looks at effects of a changing climate on our region’s water supply and reveals how southern Californians can help protect water for future generations. Natural history specimens and live animals will serve as reminders that the natural environment and its inhabitants are also legitimate users of water resources.

Working on Thin Ice: 25 Years of Research in Antarctica
May 14, 2011–September, 2012
La Jolla-based scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) travel to Antarctica each year to study its vital ecosystem. See striking photographs taken by NOAA researchers of breathtaking landscapes, up-close interactions with Antarctic predators, and scientists at work in this land of extremes. Real Antarctic zooplankton specimens and research gear are also on display.

Exquisite Miniatures of Wes and Rachelle Siegrist
January 21–March 21, 2012
Of the 50 watercolors in Exquisite Miniatures, all but four were created in an area that is 9 square inches or smaller. Wes and Rachelle Siegrist are an American husband-and wife-team who create miniature paintings so expertly crafted that they are often mistaken for tiny photographs. The exhibition consists of landscapes, portraits, still lifes, wildlife, and more.

Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition
February 10–September 9 , 2012
Visitors to the highly anticipated Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition will receive a replica boarding pass granting them permission to “board” the White Star Line’s R.M.S. Titanic, and from there the journey begins. The galleries focus on the legendary Titanic’s compelling human stories as best told through authentic artifacts recovered from the ocean floor and extensive room re-creations. Perfume from a maker who was traveling to New York to sell his samples, china etched with the logo of the elite White Star Line, even pieces of the Ship itself, these and many other authentic objects offer haunting, emotional connections to lives abruptly ended or forever altered.

Best of Nature
January 9–May 13, 2012
The Best of Nature Photography Show, an international juried competition, will be on view in The Ordover Gallery at the San Diego Natural History Museum. Visitors to the Museum will view magnificent nature-based imagery by amateur and professional photographers. The 70 selected photographs will include sublime landscapes, whimsical and dramatic wildlife images, and unusual close-ups of nature’s beauty.

The Horse
June 1, 2012–January 20, 2013
The horse-human relationship started as a prey-predator dynamic. With domestication, humans harnessed horsepower—hence the term—to travel greater distances, expand crop acreage, and be more effective in battle. Horses were bred for specific sizes and qualities that produced everything from tiny ponies to pull ore carts in mines to tall, powerful draft breeds to till the soil and drag lumber from forest to mill. The horse-human bond extended to the equestrian sports with athletic pairs competing together just as they worked together. The bond has been chronicled in literature and portrayed on film. The beauty, strength, and spirit of horses continues to awe each new generation of horse lovers.

 Past Exhibitions

Ends of the Earth: From Polar Bears to Penguins
Among Giants
Aerial Portraits of the American West: Photographs by John Shelton
Inspiration of the Natural World
Color of Water
Lizards & Snakes: Alive!
2010 Best of Nature Photography Show
ART AND THE ANIMAL—50th Anniversary Exhibition of the Society of Animal Artists
Dinosaurs: Ancient Fossils, New Discoveries
William Neill: Intimate Landscapes
Charles Cramer: Lyrical Landscapes
DARWIN: Evolution | Revolution
Wild California
Baja California
Gunther von Hagens’ BODY WORLDS & The Brain–Our Three Pound Gem, The Original Exhibition of Real Human Bodies
2009 Best of Nature Photography Show
The Osa: Where the Ocean Meets the Rainforest
Buddhist Earth: Sacred Places/Sacred Work, Tibet and Other Lands
The Art of Robert Bateman
Water H2O=Life
Cool Globes
Spirits in Stone—Art & Animals of Africa
Enraptured: Works by Mitch Dobrowner
A Day in Pompeii
Contemporary Israeli Photography
Dead Sea Scrolls
Playing with Time
Earth, Wind & WILDFIRE
Dinosaurs: Reel & Robotic
GENOME: The Secret of How Life Works
Backyard Monsters
Wildlife Art
Fossil Hunters San Diego
Natural Treasures: Past and Present
Chocolate: The Exhibition
Feathered Dinosaurs and the Origin of Flight
Plant Portraits: The California Legacy of A.R. Valentien
Spirit of the Mountains: Images by Thomas D. Mangelsen
The Endurance: Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition
Spirits in Stone: The New Face of African Art
Glow: Living Lights
Rare Places in a Rare Light: The Wildlands Photography of Robert Turner
FORE! The Planet
T. REX on Trial
California's Native Grandeur
Animal Eyes
After the Dinosaurs: When Crocodiles Ruled
Monarca: Butterfly Beyond Boundaries
Epidemic! The Natural History of Disease
BEARS: Imagination and Reality
The Dinosaurs of Jurassic Park: The Lost World
Desert and Sea: Visions of Baja California
The Nature of Diamonds
SHARKS! Fact and Fantasy
REPTILES! Real and Robotic
Cats! Wild to Mild