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Bei Bei and Mei Xiang 2016-11-15 by kuromimi64

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Natural history museums are truly awesome and astonishing places, but did you know that they’re home to even more specimens than what they have out on display? The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) in Washington, D.C. maintains a vast collection of specimens that’s over 90% larger than what’s on public display.

“These collections serve as primary reference materials for exploring and understanding the solid Earth and planet, biological and cultural diversity, evolutionary relationships, biological conservation, and global change. They help us to interpret our biological origins, our cultural heritage, and what the future may hold.”

Messy Nessy recently shared a fascinating series of photos of some of the Smithsonian NMNH’s backstage collections, enormous rooms full of seemingly endless drawers, shelves, racks, and cabinets all full of carefully cataloged and organized specimens from many different branches of natural history. The photos were all taken by the late Chip Clark, photographer for the Smithsonian Institution.

Head over to Messy Nessy to view more.

[via Messy Nessy Chic]

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When Scientists Get Accidentally Artsy

A new exhibit at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History lies right at the intersection of art and science, showcasing the inherent beauty of skeletons — that is, fish skeletons.

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1800s Week!

Sailors and Daughters: Early Photography and the Indian Ocean

A reader dropped a mention of this online exhibit in my inbox for 1800s Week, and I can’t tell you how blown away I was by the incredible beauty of these photographs. There are many, many gorgeous images to see and a lot of important historical information at the website here!!

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Wonder (by Gabriel Dawe)

At Renwick Gallery, part of the Smithsonian American Art Museum you can find this wonderful exhibition by Gabriel Dawe from now until July 2016, where thousands of strands of polyester sewing thread have been individually strung from floor to ceiling to create a monumental spectrum of color, often mistaken for fleeting rays of light.