The Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) curates the largest, most comprehensive natural history collection in the world. There are now over 126 million specimens in the ever-growing NMNH collections, ranging from DNA samples to whale skulls, African baskets to Chinese shoes, algae samples to petrified logs, tiny crustaceans to giant squid, Moon rocks to the Hope diamond, and Tyrannosaurus rex bones to the oldest fossils from the Burgess Shale.
The Museum has scientists working in the fields of anthropology, botany, entomology, invertebrate zoology, mineral sciences, paleobiology, and vertebrate zoology—birds, fishes, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians. Research programs include field studies in over 122 countries worldwide. By comparing items gathered in different eras and regions, scientists learn how our world has varied across time and space.The Natural History Museum has become an international center for research in several fields, including taxonomy, mineralogy, petrology, physical anthropology, and North American ethnology.