Collecting the World:
Inside the Smithsonian

While the Smithsonian Natural History Museum has over 144 million objects in its collection, 99% of its treasure remains behind the scenes. Explore the secrets of the natural world through a myriad of drawers, jars, and a host of eager guardians.

With over 144 million objects that represent the biological diversity and geological composition of the Earth, the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History’s collections serve as primary reference materials for exploring and understanding the world around us.

Representing 85% of bird species, 20 million specimens of mollusks, 35 million specimens of insects, and more than half of the 5000 minerals that make up the Earth, the museums archives record past and present life on Earth and allow us to address pressing issues for the future.


Images: NMNH Collections Program Photo Gallery—All photos by Chip Clark

Learn more about the NMNH Collections Program