NATtalks, Films, and Workshops

In the state-of-the-art Charmaine and Maurice Kaplan Theater you can enjoy talks, unique film festivals, film premieres, and more. 


The Museum brings experts from around the country to speak on topics including our natural environment, history, world cultures, and art. Topics often coincide with the latest exhibitions at the Museum. Mark your calendars for the third Tuesday of the month and join us for thoughtful, engaging talks on the latest in scientific research.

The 2016-2017 season of NATtalks is made possible with support from media partner KPBS.

Upcoming Events

Parkeology: Lives of Specimens

Friday, April 28, 2017 8 PM

Parkeology, a public art series that explores the hidden stories of Balboa Park, is coming to theNAT. Lives of Specimens, a partnership between the Museum and Parkeology, will culminate in a live storytelling and video installation about animal specimens and their human recordkeepers.

For the past several months, Parkeology has worked with Museum staff to develop video footage and stories about the lives animals lead before they become part of the research collection of 6 million specimens. The April 28 public art performance at theNAT focuses on this research. Three biologists will pin birds, plants, and insects, accompanied by clarinetist Michiko Ogawa. On the rooftop terrace, music from cellist Judith Hamann will serve as a live soundtrack to a six-channel video installation of Museum archives. To conclude, three stories will be told live to the audience from the perspective of the Museum staff who had a relationship to these animals and specimens.

Join us for this public art performance featuring music, art, and stories from the researchers who dedicate their lives to building a biological record of southern California and Baja. Attendance is free and open to the public, but reservations are required. RSVP through Parkeology.


NATtalk: Baja's Wild Side: Shark Research and Conservation Photography in Baja California

Tuesday, May 16, 2017 7 PM

Dr. Daniel Cartamil is a marine biologist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography who has traveled the Pacific coast of Baja California, studying the region's sharks and traditional shark fisheries or more than a decade. In the process, Cartamil discovered a fragile paradise of remote landscapes, wildlife, and cultural treasures, on the verge of being overtaken by modern civilization. Science and art converge as we take a photographic journey through western Baja California—from the shark fishing camps of Bahia Vizcaino, to the high sierra, to ancient cave paintings hidden deep in the desert. This NATtalk will be illustrated with breathtaking photography from Cartamil’s new book, Baja’s Wild Side.

NATtalk ticket holders will have exclusive access to Daniel's photography exhibition Baja's Wild Side, opening on our 4th Floor Gallery, from 5:30 PM to 7 PM, with food and beer/wine available for sale in our cafe in the atrium.

Tickets are $9 for members and $12 for non-members. Doors open at 5:30 PM. 

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NATtalk: The Sting of the Wild

Tuesday, June 20, 2017 7 PM

Entomologist and Ig Nobel Prize-winner Justin O. Schmidt is on a mission. Some say it’s a brave exploration, others shake their heads in disbelief. His goal? To compare the impacts of stinging insects on humans, mainly using himself as the gauge. In The Sting of the Wild, the colorful Dr. Schmidt takes us on a journey inside the lives of stinging insects, seeing the world through their eyes as well as his own. He explains how and why they attack and reveals the powerful punch they can deliver with a small venom gland and a “sting,” the name for the apparatus that delivers the venom. We learn which insects are the worst to encounter and why some are barely worth considering. 

Tickets are $9 for members and $12 for non-members. Doors open at 6 PM. Tickets available soon. 

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