Nature comes in almost endless forms. To understand, study, and appreciate that diversity, the Museum has amassed a collection of nearly 8 million specimens—animals, plants, fossils, shells, insects and spiders, minerals, and gems—over the past 143 years.
A look behind-the-scenes in our storage areas is like a cross-section of the diversity of nature itself. You’ll find everything from tiny beetles to enormous whale bones. Patterns and symmetry in scales and feathers, in the twisting spiral of a gastropod shell, in branching antlers and beautiful corals. The alien weirdness of a whale barnacle or a giant stag beetle.
Due to the sheer size of our collection, we have an abundance of riches, though most of these specimens never see the light of day. This November, a new exhibition will change that. Unshelved: Cool Stuff from Storage will give visitors a rare “backstage” glimpse of the Museum’s storage areas. Specimens arranged on shelves and in cases will offer visitors the opportunity to revel in the natural world in all its beauty and strangeness.
Unshelved will be located on Level 2 next to Coast to Cactus in Southern California. The exhibition is free for members and included with general admission.