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July 17, 2013

"Stories from Skeletons: Hard Evidence", is now open in the museum's Harvest Foundation Hall of Ancient Life.  The exhibit presents visitors with the evidence that skeletons provide to science, including their vital role for living animals, the differences in skeletons between various living animals, their importance in determining relationships between extinct animals and those living today, as well as the evidence they present in determining diet and social interactions of humans throughout history.

The exhibit includes a variety of skeletons and fossil bones from the museum collections, including 14,000 year old fossilized mastodon teeth reaching 6 inches in length, specimens of aquatic animals, such as dolphins, seals and alligators, and full-size skeletons of more familiar animals, such as a turkey and dog.

"The museum has over 10 million catalogued scientific specimens in its collections and exhibits like this give us the opportunity to bring out a small portion of those collections,” said Dr. Nancy Moncrief, acting director of research and collections and curator of mammology at the museum.  “We’re thrilled that we can display specimens that have never been on public view before and show how important physical specimens are to research and the scientific process."

"Stories from Skeletons” is open at the museum through Summer 2015 and is included with general museum admission.

Other special exhibits currently on display include "Dinosaurs" and "Dinosaur Discovery", which feature full-size dinosaur cast skeletons, dinosaur fossils, interactive elements, and a walkthrough maze.  Also on display is "Nano", an interactive exhibit that engages family audiences in nanoscale science, engineering, and technology.  “Nano” introduces visitors to nano science and the exciting ways that science at an extremely small size can have an immense impact on day-to-day life.

“With the new ‘Skeletons’ exhibit, the museum now has more exhibits on display than ever before,” said Ryan Barber, deputy director of VMNH.  “With changing exhibits, new programs, and family festivals scheduled throughout the year, the museum offers a variety of engaging experiences for VMNH Members and general visitors.”

All special exhibits are included with general museum admission.  For more information about current and upcoming special exhibits at the Virginia Museum of Natural History, visit

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