Special Exhibits

Farmers, Builders, Warriors:  The Hidden Lives of Ants

Small yet abundant, with complex and wildly diverse lifestyles, ants are everywhere, living lives mostly hidden from our view. What if we could see into their world . . . on their level? What would we learn? What parallels could we draw between them and us. Now, with the aid of a macro lens and the insights of ant expert and photographer Dr. Mark Moffett, SITES and the Smithsonian ’s National Museum of Natural History present the world of ants.

Moffett’s stunning macro photographs tell incredible stories about the lives of ants—hunting, communicating, dealing with disease and agriculture—and chronicle the work of entomologists in the field. This science-based exhibit includes a live ant colony and hands-on models that will awe both adults and children.

This exhibit is made possible by the support of VMNH corporate partners, Bassett Furniture and the Marjorie Sutton Memorial Fund.

Bassett Marjoirie Sutton Memorial Fund

Stories from Skeletons

Now Open!

Skeletons serve several important functions. They protect vital organs such as the brain and heart, provide structural support for the body, and interact with muscles to move the whole body or parts of the body.  Skeletons are often bones and shells. They can be outside the body (exoskeletons), such as those of mollusks, or they can be inside the body (endoskeletons), such as our own.  Features of bones and shells, such as shape and size, provide hard evidence of relationships among animals that are alive today. Fossil skeletons are also the main evidence of extinct animals and their relationships.  In studies of Native Americans, skeletons are hard evidence of human diet and social interactions. They are also evidence of raw materials that were used in making tools and decorative objects.

This exhibit is made possible by the support of VMNH corporate partner, River Community Bank, N.A.


Now Open!

Nano is an interactive exhibition that engages family audiences in nanoscale science, engineering, and technology. Hands-on exhibits present the basics of nanoscience and engineering, introduce some real world applications, and explore the societal and ethical implications of this new technology. Nano was created by the Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network (NISE Network) with support from the National Science Foundation.

Nano Exhibit ImageIt focuses on the basics of nanoscience, real world applications of nano, and the societal and ethical implications of this new technology.world applications, and explore the societal and ethical implications of this new technology.

The Nano exhibit will be on display in the museum's Suzanne M. Lacy Education Center and was developed with funding from the National Science Foundation.

Quick facts about the science of nano:
  • Nanometer-sized things are very small, and often behave differently than larger things do.
  • Scientists and engineers have formed the interdisciplinary field of nanotechnology by investigating properties and manipulating matter at the nanoscale.
  • Nanoscience, nanotechnology, and nanoengineering lead to new knowledge and innovations that weren't possible before.
  • Nanotechnologies have costs, risks, and benefits that affect our lives in ways we cannot always predict.
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