Museum explorers travel to ocean depths, the peaks of the Andes, Africa's Rift Valley, the rainforests of South America, and the deserts of Central Asia. Perhaps even to a field site or research institution in your own state, territory or country. In each area, researchers collect specimens: fossils, minerals, and rocks, plants and animals, tools and artworks. Collections care professionals have meticulously preserved, labeled, cataloged, and organized items of this kind for more than 150 years.
Taken together, the NMNH collections form the largest, most comprehensive natural history collection in the world. By comparing items gathered in different eras and regions, scientists learn how our world has varied across time and space.