Can’t get to New York to visit the American Museum of Natural History? No problem! We invite you to take a virtual trip behind the scenes. In this the first episode of Shelf Life from AMNH, you can walk in the shoes of a research scientist and explore the enormous collection of specimens, many of which aren’t on public display.
Shelf Life from AMNH is a video series for curious minds—opening doors, pulling out drawers, and taking the lids off some of the incredible, rarely-seen items in the American Museum of Natural History.
Shelf Life Video: The Salamander-Algae Symbiotic Relationship
Shelf Life Video: The Dinosaurs of Ghost Ranch
Shelf Life Video: Time Travel to Stars
Shelf Life Video: Screening Biodiversity
Shelf Life Video: Into the Island of Bats
Shelf Life Video: Fossils in the Gobi Desert
Six Extinctions in Six Minutes: Shelf Life Video
Green Grow the Salamanders: Shelf Life Video
Shelf Life Episode 8: Voyage of the Giant Squid
Stargazing Across Time: Shelf Life Episode 5
Invertebrates make up more than 90 percent of all living animal species, so it’s not surprising they comprise the museum’s largest collection, which consists of more than 23 million invertebrate specimens.
The museum’s collections include more than 33,430,000 items, from centuries-old specimens and artifacts (such as fish and birds) to entirely new types of specialized collections (such as frozen tissue samples and genomic data). Combined, these collections form an irreplaceable record of life on Earth, the span of geologic time, and knowledge about our vast universe.
The objects in this collection fall into the categories of invertebrate zoology, vertebrate zoology, paleontology, anthropology, and physical sciences (a category which includes a small assortment of frozen tissues).
Most visitors to the museum flock to the fourth floor to see the dinosaurs. The Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton is just one specimen in the largest collection of dinosaur fossils in the world. The paleontology collection is also notable for its mammal fossils, the largest collection of its type anywhere.
“A research collection is a place of discovery. You can walk around the corner and see something no one’s quite observed that way before,” says Michael Novacek, Provost of Science and Curator, Division of Paleontology.
About the Museum
Since its founding in 1869, the Museum has advanced its global mission to discover, interpret, and disseminate information about human cultures, the natural world, and the universe through a wide-ranging program of scientific research, education, and exhibition.
Shelf Life from AMNH Episode List
SHELF LIFE EPISODE 1: 33 MILLION THINGS
SHELF LIFE, EPISODE 2: TURTLES AND TAXONOMY
SKULL OF THE OLINGUITO: SHELF LIFE EPISODE 4
STARGAZING ACROSS TIME: SHELF LIFE EPISODE 5
GREEN GROW THE SALAMANDERS: SHELF LIFE VIDEO
SIX EXTINCTIONS IN SIX MINUTES: SHELF LIFE VIDEO
SHELF LIFE VIDEO: FOSSILS IN THE GOBI DESERT
SHELF LIFE VIDEO: INTO THE ISLAND OF BATS
SHELF LIFE VIDEO: SCREENING BIODIVERSITY
SHELF LIFE VIDEO: TIME TRAVEL TO STARS
SHELF LIFE VIDEO: THE DINOSAURS OF GHOST RANCH
SHELF LIFE VIDEO: THE SALAMANDER-ALGAE SYMBIOTIC RELATIONSHIP