Unshelved offers a rare chance to see more than 200 specimens—beautiful and bizarre, big and small—from the Museum’s collection. Many of the objects have never been on public display. It’s a rare “backstage” glimpse of the Museum’s storage areas. Arranged on shelves and in cases, Unshelved gives visitors the opportunity to revel in the natural world in all its beauty and strangeness.
The Nat’s building holds 8 million specimens—animals, plants, fossils, shells, insects and spiders, minerals, and gems—in storage areas underground and behind gallery walls. 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. The alien weirdness of a whale barnacle or a giant stag beetle. Patterns and symmetry in scales and feathers, in the twisting spiral of a gastropod shell, and in branching antlers and beautiful corals.
Many people don’t have the chance to see these hidden collections—until now.
Located on Level 2 next to Coast to Cactus in Southern California, Unshelved is free for members and included with general admission.
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