Museum of Natural History Exhibits
The Museum of Natural History, located in Roger Williams Park, is Rhode Island’s only natural history museum and is home to the state’s only public planetarium. For more than a century the museum has served as a unique educational, scientific and cultural resource by offering exciting exhibitions, workshops, and presentations that provide ways for children and families to learn about our world and its people.
Only about 1% of the museum’s holdings are on exhibit. The museum’s collections contain over one-quarter million objects pertaining to natural and cultural history assembled from sites around the world. The natural history collections include fossils, mollusks, minerals, rocks, mounted flora, and fauna. The cultural collections contain over 25,000 archaeological and ethnographic specimens primarily of African, American Indian, and Pacific origin.
African Rhythms: Selections from the Heath Collection
New exhibit opened on Saturday, November 18, 2017
Discover the African collection in this new exhibit showcasing the broad spectrum of artifacts such as jewelry, wooden and metal figural sculpture, masks, musical instruments and tools crafted by people across Africa. The African collection was donated by Dr. Dwight B. Heath, Brown University Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, and his wife and colleague, Anna Cooper Heath.
Special thanks to Museum Docents and Exhibit Curators: William LaCivita, Michael McGinity and Richard Siembab
Circle of the Sea: Re-Visited and Re-Imagined
The Circle of the Sea exhibit, showcasing the museum’s diverse holdings from Oceania – with an astonishingly extreme make-over. The exhibit has an array of objects such as those used in daily life for cooking, clothing, fishing, and seafaring- most of which have never been publicly viewed. It also features the major addition of natural history from the region: ornately feathered Birds-of-Paradise, gigantic seabirds and mollusk shells, colorful corals and volcanic geology so pivotal to the Pacific. A visit to Circle of the Sea: Revisited and Re-imagined promises to be a virtual South Seas tropical adventure without even leaving home.
The exhibit was made possible through major funding support from the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, an independent state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Special thanks to Kirsten Vacca, Guest Curator, for her contributions and expertise.
New exhibit opened on Saturday, November 18, 2017
Natural Selections: Museum’s Victorian Past to the Present
Step back in time and explore what can be learned about the history of collecting in our region through the museum’s own rich and diverse collections. Even today the museum continues to collect new specimens and objects, and its collections are just as important as when the museum first opened in 1896. Discover the remarkable treasures that are housed here, and what a truly unique Rhode Island legacy the museum’s walls encompass in this new exhibit.
The new exhibit is made possible through major funding support from the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, an independent state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Special thanks to Heather Field, museum docent, for curating the Ethnology display; Steven Lubar, Director of Brown University’s Public Humanities program and his students – Lily Benedict, Hannah Sisk, and Jamie Topper, for curating the Collecting Today display.
Urban Wildlife: Nature at Your Doorstep
Human designed landscapes occupy more land than ever before. While often discounted as wastelands devoid of nature, urban areas actually play host to a great diversity of plant and animal life. Acknowledging the diversity of life found in cities is an important step toward understanding the impact humans have on the places they live and work. This exhibit focuses on the wildlife living right here in the city of Providence and highlights the urban habitats in which they can be found.
Featuring local fauna from the museum’s collections; imagery from Providence Raptors, urban wildlife photography by Peter Green; and videos from Greg Gerritt, activist, writer, videographer and watershed steward for Friends of the Moshassuck. NASA Satellite Imagery of Providence-sponsored by the Brown/NASA Northeast Planetary Data Center & the NASA/RI Space Grant Consortium.
Seismic Shifts: Earth through Time
Travel through time to discover the formation of our Earth and its transformation into the habitable world we live on today. From Ice Ages to Hothouse Earth, our planet has seen many changes over its vast history. Exhibit sponsored by the Brown/NASA Northeast Planetary Data Center & the NASA/RI Grant Consortium.
When is the museum open?
The museum is open every day from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, with the last admission at 3:30 pm. The museum is closed 10:00 am to 1:00 pm, the first Monday of every month, October through March for our monthly Homeschool Adventures program.
When is the planetarium open?
Located in the Museum of Natural History, the Planetarium is a dome theater, which is only open during show times. Public planetarium shows are offered at 2 pm every Saturday and Sunday, during RI February and April school vacation weeks and daily in July and August. Please check our calendar of events for other public planetarium show offerings. Early arrival is suggested as tickets are sold first come, first-served. People are not permitted to enter the planetarium once the show has begun. Please note: There are no planetarium shows when the museum is closed.
What are the admission fees?
Museum admission is $2 per person. Children under age 4 are free.
Some special programs have a separate admission.
Planetarium Admission (includes museum admission) is $3 per person. Children under age 4 are not permitted in the planetarium.Check our calendar of events Museum's Homepage