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 exhibits and programming that provide ways for children and families to learn about our world and its people.
Circle of the Sea: Re-Visited and Re-Imagined
Showcases the museum’s diverse holdings from Oceania. The exhibit has an array of objects such as those used in daily life for cooking, clothing, fishing, and seafaring. It also features 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.
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.
A Continuous Presence: Celebrating 20 Years on the ISS
Orbiting at more than 17,000 miles per hour above Earth, the International Space Station (ISS) is the largest structure built in space. Learn about this giant orbiting laboratory in this new exhibit.
The exhibit was made possible with a grant from the NASA Rhode Island Space Grant Program.
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 exhibit.
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 Heather Field, museum docent, for curating the Ethnology 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 Space Grant Consortium.
Unpolished Echoes: Explore the Past and Present of Mashapaug Park
On exhibit through May 29, 2022. Click here to learn about upcoming programming.
Unpolished Echoes, a new collaboration between artist curators Holly Ewald and Becci Davis, connects visitors of the Museum of Natural History and Planetarium with the sights and sounds of nearby Mashapaug Park.
Three sculptural thresholds created by Ewald represent the water, woodland, and grassland habitats of Mashapaug Park. Each structure was created using mostly natural materials and traces of human presence collected from the site. The video and audio work created by Davis documents the seasonal change in all three habitats. Many stories weave their way through this installation, appearing as imagery, sounds, and artifacts peeking through the layers of physical material and media.
This exhibition includes a multimedia installation, programming series, and displays that bring together the work of contemporary Indigenous artists inspired by the local environment with narratives detailing the site’s cultural and natural histories. These narratives include contributions from the museum’s collection, the Tomaquag Museum, the Rhode Island Historical Society, and community partners. This project is funded by the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities and Providence Department of Art, Culture + Tourism.
Becci Davis, Holly Ewald, Brenda Hill, Leah Hopkins, Julia Marden, Brittney Peauwe Wunnepog Walley, Jonathan Perry, Lucine Reinbold, Kiki Sciullo, Daniel Shears, Robin Spears Jr., Tina Tryforos
Made possible with support from the Curators’ partners and collaborators:
ARC, Catherine Coggins, ioLabs, Hope Leeson, John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage, Laura Maxwell, Providence Department of Art, Culture + Tourism, Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, Rhode Island Historical Society, Museum of Natural History and Planetarium, Steven Lubar, Tomaquag Museum, Thompson Webb