Sea Monsters, Botany and Dancing Bees: One-of-a-Kind Museum Exhibition Updates

Sea Monsters, Botany and Dancing Bees: One-of-a-Kind Museum Exhibition Updates

Find out what's new to discover at Carnegie Museum of Natural History!

Header Image: Enchodus petrosus. Photo: Calder Dudgeon, Carnegie Museum of Natural History

There’s always more to explore at Carnegie Museum of Natural History. No one can see it all in one day… or several. That’s especially true now since there’s more on display than ever before. The museum spent the last few months hard at work adding new specimens and updating beloved exhibitions knowing that visitors would return in greater numbers this summer. The museum’s exhibitions and science and research teams have prepared unforgettable experiences for both new and returning visitors to the museum.

Cretaceous Seaway Display

One unique addition is five new sea monsters. Known officially as Cretaceous Seaway, the showstopping display concludes the museum’s flagship exhibition, Dinosaurs in Their Time. The dramatic depiction of ancient marine life now immerses visitors in a life-and-death struggle taking place in midwestern North America some 92 million years ago. The display is outfitted with five new specimens, including a juvenile plesiosaur Libonectes, the only one of its kind on display in America. Head paleontologist Matt Lamanna says, “Nobody’s ever found a baby Libonectes before.” To produce one, Lamanna worked with Triebold Paleontology to digitally alter a virtual 3D model of an adult skull while digitally sculpting other bones using photos of related skeletons.

Hall of Botany. Photo: Carnegie Museum of Natural History

Hall of Botany 

The museum’s Hall of Botany has been updated as well and now captivates visitors with an inviting mural complete with leaves that appear to move in a light breeze and a video showcasing how specimens are collected and preserved in the museum’s herbarium. Vibrant lighting and graphic design, new carpeting and lively introductory text invite visitors in from the nearby wildlife halls and enhance engagement with the beloved dioramas in the exhibition.

Hall of Botany. Photo: Carnegie Museum of Natural History

“The new Hall of Botany entry experience is designed to grab visitors’ attention utilizing light, motion and color to draw them into this beautiful gallery,” says Sarah Crawford, Director of Exhibitions. “The added entry video and labels show visitors that plants are integral to their own lives and to life on Earth, while showcasing the museum’s extensive and active herbarium collection.”

Bee Dance. Photo: Carnegie Museum of Natural History

Additional Must-Experience Updates 

Other updates include a fully restored Tylosaurus skull fossil that is back on display after many decades, a new no-touch kids activity where children buzz and dance like bees to learn how honey bees “talk” to each other and a behind-the-scenes video from Tim Pearce, TikTok star and Curator of Mollusks.

Visitors are invited to compete for bragging rights in a new scavenger hunt, free with admission, that offers clues to help them find what’s new—or newly restored—at the museum. The scavenger hunt is available August and September.

Sarah Crawford, Director of Exhibitions and Storyteller in Chief, Carnegie Museum of Natural History

Meet the museum’s new Director of Exhibitions and Storyteller-in-Chief

Sarah Crawford joined Carnegie Museum of Natural History in late 2020, and she’s already made her mark by programming dynamic lineups of future exhibitions and working with her team to update some of the museum’s most acclaimed displays to create extraordinary experiences for visitors of all ages. Sarah’s previous roles include senior exhibition positions at Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, San Diego’s Museum of Us, San Diego, and the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago.

“With over 22 million specimens, objects and artifacts in our care and dozens of scientific staff actively doing research, it's easy to find inspiration at Carnegie Museum of Natural History. The difficult part of my job is picking which stories to tell. I recently visited the entomology collection where I learned about some amazing beetle technologies, in the anthropology department I had the chance to see some beautiful pottery from ancient Egypt and in the botany collection I saw plants gathered by scientist over a hundred of years ago. At the museum we’re just surrounded by these incredible objects and the exhibitions team gets to develop creative ways of sharing these stories with the public,” says Sarah.

This blog post is sponsored by Carnegie Museum of Natural History