Panoramic Virtual Tour of Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
December 14, 2011 3:01 PM   Subscribe

Take a Panoramic Virtual Tour of Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Available as a full-screen virtual tour starting entry rotunda and navigating from there, or jump to individual rooms.
posted by filthy light thief (7 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
I definitely remember the "Insect Zoo" being called the "Bug Zoo" back when I was a kid. Wouldn't "Arthropod Zoo" be more scientific, if that's what they're going for?

This brought back memories. Thanks!
posted by HeroZero at 3:43 PM on December 14, 2011

It was always the Insect Zoo, as far as I can remember. My kindergarten teacher's husband was one of the people involved in setting it up, and our class got to tour the Insect Zoo before it opened to the public.
posted by sfred at 4:48 PM on December 14, 2011

Maybe I'm missing something, but I'm really frustrated by the inability to read all the placards and examine the displays up close. It's hard for me to physically visit and, while it's nice to be able to virtually move through the museum it's also really frustrating.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 4:58 PM on December 14, 2011

The early human development exhibit is now open as is the new section on Egyptian mummies. There are a vast number of online resources available from the museum's website. There are also several iniatives to digitize the the museums enormous collections. Some of that work can be seen on the Encyclopedia of Life, for example. In addition, the museum has a very active educational component to help students and visitors. The fossil lab is one good example. It's a wonderful place, full of pleasant and dedicated people working hard on all aspects of natural history.
posted by Sparkticus at 6:14 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

I was there just last month, and the highlight was the precious gems room. It totally doesn't come across in this presentation. The one thing that you might be able to appreciate, the worlds' largest flawless quartz sphere, is barely visible hidden behind a display case. Everything else is a few pixels across. But in person ... WOW. Nothing says "capital of a global empire" like having that many named gemstones in one room.
posted by localroger at 7:06 PM on December 14, 2011

LastOfHisKind, I thought about that when posting this, but I think it's a nice overview of the museum. Also, I think we're spoiled by really high resolution virtual tours, where you can read the spines of books in a library, and have forgotten the Quicktime tours of 2001 (source) where the images would be terribly distorted if viewed fullscreen.

I'm not disagreeing with your frustration, I am amused about how quickly I forgot that the really high resolution panoramas aren't available in all cases where "virtual tours" are offered.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:22 AM on December 15, 2011

I LOVE THE SMITHSONIAN. When I was a wee lad (in 1979) my family went on an epic vacation. Since we subscribed to Smithsonian Magazine, we were "members" and entitled to all the privileges, &c. As it turns out there really were such privileges: like, we got an after-hours show in the precious gems & minerals hall which involved necklaces and other jewelry being removed from their cases and worn by women in the room, followed by a dinner with awesome chocolate mouse. (Hey, I was only seven!)

Also, being a wee lad, when I asked to go to the bathroom while glittery diamond necklaces were being placed on random ladies' necks, a guy with a gun accompanied me to the men's room and stood outside the stall while I fought with a suddenly-shy bladder.

My daughter just went to D.C. on a class trip, and I don't think her tour of the Museum of Natural History was quite as awesome as mine. :7)
posted by wenestvedt at 11:10 AM on December 15, 2011

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