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Museum Support Center #SITweetup

Did you know only two percent of the Smithsonian’s collection is on view? On Feb. 15, we invited 25 tweeters to our Museum Support Center to see where we keep some of the 98 percent that is not on exhibit and how we use it to learn more about our history, natural world and beyond.


  1. The Museum Support Center(MSC), a state-of-the-art storage and research facility that is not usually open to the public. No specimen is too small and no object too large to be accurately organized, filed, and stored in more than half a million square feet of storage space. But storage isn't the only thing that happens here. The Smithsonian and visiting researchers from across the globe use the items and laboratories at the Center to for exciting research that impacts our lives.  

    The Center consists of five buildings, each about the size of a 3-story-tall football field. They include enormous tanks for cleaning whale skulls, chambers to preserve Antarctic meteorites, art from throughout the ages, and a botany collection with five greenhouses.


    Pod 5: Fish Collection with curator Carole Baldwin


    Carole talked to the group about some interesting specimens in the collection and her work exploring the deep reef "twilight zones" off the coast of Curacao where she recently discovered several new species.

  3. Pod 4: Land Snails with Robert Hershler

    Robert talked about the incredible diversity of snails and delighted the group with snail facts and his dry sense of humor

  4. Pod 3: Physical Anthropology with Collections Manager Dave Hunt

    Dave spoke with the group about the Smithsonian's extensive anthropological and anatomical collections and how they are used in research: from ancient Peruvian mummies, to shrunken heads to the "Soap man"