Our new, interactive exhibits tell the story of our world and what we know about it. Visit iconic specimens from the old museum, touch real specimens, and use our high tech tools to take an even closer look! 

More than 40 U-M faculty and community experts contributed to the new exhibits, which feature iconic specimens from the old museum along with new specimens, and more interactive, hands-on, and minds-on experiences than before.


On the Trail of the Mastodons

The only place in the world you can see a male and female mastodon skeleton side by side and a mastodon trackway! Step into a real mastodon footprint and touch a cast replica of an eight-foot mastodon tusk.


Prehistoric Whales

Impressive in their own right, the skeletons of these ocean giants are also evidence of one of evolution's biggest surprises: their ancestors lived on land!



Imagine a time on Earth when enormous flying reptiles swooped, dipped, and dove overhead. Then step into our West Atrium to feel what that was like, as the life-size reconstruction of a Quetzalcoatlus pterosaur stares you down on the bridge over our atrium.


Science at Work: Fossil Prep Lab

Peer into the fascinating, meticulous process of preparing fossils from around the world for study and display.


Marquee Gallery - Bonaparte

This playful, multimedia work by local artist Mark Tucker celebrates the scientific process, as well as the relationship between some of Earth's largest and smallest life forms. (It's also a really cool papier-mâché dinosaur skeleton!)


Evolution: Life Through Time

Journey through four billion years of life on Earth to learn how the first organisms changed our world and how evolution connects all living things. Study real specimens and dig deep through the fossil record, while exploring the five major extinctions and how life persisted through them all.

Planetarium Dome & Theater

See the night sky — and more — like never before, with enhanced brilliance, clarity, and detail! Our state-of-the-art Planetarium & Dome Theater brings new perspectives to even the most familiar celestial bodies, constellations, and phenomena, from the Big Dipper to the northern lights. Tickets required.

Tree of Life
Explore the connections between all living things with our new, interactive, multimedia Tree of Life exhibit. (Hint: it's in their DNA!)

Measuring Time and Space
Investigate the ways scientists measure the natural world with hands-on activities that are fun for all ages. Zoom through the universe, from atoms and particles to distant galaxies and star clusters and back. Then measure your height in turtles, cats, and penguins!

Dynamic Planet
Our Earth Science gallery is a lot more than rocks! Learn how our planet formed; how its atmosphere, water, and lifeforms changed it over time; and what's going on below its surface. Then see and touch the wide range of specimens in our collection of rocks, minerals, and crystals.

Science at Work: Biodiversity Lab
Watch researchers study the genomes of different species and populations to make new discoveries about life and how it works!

Science Forum
The new Science Forum will bring visitors face-to-face with scientists, providing an informal space for scientist presentations, films, discussions, and more!

Collections Case
Check out our rotating exhibits highlighting the university's extensive research collections in fields including paleontology, botany, zoology, and more. Learn the science behind these collections and how technology enables today's researchers to learn more than ever from the collections.

Student Showcase
Our new Student Showcase features research projects by U-M undergraduate and graduate students working in a variety of disciplines.

The Larsen Family Mineral Display
Highlighting the alliance between the U-M Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences and the A.E. Seaman Mineral Museum at Michigan Tech University, this case features their shared research, as well as striking mineral specimens you don't see just every day.

Exploring Michigan

Celebrate our state's rich geological formations, awe-inspiring prehistoric life forms, and diverse ecosystems in the Exploring Michigan exhibit.  Life-size dioramas highlight Michigan’s varied habitats and wildlife, and hands-on activities engage kids—and curious people—of all ages.

Under the Microscope

Step into a giant cell for a closer look at the importance of life's smallest building blocks! Explore the different parts of cells and their functions by examining model organelles, DNA molecules, and more. Then try your hand at interactive games and activities to learn what elements are needed for life to exist, what different types of cells all work together to make up your own body, and what criteria determine if something is alive or not. You can also build your own strand of DNA!

People and the Planet

The story of our world is also the story of us. Learn how Earth's resources shaped early civilizations, explore the ingenuity of our prehistoric ancestors, and reflect on the ways we as a species—for better and worse—can, and do, impact this wondrous planet.





Survivor: The Long Journey of Lake Sturgeon

Explore the role of this endangered, ancient fish and the efforts to revive it. This temporary exhibit is part of the U-M College of Literature, Science, and the Arts’ winter theme semester about the Great Lakes.

Research Stations

Learn about current research projects by U-M faculty at freestanding kiosks throughout the museum.

Micro Worlds Lab

The Micro Worlds lab is an interactive space where scientific tools can be used to explore topics such as the biodiversity of microscopic organisms, cells, genetics, and developmental biology. 

Nature Lab

The Nature Lab is an interactive space providing opportunities to answer questions with museum specimens in an engaging environment full of animal displays, plants, rocks, and fossils.