Permanent and changing exhibitions tell the story of our world and what we know about it. Interactive, hands-on and minds-on experiences illustrate and interpret the latest science about the natural world. Come and be curious!


Featured Exhibits

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.


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.



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.

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.


Changing Exhibits 


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.


Survivor: The Long Journey of Lake Sturgeon

Lake sturgeon are a uniquely meaningful species in the Great Lakes and a vital part of the ecosystem. Historically common, but endangered by human encroachment and exploitation, the species is being revived through successful partnerships in environmental restoration.  Explore the many facets of this fascinating ancient species, and visit with our live juvenile sturgeon in our gallery fishtank! 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.

Highlighted Spaces 


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.

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!)

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!)


Interactive Learning Spaces 


Science at Work: Fossil Prep Lab

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

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!

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.

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!