Now on view

 We Are Nature 


We Are Nature: Living in the Anthropocene

Carnegie Museum of Natural History
Free with museum admission


Discover more about humanity's complex relationship with the environment and add your voice to the conversation in We Are Nature—the first exhibition in North America to focus on the Anthropocene.

The Anthropocene is the current geological era in which humans are making a profound impact on the geological strata. While the term itself is still being debated by geologists, the museum is embracing it as a social and cultural tool for exploring the broad sum effect humans are having on the planet.

Explore the Anthropocene for yourself as an era and a concept. Wander through a “human diorama” to contemplate the impact that our everyday lives have on a complicated and fragile ecosystem.

Examine evidence of this new era observed in taxidermy, minerals, and more from the museum’s hidden collection that Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s scientific staff selected to exemplify the Anthropocene. Each object tells a story of climate change, pollution, extinction, habitat alteration, or modification at the hands of humanity. Positive stories about humanity helping and repairing ecosystems are also highlighted in the exhibition. Learn how the natural has been modified into the post-natural, and find out about the results, both intentional and accidental.

Interact with engaging exhibits designed to incorporate you into the local and global conversation about the Anthropocene. Digitally explore one of our oldest collections kept in The Alcohol House to understand how museum collections change over time. Cast your vote, as sobering as it may be, on the next celebrity animal extinction, and share your reactions to the Anthropocene.

Get inspired by exhibits that connect you to the issues that you care about and to local organizations that you are interested in who are already doing their part to make the relationship between humans and the environment more positive. Touch-screen interactives and special in-gallery activities will leave you feeling inspired and ready to act in the age of humanity.

Additional educator resources are available for this exhibition.


We Are Nature is presented by Highmark, with leadership support provided by Colcom Foundation. Major support is provided by The Charity Randall Foundation, with additional support by Ronald J. and Mary Ann Zdrojkowski and John K. Orndorff, Jr.

 Highmark    Charity Randall 


Kwel' Hoy 

Kwel’ Hoy: We Draw the Line! Totem Pole Blessing

Carnegie Museum of Natural History
Free with museum admission

Carnegie Museum of Natural History is hosting the traveling exhibition Kwel’ Hoy: We Draw the Line!, which explores the struggle of Indigenous leadership to protect water, land, and our collective future.

For the last five years, the House of Tears Carvers and members of the Lummi Nation have traveled across North America with a hand-carved totem pole to raise awareness about threats to the environment and public health. As the pole travels, it draws a line between dispersed but connected concerns, helping to build an unprecedented alliance of tribal and non-tribal communities as they stand together to advocate for a sustainable relationship between humanity and the natural world.

The Lummi, also known as Lhaq’temish or People of the Sea, are the original inhabitants of Washington’s northernmost coast and southern British Columbia.

In this exhibition, the totem pole enters a museum for the first time, where it is paired with a collection of artifacts collected along the route of the Totem Pole Journey. Charged with the stories of resilience they have picked up on their journey across the country, they connect the museum—and the museum public—to the living universe in which they are enmeshed.

Kwel’ Hoy: We Draw the Line! was created by the House of Tears Carvers of the Lummi Nation and The Natural History Museum, a mobile and pop-up museum initiated by Not An Alternative, a collective of artists, scientists and scholars.



Small Wonders: The World of Cryptocrystalline Quartz

Wertz Gallery: Gems & Jewelry
The microscopic crystals in this type of quartz form a beautiful yet durable structure that has lent itself to many uses in human culture. Visit here to read more about the exhibition.

Feathered Dinosaur

Carnegie Museum paleontologist Matt Lamanna helped ICE's Homeland Security Investigations identify the fossil of a feathered predatory dinosaur, Anchiornis huxleyi. In 2015, the fossil was returned to the Chinese government, who then loaned it to Carnegie Museum of Natural History as a gesture of thanks. See this fossil featured next to PaleoLab before it is returned to its permanent home at the Geological Museum of China in Beijing.

Interactive Exhibitions

Families with children should be sure to check out our fully accessible hands-on science areas. The following activities are free with museum admission unless otherwise noted. No registration required:

  • Bone Hunters' Quarry
    Strap on your goggles and dig for fossils like real paleontologists do.
  • Discovery Basecamp
    Take a little time to explore more than 10,000 objects from our educational collection.
  • Natural History Discover Carts & Exploration Stations
    Wednesday–Sunday; check daily guide for schedule

    Learn with your hands by investigating real and replica specimens and artifacts in natural history museum galleries. Let museum educators and experts answer your nature and science questions.

Selected Permanent Exhibitions

New Artifact now on view: A Tlingit Totem Pole by Tommy Joseph


Permanent Exhibition
Third Floor, outside of Polar World: Wyckoff Hall of Arctic Life

Our totem pole is based on a true story shared by the Eagle Clan.
In the tradition of Tlingit storytelling, stories belong to certain Clans, and only those Clans may tell them. Tommy Joseph’s father is of the Eagle Clan, and we are grateful to Tommy for sharing his father’s story with us.

“An Elder once told me a story about two young men on a hunting trip:”
While out on the open ocean with a storm approaching, a young man spotted a large seal and fired at it. He was happy to see that his aim was true, and he piloted his boat over to haul in his catch. The young man grabbed the seal by its tail, but it began to thrash about. So as not to lose it to the ocean waves and the approaching storm, he bit down on the tail, gripping hard between his teeth while grabbing the seal’s flippers with his strong hands and arms. In a boat not far away, the young man’s hunting partner and Clan brother was watching this entire scene unfold. He fired a shot into the seal, saving the catch. The hunt was a big success, and both men were able to bring food home to their families, along with an adventure story that would live on for generations to come.

Dinosaurs in Their Time


Permanent Exhibition
First Floor

Dinosaurs in Their Time is the first permanent exhibition in the world to feature scientifically accurate, immersive environments spanning the Mesozoic Era—the Age of Dinosaurs—arranged chronologically and filled with actively posed original fossil specimens. See dinosaurs like they haven’t been seen in 66 million years!

The historic, century-old Dinosaur Hall was closed in Spring 2005 for over two years of renovation and construction, resulting in the spectucular exhibition Dinosaurs in Their Time. The renovated and expanded exhibition illustrates the incredible diversity of life in the Mesozoic Era, placing the dinosaurs in dramatic, scientifically accurate poses amidst the hundreds of plant and animal species that shared their environments.
Click here for more information about the exhibition. 

Hillman Hall of Minerals and Gems


Permanent Exhibition
First Floor

Hillman Hall of Minerals and Gems showcases a grand new entrance and Wertz Hall of Gems & Jewelry, a new signature exhibit area dedicated to gems, the crystals from which they come, and jewelry comprised of these precious stones. These pieces come from the museum's collection— many which have never been on permanent display—loans from private individuals, gemstone vendors, and traveling exhibitions from other museum collections.
Click here for more information about the exhibition. 

Population Impact


Permanent Exhibition
Third Floor Alcove

How are the world’s nearly seven billion humans affecting ecosystems? And what effects do changing ecosystems have on humans? These questions and many others are explored through graphics, specimens, satellite images, and more in Population Impact. Compelling case studies and examples from western Pennsylvania and around the world underscore the idea that unchecked population growth in any species has lasting consequences on natural systems. Humans have become the dominant species in nearly every ecosystem on Earth. Choices we make affect the world in which we live in a very real way.
Click here for more information about the exhibition.