Browse Q?rius School Programs

Four students look at collection objects in a drawer

Students use authentic natural history objects to pursue their investigations in Q?rius school programs. Photo from Smithsonian Institution.

Q?rius is reserved for groups on museum trips to engage in 60-minute immersive programs Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. from October through June. (Online group registration opens in August.)

Q?rius – pronounced curious – is a new way to connect science with everyday experience. Located at the Constitution Avenue Lobby entrance of the National Museum of Natural History, Q?rius is a large, physical space rich with educational science activities, collection objects, and resources designed to engage students with one-of-a-kind science learning experiences.

Through real-world questions with scientists and interactions with thousands of authentic objects, students will unleash their curiosity as they access Smithsonian resources linked to classroom curriculum to understand and make connections between their lives and the world around them. Download the Teacher's Guide to Q?rius.

Plan your museum trip for school groups, scouts, home-school students, members of 4-H clubs, or science clubs by reviewing all of the opportunities available on this page.

School Programs

60-minute workshops, led by NMNH staff for Grades 6-12

Natural History Investigations are 60-minute classes for up to 30 students at a time led by Museum educators. Students complete a series of activities based on Smithsonian research, using objects, data, scientific equipment, and digital media to investigate core ideas in nature and culture related to your classroom curriculum. They gain critical skills in the practices of science by observing, documenting results, and justifying their conclusions with evidence. Learn More

60-minute, self-guided exploration of Q?rius for Grades 6-12

The Q?rius Expedition is a 60-minute self-guided survey of natural history topics, tools, and activities in Q?rius, for up to 60 students at a time. Energetic, knowledgeable Museum educators and volunteers orient students and provide guidance during the Expedition by  ensuring that all students have equal access to curiosity-driven activities and collections-based explorations. Learn More

35-45 minute program, staff supported for Grades K-7

In Q?rius jr. – A Discovery Room, 15 to 30 students at a time practice their scientific inquiry skills as they interact with objects from the Museum’s collections. Programs are developed from exhibition themes and emphasize comparing and contrasting objects, closely examining specimens such as fossils, skulls, and shells, then using evidence to draw conclusions.
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Online group registration opens in August.


Q?rius Open hours are 2 to 5 p.m. daily during the school year (10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in summer), during which:

  • Q?rius is available for self-guided activities. 
  • No reservations are required.
  • Groups on field trips are invited to “drop in.”
  • Small groups with their chaperones can explore with the assistance of enthusiastic and engaging volunteers. 
  • Space may be limited.
  • Maps and guides to Q?rius will be available to assist students in discovering science topics they want to explore.

For questions about Q?rius for school groups and educational programs for school groups at the National Museum of Natural History, please feel free to contact us at (202) 633-4039 or