Q?rius, The Coralyn W. Whitney Science Education Center

Photo of students in Q?rius, The Coralyn W. Whitney Science Education Center

Students participate in a school program in Q?rius, The Coralyn W. Whitney Science Education Center. Photo NHB2014-01476 by Donald Hurlbert, Smithsonian.

Created for teens and tweens, Q?rius (pronounced "curious") is an interactive and experimental learning space that brings the unique assets of the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History – the science, researchers, and collections – out from behind the scenes. Visitors can use microscopes, handle some of the 6,000 collection objects, solve science puzzles, do touchscreen activities, and even meet a scientist. In Q?rius, visitors can unleash their curiosity with surprising results. Learn more about the Q?rius experience.

Coralyn W. Whitney

In April 2015, Q?rius was named The Coralyn W. Whitney Science Education Center, in honor of Dr. Coralyn Whitney. A long-time donor of the Museum, Dr. Whitney’s generous support—the Museum’s largest education donation to date—ensures that the Center and its related programming continue to impact audiences for years to come. View Q?rius acknowledgments.


Q?rius is located on the ground floor of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.

Public Hours

June 10 to Oct. 1 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 
August 27 and September 20 Closed
Oct. 2 to to June 9 Mon.-Fri. 2-5 p.m. and Sat-Sun 10-5 p.m.

Admission is free.

Events and Programs


Things to Do in Q?rius

Get a Q?Card!

Pick up a Q?Card, scan it, and create a Q?rius online account and your own digital field book. As you use the kiosks in Q?rius, you can save digital content to your field book.

Image of a Q?Card

Try an Activity

Challenge yourself with a science activity. Identify the "mystery skull," become a mineral sleuth, explore a coral reef, and more.

Photo of students doing the Insect Karaoke activity in Q?rius

Explore 6,000 Collection Objects

Interact with authentic objects and specimens -- you can even hold some of them! Examine objects under high-powered microscopes, scan them to get more information, and save them to your digital field book.

Photo of students in the Q?rius Collections Zone

Create a Digital Field Book

Once you create a Q?rius account, you can add images from the kiosk activities and Collections Browser to your digital field book. Use the Q?rius website to access your field book online.

Photo of students adding an object to a digital field book

Bring Your Class for a School Program

Solve scientific mysteries and puzzles in one of six school programs led by Museum staff, created for grades 6-12, and designed to keep students on task for 60 minutes.

Photo of students in the Q?rius Lab

Meet an Expert

Museum scientists and experts regularly give public presentations in Q?rius about their research. Check the Upcoming Events calendar for the next "Expert Is In" event.

Photo of the Q?rius Theater

Attend a Lecture or Festival

Hear talks from scientists, authors, and filmmakers or participate in an annual or one-time festival. Check the Upcoming Events calendar for the next event.

Photo of experts at a lecture

Come to a Teen Workshop or Event

Q?rius hosts programs and special events for teens and tweens.

Photo of boy at an art-science workshop


Credits: All images in “Things to Do in Q?rius” Section are Smithsonian images.