Family Programs at NMNH

A mother looks at her child through a magnifying glass in a classroom with tables and stools.


Make us a part of your family fun!  During our programs, families learn together about nature, science, culture and museum collections in interactive, playful, and creative ways.

Monthly Family Program

The World & Me Family Program Series – Find your place in the world through explorations of nature and culture. Every second Saturday of the month, museum educators lead a program that combines a book reading, activities, and a chance to look more closely at the museum’s collections. These programs are designed for Pre-K to 3rd grade.


What happens during a "World & Me" program?

10:30 – 11:00 a.m. - Free exploration of hands-on stations

11:00 – 11:30 a.m. - Book reading

11:30 a.m. – 12:00 noon - Craft activity


Upcoming Programs:

  • Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018 – Skeletons and Bones
  • Saturday, Nov. 10 – Sea Monsters
  • Saturday, Dec. 8 – Get Up Close! Using Scientific Tools to Explore the Unseen
A woman sitting on the floor next to a word map reads a book to six children sitting in front of her.

Family Days

Discover the natural and cultural world and your place in it during Family Days at NMNH, happening throughout the year. Visitors of all ages get the chance to connect to natural history topics through interactive activities, crafts, demonstrations and conversations with scientists.


Upcoming Programs:

Sat., Oct. 20, 2018 – Archaeology Family Day

The National Museum of Natural History, the Society for American Archaeology, and Archaeology in the Community invite you to a family-friendly event celebrating International Archaeology Day!

  • Talk to archaeologists. Learn about fascinating finds, career paths, challenges in the field, and the joy of discovery.
  • Do archaeology. Practice the skills archaeologists use to piece together the past. Participate in mock excavations, illustration, decoding ancient writing systems, experimentation and artifact analysis.
  • Explore collections. Examine museum artifacts in the Q?rius Collections Zone.
  • Get resources. Find out about opportunities to get involved in archaeology in your community.

Archaeology Family Day is free and open to the public, but registration is requested. Registered guests will receive a special gift at the registration check-in table! Check-in anytime during the program.


Archaeology Family Day Workshops:

Workshops: Making Oak Gall Ink – An Art-Science Exploration of an Ancient Technology

Join Irish archaeologist Steve Mandal and learn how to make the ink used to write ancient Egyptian texts, the Book of Kells, and the Declaration of Independence.

Participants will:

  • Learn how these galls are formed and why indelible ink was significant to the promotion and sharing of human knowledge, especially literature, science, art and music
  • Watch a demonstration of the ink-preparing process and actively participate in each step
  • Take home a quill and a personal writing sample using the ink.

Register for one of the following sessions:

Check back for upcoming Family Days in 2019!

A boy looks up smiling at an outstretched hand holding a small archaeological artifact during Archaeology Family Day 2017.


These events give families a chance to learn skills and create things together.


Past Programs:

Wed., July 18, 2018 – Scientific Illustration Family Workshop: An afternoon in Q?rius exploring the intersection of art and science through natural science illustration. Museum educators led families through the process of mindful observations and then taught techniques for accurate illustration using real museum specimens. No previous drawing experience or skills needed.

Two young women work on a drawing while sitting at a counter with animal specimens in plastic cases in front of them.

Photo credits, from top to bottom:

Smithsonian photo; Smithsonian photo; photo by John Loggins, Smithsonian; photo by James Di Loreto, Smithsonian.