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Department of Paleobiology

Requesting an Appointment

The collections of the Department of Paleobiology are open to scientific researchers and students currently advised by researchers. Requests to visit the collections should be made at least two weeks in advance by sending a completed Visitor Registration Form to: Each individual requesting access must submit a separate form. If you are a returning visitor, you must submit a new form for each visit.

Visitor Guidelines

Please review the general Visitor Guidelines prior to your visit.  If you are visiting the Vertebrate Paleontology collections, please review the VP visitor guidelines, too.

Hours and Access

The Department of Paleobiology is open to registered visitors Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. excluding federal holidays.

Permission to visit the Department of Paleobiology does not automatically grant access to other units within the Smithsonian—you must make separate arrangements with each unit.

Collection Organization

The fossil collections are split between the National Museum of Natural History in downtown Washington D.C (1000 Constitution Ave, NW), and the Museum Support Center (MSC) in Suitland, Maryland (4210 Silver Hill Road).

Additional arrangements are required to examine specimens at the MSC. If you are visiting MSC, a shuttle bus leaves NMNH every weekday hour from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm. Please check with your Paleo Department host for return the return shuttle schedule. Allow an additional hour of commuting time for each day you study collections there. It is also possible to drive and park at MSC (4210 Silver Hill Road, Suitland, Maryland 20746).

Arrival and Transportation

The National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) is located in Washington DC at 10th and Constitution Avenue, NW, and is easily reached by public transportation. There are subway stations at National Airport and Amtrak's Union Station, with stops at Archives, Federal Triangle, and Smithsonian all a short walk from the Museum.

New visitors should report to the security office at the main entrance to the museum on Constitution Avenue. Security will then issue you a visitors badge and contact the staff member designated to escort you to the Department of Paleobiology.

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