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Human Origins

Based on decades of cutting-edge research by Smithsonian scientists, the David H. Koch Hall of Human Origins in the Museum of Natural History will tell the epic story of human evolution and how humans evolved over six million years in response to a changing world. Following the process of scientific discovery, visitors will explore the evidence for human evolution, come face-to-face with unforgettable representations of early humans, and arrive at a deeper understanding of what it means to be human.

On March 17, 2010, the Museum marked its 100th anniversary on the National Mall with the public opening of our newest exhibition hall – the David H. Koch Hall of Human Origins.

This exhibition is based on decades of cutting-edge research by Smithsonian scientists, and is the result of an international collaboration with over 60 research and educational organizations and over 100 researchers from around the world. The David H. Koch Hall of Human Origins offers visitors an immersive, interactive journey through 6 million years of scientific evidence for human origins and the stories of survival and extinction in our family tree during times of dramatic climate instability.

 

"The David H. Koch Hall of Human Origins uses Smithsonian science as a foundation to help appreciate our own unique development as human beings", said Cristian Samper, director of the Museum. "The opening of this hall represents one of the most significant public and scientific achievements in the 100-year history of the museum. Our goal is to provide visitors and online guests with an exciting educational experience that will encourage them to explore for themselves the scientific discoveries about what it means to be human."

On entering the 15,000-square-foot Hall of Human Origins exhibition from the Sant Ocean Hall, travel back through time through a time tunnel depicting life and environmental change over the past 6 million years. Connect with your distant ancestors at the Hall’s life-size forensically reconstructed faces of early human species and learn about major milestones in the origins of human beings.

Explore actual archaeological field sites at interactive snapshots in time, examine over 75 cast reproductions of real skulls from around the world, engage with an interactive family tree showcasing 6 million years of evolutionary evidence from around the world, and address pressing questions and issues surrounding climate change and humans' impact on the "Earth in the One Species Living Worldwide" theater and the "Changing the World" gallery.