Exhibits Explore four floors of fascinating exhibits at the KU Natural History Museum from small microbes to massive mosasaurs. Learn about the science of parasites, step back into deep time with ancient fossils, and meet live insects, snakes and lizards. Don't miss the Panorama, an expansive natural history exhibit depicting different biomes of the planet with a centerpiece showcasing the flora and fauna of the Great Plains, which dates to the 1893 World’s Fair. You can also explore the museum and activities online through our Museum From Home webpage.

KU Bee Tree exhibit with a sign on left with a passage from the KU Common Book

Throughout the museum

Each year, members of the KU community read a single book that speaks to the current moment and sparks conversation. The KU Natural History Museum has created reflection stations at exhibits throughout the museum which incorporate passages and themes from this year's KU Common Book, Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants, by Robin Wall Kimmerer. Visitors are invited to explore passages from her book, paired with chosen exhibits and reflect on what they mean to them as individuals and as members of the KU and Lawrence community. Class visit guides incorporating the reflection stations are available on request.

New grotesques displayed side by side, staggered.

Panorama Gallery, 4th floor

In 2017, the limestone grotesque statues which had sat atop Dyche Hall since the early 1900s were removed to prevent further damage from the elements. A team of experts, who combined old world craft and modern technology, was assembled to create new grotesques to replace the old. View the new grotesques before they are placed on top of Dyche Hall and learn about the processes of the artists, Laura and Karl Ramberg, and KU Architecture faculty members Amy and Keith Van de Riet through a mini-documentary and displays of selected sketches and scale models that were created as part of the process. 

KU Paleontology exhibit image with multiple specimens and text, showing on left invertebrates, and on right, vertebrates

3rd floor gallery

Travel through hundreds of millions of years of evolution in this exhibit featuring the Biodiversity Institute’s paleontology research. Take a close look at plant and animal fossils including rarely-seen small specimens and learn about their fascinating stories. 

Scientific illustration of silvisaurus

3rd floor gallery

While most of Kansas was covered by a shallow sea 110 million years ago, dense forests along the eastern coast were home to the dinosaur Silvisaurus.  This exhibit highlights Silvisaurus condrayi, the most complete armoured dinosaur that has been found in Kansas and features touchable casts and fossils, and a life-size illustration.