Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
Scientists in the Department of Mineral Sciences seek to understand the evolution of the Earth and Solar System by studying samples from environments ranging from the mantle to mine drainages, from volcanic arcs to the asteroid belt. The department is home to world-class collections of rocks, minerals, meteorites, and gems, as well as the instruments our scientists use to study these specimens in detail.
**While the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History exhibition spaces are now open to the public, our collections remain closed to most staff and all researchers, and the museum’s COVID-19 loan moratorium remains in effect. Currently, there is no capacity to accommodate collections activities including visits, image requests, loans, and shipments. Do not send packages to Mineral Sciences staff at this time. While there is no current date set for when on-site collections activities will resume, we will update as soon as this changes.**
Global Volcanism Program
The Global Volcanism Program seeks to document, understand, and disseminate information about global volcanic activity. Its weekly and monthly reports provide scientists with a record of ongoing eruptions they can use to guide research and hazard management related to volcanoes.
Using the Collections
Our collection of over 600,000 specimens is available for study by researchers worldwide. Find specimens and request a loan using the links below.
Access the Collections
Samples Requests & Loan Policy
SEARCH THE COLLECTION
Scanning electron microscope
Fourier-transform infrared spectrometer
Research Support Facilities
Spring 2020 seminar schedule
Seminars are held on the fourth floor of the east wing of NMNH and run from 10 to 11 a.m. unless otherwise noted. Smithsonian personnel who are not members of the department can buzz in at the entrance to the department in the fourth floor elevator lobby prior to 10 a.m. Visitors without SI badges should call the department from the visitor services office, located at the 10th and Constitution Ave entrance to the museum, by dialing Phyllis McKenzie at x31808 or Ioan Lascu at x31815.