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Global Insight

Inside the largest natural history collection in the world — the 147 million specimens hidden in the Smithsonian

The Smithsonian Natural History Museum houses 147 million specimens — everything from pickled animals to priceless gems to dinosaur bones. But less than 1% of it's on display. The rest is hidden behind the scenes in what's called collections. But they're not just sitting in storage rooms collecting dust. The specimens are actively used for scientific research with real-world benefits, like preventing bird strikes and documenting invasive species. We went inside the collections to see how they acquire, maintain, and protect our Earth's treasures.