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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
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Department ofVertebrate Zoology

Division of Fishes

Carl Hansen
© Smithsonian Institution

Arranging a Visit

The National Fishes Collection is accessible to qualified scientists and graduate students with stated research objectives and is not available for public tours. To arrange a visit to our collections or library, please contact a curator or collection manager well in advance of your anticipated arrival.


The National Fish Collection is divided between the National Museum of Natural History Building (NHB) on the National Mall and a new facility at the Museum Support Center (MSC) in Suitland, Maryland.

The osteological and cleared and stained collections, as well as the fishes library are located at NHB. All ethanol preserved specimens, including types and tank specimens are housed at MSC.

The National Collection is open to visitors from 8 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Friday, federal holidays excepted. Please be advised that due to security policies at our new facility in Suitland, MD, we cannot host visitors after hours or on weekends, so plan your visit accordingly.

Getting Here

Upon arriving at NHB or MSC, proceed to the front security desk and sign in. You will receive a visitor's badge and a fishes staff member will escort you to the collections. Depending on the focus of your research you may need to visit one or both of our collection facilities.

The MSC is accessible via car, Metro Rail, and shuttle service. Visitor parking is available onsite. The Suitland subway station is a three block walk to the MSC. The Smithsonian also provides free, regular shuttle bus service between MSC and NHB, schedules are available upon request. This shuttle runs from 8am to 5pm and is available to all visitors with proper Smithsonian credentials.

The National Museum of Natural History is located at 10th Street and Constitution Avenue, N.W. in Washington, D.C. Parking near the museum is extremely limited, but public transportation via Metro Rail is very convenient. 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.

Driving directions to MSC
Walking directions to MSC from Suitland Metro

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