Backroom – The vast storage facilities at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum

The Washington DC museum stores 90% of its collection of 124m specimens behind the scenes

Backroom – The vast storage facilities at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum

Feather identification expert Roxie Laybourne, amidst a portion of NMNH's bird collection [Chip Clark]

As one of the world’s biggest museums, the Smithsonian in Washington DC is known all over the globe for its far-reaching collection of antiquities and natural exhibits. But with only roughly 10% of the National Museum of Natural History’s collection on display, the remaining 90% in storage is a treasure trove of natural wonder – and now it’s been captured in a special series of photos.

The NHMH’s backroom facilities serve as storage for a menagerie of materials for exploring and understanding the solid Earth and planet, biological conservation, biological and cultural diversity, evolutionary relationships, biological conservation, and global changed. The stunning collection shows the history of our biological origins, our cultural heritage, and what the future may hold.

Also, serious drawers envy.

The photos, taken by Chip Clark and shared on the Smithsonian website, capture what it takes to store more than 126m specimens of plants, animals, fossils, minerals, rocks, and other objects in its vast storerooms. Take a look through the gallery below: