Closed on Monday and National holidays.
The NNational Museum of Natural History owes its genesis to Smt. Indira Gandhi, the former Prime Minister, who while considering new projects to be initiated in 1972 on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of India's Independence, decided that the country needs a Museum of Natural History to depict its flora, fauna and mineral wealth to provide an out of school facility for education of children and to promote environmental awareness among the masses. The NMNH opened its doors to the public in a rented building in Mandi house on 5th June 1978, coinciding symbolically with the World Environment Day.
The NMNH New Delhi has three exhibit galleries, namely: "Introduction of Natural History", "Nature's Network: Ecology" and "Conservation".
Gallery 1: The Gallery 1 on “Introduction to Natural History” portrays the origin and evolution of life and presents the variety and diversity of the flora and fauna of our country. The presentation follows a section on evolutionary sequences and evidences to establish how the present day life evolved. Another section depicts the plants and animals in their natural habitat followed by pollination in flowers, plants and their uses, harmful and beneficial insects, camouflage, adaptation of terrestrial, aquatic and aerial life in animals, endangered animals etc. These sections not only provide useful information to the visitors but also serve as valuable resources in supplementing the classroom teaching.
Gallery 2: The Gallery 2 on “Nature's Network: Ecology” presents an overview of major ecosystems of the world, role of plants as primary producers, food chains, food webs, decomposition, bio-geochemical cycles, Interrelationship among plants, animals and human beings, present day environmental problems such as pollution, deforestation, depletion of wildlife etc. and the reasons (ethical, aesthetic, economic and scientific) for conservation.
Gallery 3: The Gallery 3 on “Conservation” deals with many aspect of conservation of nature. A dramatic life size diorama of a typical deciduous forest presents two contrasting views (one with a rich, balanced forest ecosystem and the other of denuded, deforested and barren terrain). That deforestation is the thoughtless exploitation of trees by human being is presented symbolically through an oversized model of human hand ruthlessly uprooting a tree. Exhibits that follow give a didactic view of the importance of trees in conserving soil. Conversely deforestation leads to soil erosion, siltation of riverbeds and formation of wastelands. Other exhibits in the section show how valuable the tropical rain forests are for mankind. These forests are the rich repository of genetic and biological diversity, Subsequent sections of the Gallery deals with depletion of wildlife, endangered species as well as conservation projects. The problem of pollution and increasing pressure of human population on internal resources are some of the other themes presented through exhibits. Two exhibits that stand out are on Bishnois community and Chipko andolan.
Discovery and Activity Rooms: These are two resource facilities meant for children of higher and lower ages respectively. The principle of discovery learning theory is generally used where learning is through activities and enjoyable. Children are free to choose one or several of the activities provided. Opportunities are provided for children to handle and examine specimens, participate in creative activities such as modelling and painting and exploration of discovery boxes. Children to sensitised to explore nature, develop creative talent and to bring in them a sense of inquiry and scientific outlook. There are games, touch exhibits, and a number of participatory exhibits. Children can develop animal stories with the help of cutouts and a Magneto Board, piece together jigsaw puzzles, measure their weight and height and also check their eyesight.
Film Shows: The Museum has an extensive collection of films on wildlife, ecology, conservation and the environment in general. Films are screened every day for the visitors at 11:00 AM and 3:00 PM at the Museum Auditorium in third floor.
Temporary exhibitions on relevant themes are organised by the Museum from time to time, mostly in the 4th Floor. In addition, the Museum arranges temporary exhibitions outside the Museum also. Such exhibitions have been arranged in the past as part of Festival of India held in USA, USSR and Japan, on behalf of the Ministry of Environment & Forests.