The Study of Humans
Artifacts of Human Culture
The Department maintains a permanent collection of 17,000 items
emphasizing the traditional lifeways of native peoples, with a particular
emphasis on western North America and the Pacific Basin. The collection
is enhanced through scientific field work, gifts, and selective
Information in Support of Research and Education
The Academy Library is the oldest, continually operating, scientific
library in the American West. It houses rare books, maps, and works
of art in addition to the most up-to-date international science
publications and information technology.
The Study of Life in Water
& Behavior of Aquatic Life
Studying microscopic bacteria to man-eating sharks, the Academys
newest research department combines field and laboratory studies
of aquatic animals. Steinharts living collection, the extensive
Ichthyology collection, and an enormous library of aquatic animal
tissues are available for research in this field.
The Study Birds & Mammals
The Department holds over 95,000 birds and 23,000 mammal specimens.
Since 1906 their collection of Darwins finches has been the
primary source material for island biogeographers and evolutionary
biologists. The marine mammal collection is one of the most important
in the Western Hemisphere.
The Study of Plants
The present herbarium contains 1.9 million plant specimens. It ranks
sixth in the U.S. for vascular plants and is a resource of international
significance. The plant collections from California, the Galápagos
Islands, Baja California, and Chiapas, Mexico are among the most
comprehensive in the world.
Life in the Water
This aquatic world is home to more than 6,000 animals, representing
nearly every underwater environment on Earth. Visitors come face
to face with over 600 species of fishes, invertebrates, reptiles,
amphibians and black-footed penguins.
The Study of Insects
the Love of Bugs
The Entomology collections consist of more than 9.5 million processed
and about 4.5 million unprocessed specimens of insect and arachnids.
Reflecting research interests, beetles, lacewings, web-spinners,
flies, ants, bees, wasps and spiders are particularly well represented.
Presenting the Universe
Over San Francisco
Morrison Planetariums 65-foot dome is a great place to learn
about the night sky. Original star-shows are produced
in-house with special effects created by dedicated planetarium technicians.
Planetarium educators and lecturers help visitors explore up-to-the-minute
The Study of Reptiles & Amphibians
This Departments collection holds about 280,000 herpetology
specimens and ranks among the worlds top ten. It includes
important holdings from Western North America, Central and South
America, Africa and Asia. There are also collections from Australia,
Oceania and Europe.
Engaging People with Science and Nature
Staff and volunteers of the Education Division share their passion
for the natural sciences with tens of thousands of tots, teens,
teachers and life-long learners every year. They foster learning
through innovative programming, hands-on activities, tours, lectures,
demonstrations, classes and field trips.
The Study of Fishes
This Department houses the third most important fish collection
in North America and an exceptional library. The collection contains
200,000 bottles of specimens and continues to grow through field
activities of Academy curators and associates.
Interpretation in Support of Research and Education
the Natural World
This Department works with scientists and educators to engage and
inspire Academy visitors, and explore new ways to convey the wonders
of the natural world. Their goal is to enrich the museum experience
for visitors of every age and background.
Zoology & Geology:
The Study of Animals without Backbones & The Study of the Earth
The Department maintains four major collections: recent invertebrates,
fossils, diatoms, and minerals. These collections are the most diverse
within the Academy and contain about 2.5 million specimens.
Todays Instrument Shop is part of the Operations Division,
which includes building services, electrical, electronics, and audio-visual
sections. Shop technicians build and repair equipment for Academy
exhibits and research.
Merchandising in Support of Education and Research
the Museum Experience
The Academy Store provides museum visitors of all ages with high
quality products and service that reinforce Academy values. Merchandise
offered reflects the Academys commitment to preserving biodiversity
and respecting all human cultures.