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I request that my CT scan data generated by this request be embargoed for a maximum of two years from the date of scan completion to provide time for analysis and publication. After the embargo period lapses, the Lab may provide access to preserved CT data for objects from SI collections, either by request or online.

Requests to reserve the CT scanner can be made via an online query (see form on the right).

View through a circular window of four researchers preparing a gorilla for scanning.

Arrival Procedures

  • The CT center is located at NMNH in the Anthropology department in the east area of the third floor of the main building.
  • You must have an NMNH badge in order to access the CT center. If you are a visiting researcher working with collection housed at the Smithsonian, arrangements can be made with the staff of that department.
  • If you are bringing non-NMNH specimens for scanning and/or are not a visiting researcher, arrangements will be made with one of the CT specialists. Before scanning, you will be signed in at the security office and escorted to the CT center by a CT center staff member.
  • Carts are available for transporting specimens to the CT center.
  • Parking is strictly limited at NMNH and is not guaranteed. For researchers parking at NMNH, the center is located near the loading dock in the east parking lot. We are happy to help transport specimens into the museum. Only researchers who are transporting specimen to be scanned should request for a parking space.
  • Bring an external hard drive or USB flash drive that is MAC compatible to take copies of your CT files with you. If not, images can be sent via Dropbox or Google Drive.
  • Researchers are welcome to watch the scanning process safely in the CT center behind a windowed lead barrier and work with the CT specialist to capture the best data. Becaue images are in DICOM-3 format, we suggest downloading a DICOM-viewer to view and work with the data. We do not include a viewer for researchers to view their data.

Getting to The Museum

The CT center is located at:

National Museum of Natural History
10th St. NW & Constitution Ave. NW
Washington, D.C. 20001

There are two public entrances to NMNH, on Constitution Ave. and the National Mall. Visiting researchers who are not parking at NMNH should use the Constitution Ave. entrance and enter through the far left ("Staff") door. 

By Metro

The closest Metro stations to NMNH on the Constitution Ave. side are:

  • Federal Triangle (blue/orange/silver line)
  • Archives (green/yellow line)
  • Metro Center (red line)

The closest Metro stations to NMNH on the National Mall side is Smithsonian (blue/orange/silver line).

Visit the WMATA website for more information on Metro.

By Plane

There are three airports in the DC/VA/MD region:

  • Reagan National Airport (DCA)
    Closest to NMNH and accessible by Metro though the blue/yellow lines. Also, Uber, Lyft, taxis, and airport shuttles.
  • Dulles International Airport (IAD)
    Located in Dulles, Virginia and accessible by taxi, Uber, Lyft, airport shuttles, and Metrobus.
  • Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI)
    Located in Linthicum, Maryland and accessible by Uber, Lyft, taxis, airport shuttles, and Metrobus.

More information is available on the WMATA website.

By Smithsonian Shuttle

If you are transporting specimens to NMNH from the Museum Support Center (MSC) located in Suitland, Maryland, the free employee shuttle is available for use. Users are responsible for acquiring permission for the transport of specimens.

Schedule information for the SI shuttle is available at Shuttles run hourly from 8 a.m. to 6:15 p.m., departing from and ending at NMNH.

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By Car

Parking is limited near NMNH. Three-hour parking is available on the National Mall from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., but spaces fill up quickly. Two-hour only metered parking is available from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. along Constitution Ave. and on 7th Street and 14th Street, and these spots also fill up quickly. For researchers who need to transport non-NMNH specimen(s) by car, parking may be available in the NMNH parking lot or the National Air and Space Museum (NASM) parking garage. You may include this need in the comments/question section of your online inquiry when making a scanning request, but making a request does not guarantee a parking space.

Local Area Guide

The Smithsonian Institution is at the center of downtown Washington, D.C. The largest of the Smithsonian's museums, NMNH is surrounded by national landmarks including the Washington Monument, the White House, the Capitol Building, the National Gallery of Art, and many of the Smithsonian's other museums.

For overnight guests, these hotel accommodations are within walking distance of NMNH:



NMNH has a staff cafeteria available from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the ground floor adjacent to the public cafeteria. There are also plenty of restaurants and take-out places around the museum.

For more information about Washington, D.C. area, check out these websites:

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