Cleveland Museum of Natural History

The Cleveland Museum of Natural History is at the University Circle, next to the Botanical Garden and the Art Museum. The museum was established in 1920 and has collected four million specimens over the years.

World-famous are the collections of Devonian shale fish, 900 ape skeletons, and more than 3,000 human skeletons, the only specimen of a small Tyrannosaurus and the remains of Balto, the sled dog. Donald Johanson was the curator of the museum when he discovered Lucy, the skeleton of the ancient Australopithecus afarensis ( pasrts of text courtesy of Wikipedia).


The museum is famous for its dinosaurs - both models and ancient skeletons. Related: Building Dinosaurs, From the Ground Up - Photo Journal - WSJ.



There is a large geology section with many interactive displays. The section "Ohio Rocks" with songs in different musical styles describing different rocks is especially entertaining for the kids. Cleveland was under a mile-high glacier for 11,000 years, that is why the land here is so flat. One can still see the glacial grooves on Kelleys island.

The museum features a replica of an underground copper mine and many different types of earth minerals. Shown above are the models of shaft and open mines.

Minerals and crystals


Is this the biggest lobster ever caught? There a lot of fossils that you can actually touch, illustrating the evolution process. This is a petrified wood in full color.

The animal exposition covers the fauna around the globe, There are small wax models showing local people and animals in their natural habitat. Shown above are a water hole in Africa and a caribou hunt.

Balto, the famous sled dog

This the legendary sled dog Balto, famous for transporting serum against diphtheria to the isolated Alaskan town Nome in 1925. Actually, as it is usually in the history, another dog, named Togo did most of the job but Balto with his musher Gunnar was the one in the final stretch and this is how he became famous. To get the story straight, you can watch two short movies featuring each dog on the blue monitor seen on the right of the picture. A statue of Balto is standing in Central Park, NY.

Both dogs were named after real people. Balto after Samuel Balto who was a Norwegian explorer, and Togo after admiral Togo who was one of Japan's greatest naval heroes. Nowadays, there is an annual dog sled race covering the 1,200 miles path Nome, named Iditarod.

Just a dog with a silly snow cap... Actually, the two dog sculptures in the Cleveland Zoo are the famous sled dogs Togo (lying down) and Balto (sitting erect). Balto lived (and died) at the old Cleveland Zoo and his mount is shown in the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. There is a fascinating online book telling his life story -

More photos

Balto: A Canine Hero -
The adventures of Balto -
Balto story on PBS.
On the Iditarod Trail - photoessay.

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