Taking the Smithsonian’s Fossil Halls into the Twenty-First Century


Thursday, September 17, 2020, 6:00pm to 7:00pm



Free Virtual Lecture

Matthew Carrano, Curator of Dinosauria, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution

Fossils provide evidence of how organisms have evolved and ecosystems have changed through time—and offer clues to our present and future. The Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History recently completed a seven-year renovation of its Fossil Hall, the largest in the institution’s history. Matthew Carrano, lead curator of the Fossil Hall, will describe the museum’s approach to creating a modern, relevant exhibition for the twenty-first century, featuring new research and more than seven hundred fossils. His talk will detail the goals, processes, and results of this enormous project, while highlighting the key topics selected to enhance the public’s understanding of the evolution of life on Earth.

Evolution Matters Lecture Series

Series supported by a generous gift from Drs. Herman and Joan Suit

Click here to register for this free virtual event.

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About the Speaker

Matthew Carrano has been Curator of Dinosauria in the Department of Paleobiology at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History since 2003. His research examines the evolutionary relationships of predatory dinosaurs, the paleoecology of Mesozoic ecosystems, and the quality of the terrestrial fossil record. He has conducted fieldwork from Montana and Wyoming to Madagascar, Chile, and Zimbabwe, and brought thousands of new specimens to the NMNH collections.

Carrano received his BSc in Geology-Biology from Brown University in 1991, followed by his MSc (1995) and PhD (1998) in Organismal Biology and Anatomy at the University of Chicago. Prior to working at the Smithsonian, he taught human anatomy and conducted postdoctoral research at Stony Brook University. He has published dozens of scientific papers and co-edited the journal Paleobiology from 2007–2010. Carrano has served such scientific organizations as the Jurassic Foundation, the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, the Paleontological Society, and the Paleobiology Database (www.paleobiodb.org). In 1999 he created the Polyglot Paleontologist (www.paleoglot.org), now the primary source for English translations of paleontological research papers. With Kirk Johnson, he authored Visions of Lost Worlds: The Paleoart of Jay Matternes (Smithsonian Books, 2019).

At the National Museum of Natural History, Carrano has been involved in numerous outreach, education, and exhibit projects. He created Dinosaurs in Our Backyard, the first Smithsonian exhibit to feature fossils from the Washington, DC region, and was a featured curator in the temporary exhibit Since Darwin: The Evolution of Evolution. He was the lead curator for the Deep Time exhibition, the first complete renovation of the paleontology halls in the museum’s history, which opened in 2019.