Nature's Time Capsule - Atlas Obscura

Chicago, Illinois

Nature's Time Capsule

Explore the intersections of science and nature at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum's offsite collection facility.

Originally founded in 1857 as the Chicago Academy of Sciences, the Peggy Notebaert Museum is one of Chicago’s oldest institutions and is dedicated to the study and preservation of Illinois natural history. It's known as being the first private scientific museum of Chicago and was the first museum to open its doors to the public in 1869. While today it's known as being the museum with the butterfly haven in the park, a majority of its specimens are housed in a completely different location.

Join Field Agent Leyla Royale as we explore the museum's vast collection and archive at their off-site facility in Ravenswood and learn about the history of the collection. This tour will highlight rarely seen specimens, share the complex history of the collection, and shed light on scientific research currently being conducted with specimens. You'll get a chance to see everything from study skins of now-extinct passenger pigeons to more modern examples of scientific taxidermy, and learn how both old and new specimens help scientists in their research today.

Public access to the collection is offered by appointment for the purpose of research and study. This event has been specially curated for the Atlas Obscura Society Chicago to provide our guests with a one-of-a-kind experience.


  • Ages 17 and up.
  • Please note this event DOES NOT MEET at the Peggy Notebaert Museum, but instead meets at an offsite facility at 4001 N. Ravenswood.
  • ADA: This venue may not be accessible for all guests. Please contact for additional accessibility information/questions.
  • No food, beverages, or gum allowed. 
  • Large bags, coats, and personal belongings must be left in a locked meeting room and cannot be brought into the collections rooms.
  • Photography is allowed, but non digital/older flashes for cameras are not allowed.


Email Leyla Royale at

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Advance ticket sales only. All ticket sales are final. No refunds or exchanges.