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The National Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C. is a destination for around seven million people every year, making it the most visited natural history museum in the world. But many of humanity’s real treasures are hidden away behind the scenes where almost nobody can see them. Covering a total area of 139,000 square metres, the building is the size of 19 football fields. But only 30,000 square metres is accessible to visitors, meaning more than 90% of the museum’s huge inventory is stored backstage. Among them are 30 million insects pinned inside tiny boxes and 4.5 million plants pressed onto sheets of paper. The museum also owns around two million cultural artefacts, including 400,000 photographs.
In total, 126 million animals, plants and cultural artefacts are either on display or stored in the museum’s vaults. TREASURE OF THE EARTH