The Power of Poison

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From the Depths of The Sea to Your Own Backyard


Bubbling cauldrons, slimy frogs, venomous bites—oh my! Discover poison’s power as it seeps through the walls of the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science during its newest exhibition, The Power of Poison: From the Depths of The Sea to Your Own Backyard. Opening Saturday, May 26 in the Hsiao Family Special Exhibition Gallery, The Power of Poison explores poison’s role in nature, human health, and myth while coming face-to-face with the different poisonous and venomous species from South Florida and around the world. In an unprecedented move, the exhibition will extend to other parts of the museum in a full-fledged “toxin takeover.”

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The story of poison is full of surprises at every twist and turn. In the natural world, poisons and venoms are powerful defenses, made and used by many organisms in the struggle to survive and reproduce. But as scientists probe the secrets of poison, we’re finding that these substances can also be powerful forces for healing. As the museum’s largest and most ambitious exhibition to date, guests will explore some of history’s most puzzling poisoning cases through digital interactive stations and a theater where live presenters share dramatic stories of how poisonings led to advancements in forensic detection.

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Frost Science is also expanding the exhibition with a toxin takeover of the museum, incorporating elements of The Power of Poison into the museum’s permanent exhibitions with activations and exhibition elements on the rooftop terraces (milkweed and monarch butterflies!) as well as the envenomation of the Aquarium (lionfish, scorpionfish, stonefish, rabbitfish and more). Guests will also encounter poison dart frogs and venomous snakes. In addition, the museum’s newly-opened Inventors in Residence Lab, located on Level 5 of the North Wing in the Knight Learning Center, will host a scientist that is using nano-pulsed lasers to analyze samples for the presence of carcinogens and other environmental toxins.

While exploring The Power of Poison, visitors can expect:

         • Poison and venom in Nature – Organisms use poison to protect themselves or to capture prey. Guests will enter a diorama of Colombia’s Chocó forest where dart frogs, huge Brazilian                wandering spiders, and toxic caterpillars use toxins to their advantage.

  • Poison in Myth and Legend – Many years ago, people couldn’t tell if sickness was caused by disease, poison or even magic. Guests will travel back in time and investigate some of history’s most intriguing poisoning cases.

  • Detecting Poison: Villains vs. Victims – Guests will explore the role of poisons in forensic science through live interpreters in the exhibition theater.

  • Poison by Accident – Visitors will channel their inner Sherlock Holmes while investigating evidence comparing clues and examining victims’ symptoms to determine the poison being used.

  • Poison for Good – Many poisons from plants and animal venoms have helped developed life-saving drugs. Guests will learn about these types of toxins and where they come from.

The exhibition is supported locally by Jackson Health System and Florida Poison Information Center-Miami. The Power of Poison is organized by the American Museum of Natural History, New York (

The Power of Poison will be on view from Saturday, May 26, 2018, through Monday, September 3, 2018. Admission to The Power of Poison is included in all museum admission tickets. Additional information on the exhibition, events, and programming can be found at