Behind the Scenes Collections Tours

NEW for 2019!
Explore the world without ever leaving Dayton, as you go behind the scenes at the Museum! Join us as we head into the vault for guided, themed tours throughout the year. From a spooky experience just in time for Halloween to a dive into the travels of famous – and not-so-famous! – Daytonians, each tour will showcase highlights from the Society’s 1.8 million item Collection and give guests a unique peek into histories of various cultures around the world.


REGISTER for one -- or all four! -- of the 2019 tours. Note that online reservations for each program close the Friday prior to the event.

Tour Dates & Themes

A Collection of History, Mystery, and Wonder
Thursday, April 11 | 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.

Enjoy a 90-minute, family-friendly tour exploring mysteries inside the collections vault at the Dayton Society of Natural History. Take a tour of the museum’s permanent collections and temporary exhibits featuring objects with a mysterious and wondrous past. The tour will feature exotic goods used by ancient cultures, minerals with a tie to Greek mythology, and highlight mysterious and worldly biology specimens. Come explore the heritage of our objects that will leave you with a deeper understanding and insight into the meaning of human life.

Dynamic Daytonians: Explorers of the World
Thursday, July 11 | 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.

Enjoy a 90-minute, family-friendly tour seeing objects from around the world! Experience the museum’s rich history by learning about the community’s most prominent Daytonians and objects they acquired from countries around the world. Learn about Katharine Talbott of Oakwood and her donation of one of the finest American Indian Plains collection. See treasures donated by Virginia Kettering during her travels to Japan and China. Did you know the first U.S. Ambassador to Egypt was from Dayton? Join us Thursday, July 11 to learn about the heritage of the museum and its dynamic donors.

Amulets and Superstitions
Thursday, October 24 | 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.

For generations, Friday the 13th has been seen as the traditional day of bad luck. Some people are even change their plans because of the bad omen day. Did you know that because of the dangers faced by sailors and fishermen, there are countless superstitions around safety and luck on the sea? Join the Collections staff on a 90-minute, eerily fun tour of the collections to learn more about ancient superstitions from across the world.

Ancient Civilizations and Complex Culture
Thursday, December 12 | 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.

Hidden from view, deep in the heart of the museum lie 1.8 million objects with stories of ancient cultures that flourished long ago. Do you want to view samurai armor worn by a Japanese warrior, a robe from the imperial dynasty, or a mummified cat from Ancient Egypt? Join the tour tonight, for a 90-minute family-friendly special selection of objects with stories that reveal ancient mysteries.

Admission & Registration

Admission to the limited after-hours event is $50/person for non-members, and $45/person for DSNH members. Save 10% when you book all four sessions, so register today!

Minimum/Maximum: 10/30
Capacity for each event is 30 guests, with up to 10 guests per guide group. Any tours not reaching the 10 person minimum may be cancelled, and guests will be offered the option of selecting an alternate tour date.

What to know before you book:

  • The tour is not open to children under 12; guests under 18 must attend with an adult.
  • All tours last 90 minutes in total, with an introductory session and a one-hour tour through the Collections storage area.
  • This walking tour does not cover a long distance, but there is no seating in the vaults. Guests should be prepared to stand for the tour in that area.
  • Please note that some areas of the Collections storage areas also have limited accessibility; however, our staff will work to ensure that every guest receives a complete tour experience.
  • Photography is permitted in most areas, but may be limited for some artifacts.

Looking for a more exclusive behind-the-scenes experience? Private tours are available upon request, based on availability. Inquire for pricing.

All proceeds from this program support the ongoing conservation and preservation of the 1.8 million objects in our care.

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