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Special Exhibits

X-Ray Vision: Fish Inside and Out

X-Ray Vision: Fish Inside Out is a special exhibition from the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC

X-ray Vision: Fish Inside Out

“We’re always looking for fresh ideas and new ways to understand and appreciate the world around us,” says Adam Kane, the Museum’s executive director. “That’s why we’re eager to hang these larger-than-life x-ray photos of fish. There is something otherworldly about seeing an animal that we think is familiar through a completely new lens.”

This traveling exhibit draws on collections in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. and includes strikingly elegant images that demonstrate the natural union of science and art and are a visual retelling of the evolution of fish. “X-ray Vision: Fish Inside Out,” an exhibition from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, showcases these dramatic prints exposing the inner workings of the fish.


The exhibition features 40 black-and-white digital prints of several different species of fish. Arranged in evolutionary sequence, these X-rays give a tour through the long stream of fish evolution. The X-rays have allowed Smithsonian and other scientists to study the skeleton of a fish without altering the sampling making it easier for scientists to build a comprehensive picture of fish diversity. The X-rays reveal a lot more than bones: undigested food or prey in the gut might tell a story about what a fish had for its last meal, for example.


We’re eager to learn what you see in these unusual images. "X-ray Vision” was unveiled at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History in New Haven, CT in 2012 and has been touring the country since then. “This new view of the natural world keeps Franklin Fairbanks vision for this museum alive,” Kane continues. “We’re thrilled to be able to host such extraordinary exhibits right here in St. Johnsbury.”


The Glanz Collection of over 1700 butterflies and moths was recently given to the Fairbanks Museum. A selection of more than 600 of the brightly colored and patterned lepidoptera are now on view in the balcony gallery.