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Montshire Museum brings “Hidden Life of Ants” into View

Jan 12, 2015
For Immediate Release

Small yet abundant, with complex and wildly diverse lifestyles, ants are everywhere, living lives mostly hidden from view. A new exhibition at the Montshire Museum of Science brings the lives of ants into clearer focus.

With the aid of a macro lens and the insights of ant expert and photographer Mark Moffett, the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History present the world of ants. 

Farmers, Warriors, Builders: The Hidden Life of Ants will open at the Montshire Museum of Science in Norwich, Vermont, January 24 and will be on view through April 5, before continuing on a 15-city national tour through 2015. “Ants” was previously on view at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.

Moffett’s macro photographs tell stories about the lives of ants—hunting, communicating, dealing with disease and agriculture—and chronicle the work of entomologists in the field. The exhibition features 39 large-scale color photographs, a three-dimensional aluminum cast of an ant nest and touchable oversized ant models.

Visitors can explore the model of a leaf-cutter worker ant that has been blown up to 50 times its actual size and learn how it uses its body to work and survive in the colony.

“What fascinated me most in preparing this exhibit is that modern humans can be much more like ants than we are like our relatives, the chimpanzees,” said curator Moffett. “With our societies of millions, only ants and humans deal with issues of public health and environmental safety, roadways and traffic control, assembly lines and teamwork, market economics and voting, slavery and mass warfare.”

A real-life adventurer who has been called “the Indiana Jones of entomology” by the National Geographic Society, Moffett has won the highest honors in exploration—the 2006 Lowell Thomas Medal from the Explorers Club and Rolex, and the Chapman Andrews Society Distinguished Explorer Award (2008). Moffett received a doctorate from acclaimed conservationist Edward O. Wilson at Harvard University and remains active in science with more than 80 peer-reviewed publications. He has written more than 25 articles for National Geographic magazine, which has featured nearly 500 of his images. He also has appeared on the Conan O’Brien Show, twice on the Colbert Report and on NPR. His most recent book, Adventures Among Ants: A Global Safari with a Cast of Trillions, won the National Outdoor Book Award. More information is available at


SITES has been sharing the wealth of Smithsonian collections and research programs with millions of people outside Washington, D.C., for over 60 years. SITES connects Americans to their shared cultural heritage through a wide range of exhibitions about art, science and history, which are shown wherever people live, work and play. Exhibition descriptions and tour schedules are available at

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, located at 10th Street and Constitution Avenue N.W. in Washington, D.C., welcomes more than 7 million visitors annually. More information about the museum is available at or by calling (202) 633-1000, TTY (202) 633-5285.