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Reservations recommended. Reserve tickets here.


September 19, 2015 to May 1, 2016

This exhibit is now closed.
See current exhibits.

Meet the surprising birds that sparked groundbreaking discoveries.

Domesticated pigeons are spectacularly diverse. Pigeon breeders have created over 350 breeds with dozens of extravagant features like fancy crests, feathered feet, fantails, and frillbacks. These abundant variations enable scientists to explore how evolution works. 
Find out how Charles Darwin, the father of modern evolutionary thought, relied on pigeons to formulate and communicate his theory of natural selection. Then meet a University of Utah biologist following in Darwin’s footsteps. Glimpse inside Dr. Michael Shapiro’s lab to see how he investigates the pigeon genome to reveal how evolution works at the genetic level.
Exhibition highlights
  • Conduct your own digital pigeon-breeding experiments 
  • Examine a rare, first-edition copy of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species.
  • Immerse yourself in the diversity of pigeons with beautiful, large scale images
  • Transform yourself into a pigeon as your try on fanciful costumes
  • Discover the role Utah's pigeon breeder community plays in Dr. Shapiro's research


Pigeons was developed by the Natural History Museum of Utah in collaboration with the laboratory of Dr. Michael Shapiro at the University of Utah and with the support of the National Science Foundation.


Put your pigeon breeding skills to the test, play the interactive Pigeonetics game!