The passenger pigeon
© 1993 Smithsonian Institution
Martha, the last passenger pigeon
This is a picture of Martha, the last passenger pigeon. She was donated to the National Museum of Natural History in Washington after she had died in 1914 in Cincinnati Zoo.
When she was given to the museum in Washington, it was a condition that she would be on display there for visitors to see her. Specimens on display often become dusty, faded and damaged - you can see that Martha is not as colourful as the specimen in our Museum.
If specimens are to be preserved properly they must be protected, and this often means taking them off display. Unfortunately this also means that most people can't see them. This is a problem for many museums.