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The museum (博物館, hakubutsukan, museum) is a building found in all the Animal Crossing series games, except for Animal Forest. It is an establishment for the collection and display of bugs, fish, fossils, paintings, and sculptures. The museum is curated by an owl named Blathers, who stands in the entrance foyer. In Wild World, City Folk, and New Leaf, Celeste also works in the museum, either running the observatory or the museum shop. In the basement in Wild World and City Folk is the museum café, The Roost, run by a pigeon called Brewster who brews and sells coffee. In New Horizons the museum has a modernized approach and didn't include Brewster and The Roost along with the observatory on the game's initial release.
The museum is an establishment for the collection and display of all of the collectables that the player has found, including fish, deep-sea creatures, bugs, fossils, paintings, and sculptures. These can only be donated once to Blathers, who will display them immediately in the exhibit.
On the basement floor in Wild World and City Folk is The Roost, a small café run by Brewster. Occasionally, there will be special characters hanging out at The Roost's bar (like Kapp'n, Pelly, or Phyllis). K.K. Slider performs there once a week on Saturday night.
Upon donating all collectables, the player will be awarded a Museum Model. A player cannot donate anything if they are not in their own town, or if guests are in the player's town.
Upgrading in New Horizons
In New Horizons, the museum is an upgradeable building. Initially, the island has no museum at all, but Tom Nook will ask the player to bring him any interesting fish or bugs to pass on to his friend, Blathers. After donating 5 fish or bugs, Blathers will decide to travel to the island in-person to study its ecosystem, and Tom Nook will give the player a tent to set up for him.
The tent is completed the day after the plot is placed, and Blathers will urge the player to not only bring him more bugs and fish, but to also explore more of the island and search for fossils. He will present the player with the flimsy shovel and vaulting pole DIY recipes to help them. After Blathers is given 15 bugs, fish, and/or fossils, he will announce that he has received permission to build a full-fledged museum on the island. He will decline any additional donations for the rest of the day, but will continue to assess fossils. The tent will be closed the next day while the museum is built, and the day after that the completed museum will open.
The first stage of the museum features only three wings: the Bug Exhibit, the Aquarium, and the Fossil Gallery. Blathers will accept any donations for these wings unless the museum already has the item on display. As more donations are given, the places where they are displayed will also be enhanced with additional, non-donation displays or decorative scenery.
With the Earth Day update (1.2.0), the museum can be upgraded with a fourth wing, the Art Gallery. Blathers will apply to renovate the museum and add the Art Gallery after the player donates one genuine work of art. The museum will be closed the following day while the renovation takes place. The completed second stage of the museum features an enlarged exterior structure to accommodate the new wing, located above the Fossil exhibit.
In addition, if the player manages to complete a specific portion of the museum, the player can gain posters showcasing the items at the museum, each one varying for category. The Aquarium section has two posters, one for standard fish (i.e., the ones gained via fishing), and the other for sea creatures (i.e., the ones requiring the player to dive in the ocean).
Each room of the various wings also have specific sections, which are named during the International Museum Day event.
With a net, the player can catch bugs in the wild. When the player catches a bug that hasn't been added to the museum yet, it can be donated. Insects are kept in a grassy room, usually nearby similar bugs. Blathers is afraid of bugs and will refuse to touch them, so bugs are handed to him in a container.
Wild World layout
The bug exhibits are split into two rooms. Butterflies are in the first room, and so are all the bugs that live on palm trees, under rocks, and in the ground. Pondskaters, cockroaches, fleas, and mosquitoes will also appear in this room. All grass-bound bugs and bugs that live on trees are in the second room.
City Folk layout
All bugs are in one big room which is split into three levels. The first level has all the butterflies, located near the entrance with insects that can be found near or in water. The second level, which is connected to the first by a small slope, is set up like a small wooded area. The rafflesia, a large flower that appears in a town when there are too many weeds, is next to the slope. The third level, which is also connected by a small slope to the second level, is open planned, with trees surrounding the wall at the top of the room with a few heat lamps.
When a player completes the insect collection, Blathers remarks, "Hoo! Is it... even possible? Can the insect collection truly be complete?! I must say, I do not know whether to be elated or absolutely disgusted. Regardless, our thanks! I trust we can rely on your unfailing patronage! Our fate is in your hands!"
New Leaf layout
This section is divided into three separate rooms. The first is a wide open space with no trees, an array of flowers and a small pond. Insects found here include most of the butterflies, honey bees, snails, the Hermit crab, and various ground bugs such as pill bugs. The second room contains a few flowers and a tree stump in the central exhibit, surrounded by oak and cedar trees. This room houses mantises and a variety of beetles, mantises, Walking leaves, Monarch butterflies, Walking sticks, and dragonflies. The third room has a mixture of palm and oak trees, several stumps, and a rafflesia flower in the center. This room houses exotic beetles found on palm trees, centipedes, flies, cicadas, Queen Alexandra's birdwing butterflies, scorpions, tarantulas, and fleas.
New Horizons layout
Like in New Leaf, the insect room in New Horizons is divided into three rooms. It is more elaborate and detailed than previous Animal Crossing games.
The first room is vast, divided into four distinct levels and contains a waterfall connected to a pond, several trees, stumps ,and flowers. On the lowest level is the pond with a glass partition for visitors to view aquatic insects, which also contains carp and koi. The second level, composed of Sun-Peek Path, Singing Forest, and Shady Path, is home to insects found on or associated with trees such as beetles, cicadas, the Wasp, the Atlas moth ,and the Great purple emperor. There is also a large tree, called Giant Tree, that contains the Spider and, at night, palm tree beetles can be seen fighting each other. The third level is found just above the pond. This small section has flowers, palm trees ,and a bench, called Coconut Corners and Quiet Bench, respectively. This section has mantises, honey bees ,and stink bugs. The fourth level is next to the waterfall, called Dragonfly Bridge, where the dragonflies are housed. Several beetles can also be seen on nearby trees. A number of butterflies and fish can also be found in this area, but they are not added by the player. These ambient creatures appear as the player donates more insects.
A second room, fittingly called Butterfly Garden, houses butterflies, snails, ladybugs and the dayflying Madagascan sunset moth. This bright room has a fountain in the center with a frog and several lily pads in it. The whole room is bordered by flowers. When the player donates one butterfly, a second or third is automatically placed alongside it. During the day, the butterflies/moths are flying around, while during nighttime, they are standing still in their respective areas.
The third room holds several exhibits with unique biome types, including litter strewn areas, seashore, jungle, dense growths of flowers, burrows, and desert. The front exhibits, called Hidden Bugs, features bugs that utilize camouflage. The area at the back, called "Bug Farms" feature a cutaway showing an ant colony as well as the surface with various bugs. There is also a laboratory area where parasites such as fleas and mosquitoes are housed.
Fish can be caught with the Fishing Rod. Fish that haven't already been donated can be given to the museum. They are kept in large tanks of water with other fish. There are lots of different fish to donate, from goldfish to sharks, and only one of each kind can be held in the tanks.
Wild World layout
In Wild World, the fish section divides into two rooms. All river, pond, river pool, and waterfall fish are kept in two tanks in the first room, while all ocean fish are kept in one large tank in the second room that is located to the north of the first.
City Folk layout
In City Folk, all fish are in one room. Most ocean fish, including the hammerhead shark, are found in a very large tank that spans across the entire northern part of the room. Small ocean fish, like the surgeonfish, are kept in a long, tube-shaped tank in the southeast corner of the room. Most small river fish, like the guppy, are in the southwest corner of the room in a similar tank. All other river, pond, river pool, and waterfall fish, like the carp and char, are kept in the middle of the room in two tanks.
New Leaf layout
In New Leaf, there are fewer tanks because they are all much larger, and the sides of the tanks curve a little more. There is not much of a difference from the previous games, but the fish collection now provides chairs in the corner of the second room on the right. When looking at the plaque, it will now include a picture of the fish, along with some fun facts. There are three rooms that divide pond, ocean, and deep-sea fish apart. The deep-sea room will include a big tank, and three smaller tanks that are apart from each other. The ocean room includes one huge tank that curves along with the walls, and the pond room will have a dark green feeling to it. There are two long tanks and two circular tanks: one located in the upper right corner next to the entrance from the ocean room, and one in the bottom left corner next to the next entrance that leads the player back into the deep-sea exhibit.
There is a museum second floor Public Works Project. To unlock the second floor, the player must have donated at least 20 items to the museum (donating at least one item in each category) and have been in town for 14 days. Upon entering the museum, Blathers will be thinking and will ask the mayor for a second floor. Lloid will stand in the Train Station awaiting donations, similar to funding the Dream Suite and Fortune Shop.
New Horizons layout
The Aquarium, like the insect house, is divided into three rooms, with each room having specific sections.
The first room houses freshwater fish. A tank in the shape of a figure of 8, called Serenity Tank, houses small tropical fish. At the back of the room, called Headwaters, is a series of three tanks, connected by waterfalls and displaying fish found throughout a river from its source to its mouth. In front of this tank is a large pond, called The Pond, with various fish, amphibians and freshwater turtles. To the right is a large tank with the largest freshwater fish, called Big River.
The second room is divided into three floors and contains small and medium marine fish. The largest tank holds a hammerhead shark and various other medium fish. This tank, called The Coast, has a staircase and a T-shaped tunnel for the player to view fish at different angles. On the second floor is a long tube shaped tunnel housing sea butterflies and an icicle, reflecting the real life animal's polar habitat, and appropriately called Icy Sea. When one sea butterfly is donated, several are placed within the tank. The third tank on the upper floor contains colorful corals and houses coral reef fish, aptly called Coral Reef.
The third room holds two vast tanks for large marine fish. The first tank, called The Deep, holds open ocean fish such as sharks and a shoal of anchovies. The second tank, called Abyss, is built into the wall and houses deepwater fish. There is a nearby display of a submarine and diving suit.
Initially all the tanks are bare but as the player donates more fish; plants and rocks will start to appear.
- Main article: Fossil
Fossils can be dug up from the ground at star-shaped spots. In Animal Crossing, they have to be sent by letter to the Faraway Museum for analysis, and they are returned shortly. In New Leaf, Wild World and City Folk, Blathers has the license to analyze fossils himself, making the process much faster. Fossils can be pieced together to form complete skeletons, and upon completion Blathers will give the player information on the dinosaur.
City Folk layout
In City Folk, this section of the museum has two rooms and floors. There is also a staircase that leads to the upper level of the second room. One-piece fossils, like ammonites and coprolites, are kept upstairs in the second room. The Wild World museum also has two rooms but they are on the same floor. One-piece fossils can be found in both rooms.
When all fossils have been donated to the Museum, Blathers will remark, "Hoo hootie HOOOOOOO! You magnificent thing, [player]! You've done it! The fossil collection... is complete! A splendid achievement! Well done, my dear owlet! Well done, indeed! I trust we can rely on your unfailing patronage! Our fate is in your hands!"
New Leaf layout
In New Leaf this section of the museum is divided into three rooms all on the ground floor. One room has all the one-piece fossils lined up in a row alongside the skeletons of animals such as Archelon.
New Horizons layout
In New Horizons the section is divided into three rooms. Each room is linked with a glowing pathway, showing the routes of evolution and the geological timeline.
The first room contains fossils of primitive animals (mostly invertebrates and fish), as well as a Shark-tooth pattern. Aside from this, holographic displays of a tarantula and various deep-sea creatures can also be found on platforms not occupied by a fossil. The left side of the room is called "Mollusks/Arthropods", while the right side is called Vertebrates.
The second houses skeletons of tetrapods from the Paleozoic and Mesozoic eras (as well as a model of the meteor that killed the dinosaurs in the upper left hand corner (which plays a quiet, but high-pitched and ominous synth sound when the camera pans up to it) and a model of said meteor hitting the Earth in the bottom right). A coprolite can also be found near the T-Rex and Triceratops fossils. The westernmost section has Aquatic Reptiles at the bottom and Pterosaurs at the top. Likewise, a small section near the Meteor impact site called Synapsids features a Dimetrodon and a Juramaia fossil.
The third houses Cenozoic mammals and a chart showing relationships between different villager species (including humans).
- Main article: Painting
Paintings and sculptures can be bought from Tom Nook and Redd, obtained from villagers, or occasionally found if the player is lucky. However, paintings bought from Redd in Wild World, City Folk, New Leaf, and in New Horizons have a chance of being fake, and will be rejected when given to Blathers. If the player tries to sell them at Tom Nook's Store, Tom Nook will only pay 10 bells. In New Leaf, selling forgeries at Re-Tail results in the player being charged 100 bells for disposal. In New Horizons, Timmy and Tommy won't accept them in Nook's Cranny and thus can't be sold.
Wild World layout
The paintings are all in one room. There are many aisles of paintings. The pathway to the next row of paintings curves and twists.
City Folk layout
The paintings exhibit in City Folk is split up into two rooms; a main room and a back room. Most paintings are displayed in the main room. In the back room, there is a single row of paintings along the wall of the room. The rope divider in the middle of the room guards the Famous Painting once it is donated.
New Leaf layout
The art gallery is found at the lower-right entrance marked by a placemat featuring a generic painting icon.
Inside the art gallery, there are two moderate-sized rooms connected by each other east and west. There is a mix of statues and paintings in each room, where statues are placed around the room and paintings filling all of the sides of each wall excluding the southern walls.
New Horizons layout
Unlike previous games, the museum in New Horizons does not initially have an Art Gallery. Blathers will renovate the museum and add the Art Gallery after the player donates one genuine work of art for the first time. The completed Art Gallery consists of a single large room with multiple display areas. The Art Gallery was also the only wing of the museum that is not included in the debuting International Museum Day Stamp Rallies, though it was later included in the 2021 Stamp Rallies.
Unlike other exhibits, the Art Gallery is only limited to a single room, although it nevertheless has several sections. The starting area, called the sculpture exhibit features various statues. Towards the right is a wall featuring various Western paintings as well as a glass case containing various artwork from Asia, as well as two statues from Asia, referred to in general as Art from the East. Beyond the room to the north are more Western-oriented paintings dedicated to the Rococo period of art, referred to as Art from the West. To the north of said room, near the statue of Alexander the Great, is the Baroque Gallery, which features four paintings from the Baroque period.
- Main article: The Roost
Brewster's café, the Roost, is in the Basement of the museum in Wild World and City Folk. It first appeared in Wild World and appeared again in City Folk. Brewster sells coffee for 200 Bells. On Valentine's Day, Brewster sells hot chocolate. If the player makes friends with Brewster by buying coffee for seven days in City Folk, he will store a gyroid of each kind for the player. On Saturday nights from 8pm to midnight, K. K. Slider will perform one song for the player, which they can then play in their home on a stereo. Resetti or Rover can be found in the Wild World café and villagers sometimes visit the café in City Folk. In New Leaf, The Roost is a separate building that is a Public Works Project. K.K. Slider no longer performs at the roost in New Leaf, and instead performs at Club LOL. Although the Roost did not appear initially in New Horizons, it was revealed in a Nintendo Direct livestream on September 23 that the November 2021 update will include the Roost, and will be situated just to the left of the Art Gallery entrance.
- Main article: Observatory
In Wild World and City Folk, Celeste runs the observatory. Up here the player may create, change, or delete constellations, or just view them. Viewing times for created constellations can also be checked. In New Leaf, the Observatory is eventually replaced by a second floor, moving the clock behind Blathers to above the entrance. The museum will still include Celeste alongside with it. On the second floor, the player can purchase their own rooms and exhibits, increasing in price with each room that is purchased.
- Main article: Museum/Gallery
- In New Leaf, if one of the players is deleted, all of their donations stay in the museum. This will result in never getting a Museum Model.
- Once the player is deleted, their donations will read as being donated by "Someone".
- The phylogenetic tree on the floor of the second room of the fossil exhibit in New Horizons seems to imply that not only were ornithischians and theropods more closely related to each other than the latter were to sauropods (though this idea has gained some traction in the scientific community as of late), but also that pterosaurs were more closely related to ornithischians and theropods than sauropods were.
- In New Horizons, not only do the exhibits have different arranged versions of the Museum Theme, but each room in each exhibit has different arrangements:
- The forest room in the bug exhibit has a folk-sounding arrangement with acoustic guitars
- The butterfly garden in the bug exhibit has a classical-sounding arrangement with harps and clarinets
- The lab in the bug exhibit has an arrangement with bells and acoustic bass
- The freshwater room in the aquarium has a piano arrangement
- The kelp forest/coral reef/polar ocean room in the aquarium has a synth bell arrangement
- The open ocean/abyss room in the aquarium has a synth bell and synth vox arrangement
- The invertebrate/fish/amphibian room in the fossil exhibit has an echoey synth bell arrangement
- The dinosaur/synapsid/aquatic reptile/pterosaur room in the fossil exhibit has an arrangement with breathy synth bells and mournful-sounding synth vox
- The Cenozoic room in the fossil exhibit has an arrangement with xylophone-sounding synth bells
- The Art exhibit has a classical-sounding arrangement with strings, oboes, and a harpsichord.
- In New Horizons' Cenozoic room, the family tree map is missing a species, squirrel
- Prior to Wild World, the museum had significantly different theme music.
- Seaweed, sea stars, and acorn barnacles can be seen inside the seawater tank Animal Crossing's museum, but they are not obtainable in-game and serve merely as decorations.
- In some games, such as Wild World, the option to donate an item will still appear when the player talks to Blathers even after the museum is completed.
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