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The 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 collectibles that the player has found, including fish, deep-sea creatures, bugs, fossils, paintings, and sculptures. These can be donated only once to the museum curator, Blathers, at which point they will be displayed immediately in the respective 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 every single available collectable, the player will be awarded a Museum Model. A player cannot donate anything if they are not in their own town. If guests are in the player's town, Blathers will not accept any donations.
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 5 fish and/or bugs are turned in, 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 aid 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 without limit provided that the museum does not already have an item on display. As more donations are given, the sections of each wing 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.
With the 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 will also appear in this room. All grass-bound bugs and bugs that live on trees are in the second room. The cockroach, once donated, skitters on the floor of the first room, as well as the flea, who will hop around, and the mosquito, who will scuttle along.
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. The second level 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 wthatcontains 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. This section has mantises, honey bees ,and stink bugs. The fourth level is next to the waterfall, 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 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.
The third room holds several exhibits with unique biome types, including litter strewn areas, seashore, jungle, dense growths of flowers, burrows, and desert. There is also a laboratory area where parasites such as fleas and mosquitoes are housed. There is also the Paper kite butterfly with several cocoons.
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.
The first room houses freshwater fish. A tank in the shape of a figure of 8 houses small tropical fish. At the back of the room 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 with various fish, amphibians and freshwater turtles. To the right is a large tank with the largest freshwater fish.
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 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. When one sea butterfly is donated, several are placed within the tank. The third tank on the upper floor contains colourful corals and houses coral reef fish.
The third holds two vast tanks for large marine fish. The first tank holds open ocean fish such as sharks and a shoal of anchovies. The second tank 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.
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 this 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). 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). The third houses Cenozoic mammals and a chart showing relationships between different villager species (including humans).
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, attempting to sell the 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 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 is also the only wing of the museum that is not included in the International Museum Day Stamp Rallies.
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.
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.
- 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. This is a glitch that has not been patched.
- 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, and the art exhibit has a classical-sounding arrangement with strings, oboes, and a harpsichord.