Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

The Feather Thief
Q?rius Theater


 Kirk Wallace Johnson Headshot_smaller.jpg

Author Kirk Wallace Johnson

FREE ticketed event

The National Museum of Natural History invites you to attend a conversation between the museum’s Sant Director, Kirk R. Johnson and Kirk Wallace Johnson, author of The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century, which examines the gripping story of a bizarre and shocking crime.

In 2009, Edwin Rist, an American student at London’s Royal Academy of Music, stole 299 rare and scientifically invaluable bird skins from the British Natural History Museum at Tring—home to one of the largest ornithological collections in the world—plucked their feathers, and sold them for top dollar to the underground community of Victorian avid salmon fly-tiers. Join us for a thought-provoking exploration of the human drive to possess natural beauty.

To learn more about the breadth, scope, and splendor of the natural world and the important role of collections, visit the Objects of Wonder exhibition on the second floor of the National Museum of Natural History. Open to the public from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily.

Accessibility Information

The National Museum of Natural History is committed to providing inclusive experiences for all audiences. Please contact 202-633-3611 or email for access services. To view and print a map with accessible entrances, curb cuts, designated parking, and more for Smithsonian facilities on the National Mall, please download the Accessibility Map here. 

Assistive Listening SystemsThe Q?rius Theater contains an induction loop.

Assisted listening devices are also available in the Q?rius Theater.


Sign Language Interpretation

If you would like to have a sign language interpreter or real-time captioning (CART), you should call (202) 633-3611 or send an e-mail to Please allow time to schedule the request by contacting the Accessbility Office at least 2 weeks prior to the program. We will do our best to accomodate last-minute requests.

Time: 6:45 PM - 8:30 PM
Ground Floor, National Museum of Natural History
10th St. and Constitution Ave., N.W.
Washington, DC 20013-7012
United States

We're sorry, the deadline for buying tickets for this event has passed.