Unlocking the museum
On your first day, Tom Nook will task you with finding five different bug or fish around the island. Once you hand them over, he’ll have you place down a plot that will eventually turn into the museum.
The next day, Blathers will show up in a tent and start accepting donations: 15 unique creatures. Once you turn those in, he’ll stop accepting donations and the tent will be upgraded into the full museum two days later.
The museum will open with three exhibits: one for fossils, one for fish, and one for bugs. There is no exhibit for art.
Donating to the museum
Once the museum opens, you’ll be able to mass donate multiple items at once. Every day, dig up the fossils on your island and turn them into Blathers to evaluate. He’ll let you know if the fossils are new or missing from the museum exhibits, and you can choose to donate them to him.
Completing the museum requires year-round play, since some fish and bugs only spawn during specific months. That said, as of this writing, we don’t know if there is any reward for completing the museum. Past Animal Crossing games didn’t reward players for completing the museum (though players were rewarded for catching all of the fish and bugs, separately).
Where is the Observatory and The Roost?
The Observatory, where Blathers’ sister, Celeste, lets you make constellations, has not made a return in New Horizons, at least as of this writing.
The Roost, the cafe that has been part of the museum in some past games, also has yet to appear. Brewster, the pigeon who runs the cafe, has no model in the game, while Celeste does appear at night one time to teach you how to make a Magic Wand.
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