Harvard Museum of Natural History in Cambridge
The Harvard Museum of Natural History is a natural history museum on the grounds of Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It has three parts:
- the Harvard University Herbaria
- the Museum of Comparative Zoology
- the Harvard Mineralogical Museum.
The museum is physically connected to the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology and one admission grants visitors access to both museums.
The Harvard Museum of Natural History was created in 1998 as the “public face” of three research museums — the Museum of Comparative Zoology, the Geological Museum, and the Herbaria—with a mission to enhance public understanding and appreciation of the natural world and the human place in it. Museum exhibitions draw on Harvard University’s natural history collections; Harvard’s research faculty provides unparalleled expertise; and an array of programs for members and the general public sparks a lively exchange of information and ideas, founded in the spirit of discovery. With more than 180,000 visitors annually, the Harvard Museum of Natural History is the University’s most-visited museum.
In the Museum’s permanent galleries, visitors encounter the rich diversity of life on earth, from dinosaurs to fossil invertebrates and reptiles, to large mammals, birds and fish, and the only mounted Kronosaurus. The mineralogical galleries present a systematic display of meteorites, minerals and gemstones. The galleries also house the historic Blaschka glass models of plants, popularly known as the Glass Flowers. In addition, a series of changing exhibitions bring focus to timely subjects, often featuring the work of world-renowned nature photographers.
The Museum’s educational programs encourage a hands-on, observation-based approach. With a growing reputation as a source of unique and effective science education and a successful partnership with Cambridge public schools, the Museum welcomes increasing numbers of school children and their families to its programs each year.
Public lectures are another of the Museum’s primary activities. Each year, over twenty free presentations by Harvard biologists, international conservationists, and popular authors lead their audiences to a closer look at current issues in the world of science and nature.
A robust travel program complements the museum’s mission to enhance awareness of the natural world. Traveling in small groups often led by Harvard science faculty, Museum travelers experience exotic destinations that are of particular importance as recognized hotspots of biodiversity.
The museum is member-based, with over 3,200 current members, primarily from the Boston metropolitan area. While the Museum is affiliated with the Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences and receives important support from the University, it derives most of its operating income from admissions, membership, gifts, and programmatic revenues.