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Harvard Museum of Natural History

Montreal, Canada
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509 posts
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Harvard Museum of Natural History

I have an afternoon alloted to this museum (well, actually about 3 hours). Knowing that I won't have time to see everything in the museum, I will likely need to pick and choose what to visit. I will definitely be visiting the Glass Flowers collection but wondering if others can suggest other key highlights of the museum. I don't have any area of particular interest (i.e. all subjects covered by the museum is of equal interest to me).

Lincoln, NH
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1. Re: Harvard Museum of Natural History

Minerals and Mammals would be my vote. Why? Hey, huge hairy things and sparkly stuff. How can you go wrong. Great call on the flowers -- it's a facinating collection. Bugs. No thank you!!

It's a great museum, I'm sure you'll enjoy it.

Salvador, BA
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2. Re: Harvard Museum of Natural History

Haven't been for awhile, but the Glass Flowers are THE highlight. and are quietly spectacular. The mineral/gem collection is extensive and includes some meteorites. There is a large variety of stuffed (and somewhat aged and moldy looking as I remember :-) or " impressive mounted specimens of ... wildlife, collected over a century ago" as their site touts) animals, and dinosaur bones. Their site now promises special exhibitions and it would be nice to hear your opinion of them once you've had a chance to visit.

Just to note: The cafeteria on the nearby Harvard Science Building is open to all for a snack, lunch, coffee, etc.

Have a great time.

Winchester...
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3. Re: Harvard Museum of Natural History

I haven't been in years - it used to be a great place to see things like shrunken heads, unwrapped mummies, a pickled gorilla head and hand, but I think they've cleaned up most of that stuff years ago. I pretty sure you can still see a diorama of a Heath Hen and her chicks, some whale skeletons, some dinosaurs, some nice dioramas. There is probably still a good exhibit of native american stuff, including eskimo sunglasses.

Quite honestly I don't think I've ever paid to see the glass flowers (used to be separate admission) - not clear to me what the appeal of them would be.

N Dartmouth MA
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4. Re: Harvard Museum of Natural History

The appeal of the glass flowers is you can't believe what you're looking at is made of glass. It's just something you have to see.

I would also vote for minerals and mammals.

Edited: 16 January 2011, 15:23
boston, ma
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5. Re: Harvard Museum of Natural History

Minerals and mammals are definitely worth seeing. The Great Hall of Mammals was refubished in 2009 and the African exhibit was remounted last year. The great thing about this museum is that it retains the look and feel of a 19th century museum and is an experience quite a bit different from modern museums.

Cambridge, MA
1 post
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6. Re: Harvard Museum of Natural History

The Harvard Museum of Natural History is more than half renovated in the last few years, so there's no more mothball smell, and most of the 500 animals have been cleaned and dusted. The new exhibits on Language of Color (how animals communicate with color, with live poison dart frogs) and Headgear, on horns and antlers..I think are fascinating. And don't miss the Great Mammal Hall, with three huge whale skeletons hanging from the ceiling..even if you just walk in briefly. Ditto for the 42 foot Kronosaurus. Three hours is plenty of time to see the whole museum, if you don't linger long over too many cool creatures. On weekends there are volunteers in the galleries with real specimens you can examine, and even touch, but it's definitely less crowded on weekday afternoons.

Georgia
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7. Re: Harvard Museum of Natural History

Another vote for the stuffed mammels, skeletons and minerals!,

And the 3 hours should cover it.

8. Re: Harvard Museum of Natural History

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