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Visiting the Harvard Museum of Natural History

Visiting the Harvard Museum of Natural History

This Friday, I was able to take a half day (hooray for vacation rollover!), so I decided to use my time off to do something fun and different. Earlier that weekend, my boyfriend, Matt, found out about the Harvard Museum of Natural History while looking up fun things to do in Boston. I was surprised that after several months of living in Boston (and 22 years of living in the Greater Boston Area), I didn’t know this place existed. Since the weather was less than desirable — AKA, several inches of heavy snow — we figured spending time walking around a museum would be a good way to go somewhere cool and different but stay shielded  from the snow.

LOCATION AND ACCESSIBILITY:

The museum is a short walk from the Harvard T stop and practically steps from Harvard Yard. The museum is located at 26 Oxford Street, Cambridge, which sounds like a very British address to me. Various buildings of sciences, from zoology to computer science to chemistry, surround the museum; this is no coincidence, as many contributions to the museum are from student and faculty research.

Harvard Museum of Natural History
This section is part of the Earth & Planetary Sciences exhibition.
Harvard Museum of Natural History
This section named each of these rare and interesting rocks and named the country in which each was discovered. I was surprised by all the cool varieties in the U.S. alone!

THE MUSEUM’S EXHIBITIONS:

The exhibitions, though very different, are very interesting, with a great amount of artifacts and replicas. I found myself immersed in the animal kingdom of Africa, in a New England forest, in Native American villages, and in prehistoric times through the highlight of sights that make up the museum. Anthropods: Creatures That Rule is another highlight; this exhibition includes a honeybee installation at certain times of the year. Finally, the famous glass exhibitions, Glass Flowers and Sea Creatures in Glass, are captivating and memorable spots.

Peabody Museum
This exhibition, which was part of the Peabody Museum, called Arts of War, included weaponry, armor, and helmets used throughout various periods and cultures.
Peabody Museum
The Peabody Museum also features ceramic pieces from different nations, cultures, and eras.
Peabody Museum
One ongoing exhibition features artifacts from different Native American tribes. It was fascinating to see differences in their day-to-day lives, transportation methods, and housing styles.

ADMISSION:

If you have an active Harvard ID, admission to the museum is free. However, if you aren’t an employee or student at Harvard, admission is $12.00 for adults, or $10.00 for students with a non-Harvard student ID. (Unfortunately, my college ID says “Class of 2016” on it, so I can’t milk those discounts anymore. So sad.) Admission to the Peabody Museum Of Archaeology and Ethnology, which is next door and attached, is included in the purchase of entry to the Museum of Natural History.

Harvard Museum of Natural History
Equus: a genus of mammals in the family Equidae, i.e. horses, donkeys, etc. Also, the play that featured a naked Daniel Radcliffe standing beside a horse.
Harvard Museum of Natural History
Even some prehistoric animal bones make up a prehistoric exhibition. This guy is the world’s only mounted Kronosaurus, a marine reptile at over 40 feet. I definitely wouldn’t want to come face-to-face with that thing.
Harvard Museum of Natural History
The Evolution exhibition explores Charles Darwin’s famous theory.

HOURS OF OPERATION:

The museum is open almost every day from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, with the exception of a few holidays. However, they stayed open a little later than 5:00 when I went; people were coming in and out when Matt and I left around 5:15.

Harvard Museum of Natural History
Several rooms are designed to immerse you in different ecosystems and animal habitats. This one, which reminded me of trips to Canada in the summer as a child, is intended to be a New England forest.

 

If you decide to visit the Harvard Museum of Natural History or have been there before, let me know what you think!

 

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