Harvard Museum of Natural History
|This article relies largely or entirely upon a single source. (January 2011)|
The Harvard Museum of Natural History is a natural history museum on the grounds of Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It displays a sampling of specimens drawn from the collections of the University's three natural history research museums:
The museum is physically connected to the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology and one admission grants visitors access to both museums. In December 2012, Harvard announced a new consortium, the Harvard Museums of Science and Culture, whose members are the Harvard Museum of Natural History, the Semitic Museum, the Peabody Museum, and the Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments.
The Harvard Museum of Natural History was created in 1998 as the “public face” of three research museums — the Museum of Comparative Zoology, the Harvard Mineralogical and Geological Museum, and the Harvard University Herbaria. Its exhibitions draw on Harvard University’s natural history collections; Harvard’s research faculty provides expertise; and programs for members and the general public provide an exchange of information and ideas. With more than 200,000 visitors in 2012, the Harvard Museum of Natural History is the University’s most-visited museum. The Harvard Museum of Natural History is one of four public museums which are part of a new consortium created in 2012, the Harvard Museums of Science and Culture.
In the Museum’s permanent galleries, visitors encounter the 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 new research at the University. Current exhibitions include The Language of Color, on how animals communicate with color, and Mollusks: Shelled Masters of the Marine Realm (through Feb 2014), and New England Forests.
The Museum’s educational programs provides 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 activities. The museum host regular free presentations by Harvard biologists, international conservationists, and popular authors that lead their audiences to a closer look at current issues in the world of science and nature.
A travel program complements the museum’s mission to enhance awareness of the natural world. Travelling in small groups often led by Harvard science faculty, Museum travellers experience destinations that are of particular importance as recognized hotspots of biodiversity.
The museum is member-based, with over 3,200[dated info] 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.
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