A Peek at Harvard's Other Museums

Glass Flowers and MCZ Draw Big Crowds

The Busch-Reisinger Museum

Currently 66 projects of well-known twentieth century architect Walter Gropius are on exhibit at the Busch-Reisinger, representing several phases of his work. The museum holds extensive collections of Central and Northern European paintings, drawings, prints, and sculptures. The Busch-Reisinger, along with the Fogg and Arthur M. Sackler Museums, makes up the Harvard University Art Museums.

Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology

Artifacts from prehistoric and historic cultures including Europe's Paleolithic and Iron Age cultures are housed here. Currently, the Peabody is showing exhibits of North American Indian basketry, Maya Culture, and the American Southwest. There is also a room of Melanesian artifacts.

The Harvard University Museums of Natural History


This building houses the four Harvard University Museums of Natural History: the Museum of Comparative Zoology, the Botanical Museum, the Mineralogical and Geological Museums, and the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology. While each museum is administratively separate, one admission price allows entrance to all four. The museums are open 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday. The admission price is $2.00 for adults, $1.50 for students and senior citizens, and $.50 for children under 15. Harvard students and faculty are admitted free with a Harvard ID.

The Semitic Museum

The Semitic Museum houses the Middle and Near Eastern collection. It just reopened its doors in 1982 after a 40 year intermission. In World War II, the museum building was used by the U.S. Navy, and collections were moved to the attic and the basement. The museum continued to operate out of the basement until 1982 when the building was returned to its initial use. Visitors can currently see part of the Salah Merrill Collection, photos of the Semitic Museum excavations at ancient Carthage (concluded in 1980), ancient statutes, and a variety of ancient artifacts such as oil lamps and glass. Hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays. There is no admission charge, although donations are accepted.

Museum of Comparative Zoology

Current exhibits here include "20 Million Years of Human Evolution," "Chemistry of Heredity," and "Extinct and Vanishing Birds of North America." Among the museum's specimens are George Washington's pheasants, whale skeletons, the largest turtle shell ever found, and a 42 foot long Kronosaurus skeleton.

The Botanical Museum

This museum houses one of Harvard's most famous attractions, the glass flowers collection. The 7880 species represented in 784 life-sized models and 3218 enlarged flowers attract more than 100,000 visitors every year. A survey of the guest register for one week shows visitors from Israel, Australia, England, Colombia, and Hawaii.

Mineralogical and Geological Museums

These museums have specimens of over 75,000 ores, 50,000 minerals, and 514 meteorites, many of which are on display. Some of the more striking specimens are a piece of quartz from the French Alps containing over 1200 separate crystals and a 90 percent pure piece of silver that weighs 140 pounds.