Harvard has entered the planning stages of creating a flagship public museum that would draw from the collections of four of the University's science museums.
Dean of Faculty Jeremy R. Knowles told the journal Nature this week that the project--which has not yet gained approval from the Harvard Corporation--could run into the "hundreds of millions of dollars."
According to Joshua Basseches, the executive director of the Harvard Museum of Natural History, the new museum would present Harvard research and collections to the public.
"If this proved possible, we could share the treasures of our museum collections (e.g., the glass flowers, and many of the animal specimens and skeletons) more widely, and liberate space that is close to the Yard for teaching and research," Knowles' annual letter to the Faculty, which will be distributed next week, says.
The museum would draw from the 19 million specimens in the collections of the Peabody Museum, the Mineralogical and Geological Museum, the Botanical Museum and the Museum of Comparative Zoology. Its offerings would include the well-known glass flowers collection.
Basseches said the new museum would help ease a space crunch in the museum system that has kept many holdings out of the public view.
"Whatever plan we develop, we see it as a facility that will both create better access for undergraduates to the vast holdings of the museums and also represent a way that Harvard can contribute to the life of our community," Basseches said.
Knowles has met with heads of Harvard's museums to discuss the new museum, but University spokesperson Joe Wrinn said the project is still tentative.
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