The expansive collection of the Harvard Museum of Natural History, located on the grounds of Harvard University, comes from the school’s major research museums. Visitors will find fabulous displays of fossils and dinosaurs, taxidermied animals from around the world, exquisite glass models of plants, and more at this family-friendly museum.
Established in 1998, the museum displays the historical findings of the university’s three research museums: the Harvard University Herbaria, the Museum of Comparative Zoology, and the Harvard Mineralogical Museum. New exhibitions typically showcase research being done at the university, and the museum’s expansive hands-on educational program means families with small children will find plenty to keep them entertained during a visit here. One of its most popular and acclaimed exhibitions is Glass Flowers
, a collection of over 4,000 models that represent more than 830 plant species, which were created by glass artisans Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka.
Combine a visit to the Harvard Museum of Natural History with a guided Harvard campus walking tour, or visit independently with the Go Boston Card, which also includes admission to other city and regional highlights such as Fenway Park, the Museum of Science (skip-the-line access), the Paul Revere House, and the Salem Witch Museum.
Things to Know Before You Go
How to Get There
- The Harvard Museum of Natural History is a must-visit for science and nature enthusiasts and popular with children.
- An accessible entrance and elevator are located at the north entrance, on the left side of the building.
- Personal photography is allowed, but the use of flash and tripods is not permitted.
- Limited parking is available for visitors in nearby garages; permits can be purchased in advance online.
- The museum has a gift shop with wonderful collection-related items for children and adults.
- Because the Museum of Natural History is connected to the Peabody Museum, one admission price grants access to both collections.
The Harvard Museum of Natural History is located at 26 Oxford Street, just north of Kirkland Street, across from the Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments, in Cambridge. Via the Boston subway (known as the T), take the Red Line to Harvard station, then walk through Harvard Yard and one block down Oxford Street, about an 8-minute walk. You can also take the Fitchburg bus to Porter Square, from which the museum is less than a mile.When to Get There
Expect to encounter the biggest crowds in Cambridge during the summer months, when travelers, especially families, are on vacation. Also, keep in mind that the museum is free to Massachusetts residents Sunday mornings from 9am to 12pm and on Wednesdays from 3pm to 5pm (September through May), so those times may be busy as well.
Harvard Art Museums
This museum collective is comprised of the Fogg Museum, the Busch-Reisinger Museum, and the Arthur M. Sackler Museum. The Fogg Museum is home to Western paintings, sculpture, photographs, and more, from the Middle Ages to present day; the Busch-Reisinger Museum contains art from central and northern Europe; and the Arthur M. Sackler Museum focuses on Asia, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean.