Harvard Museum of Natural History – Cambridge, Massachusetts - Atlas Obscura

Harvard Museum of Natural History

Three prestigious academic collections come together to create a world-class natural history museum. 


Collecting three different institutions into one massive museum, the Harvard Museum of Natural History is a collection of collections that provides more wonders per square inch than almost any other site. 

The Harvard Museum of Natural History consists (remarkably within one building) of the Museum of Comparative Zoology, the Harvard Herbaria, and the Mineralogical and Geological Museum.  Admission gives visitors free reign over the permanent collections and special showcases of each institution, presenting an incredible overview of culture and science rarely seen in any institution.  

More than 12,000 of the 21 million specimens kept by Harvard University within its research facilities are on display at the museum including an assembled dodo skeleton, a collection of mounted human skulls, and the renowned collection of over 3,000 glass flowers once used to teach botany to students in the 19th and early 20th centuries. 

Aside from the oddities housed therein, the museum is notably well-curated around winding staircases, tightly-packed hallways, and awe-inspiring exhibitions. Along with the American Museum of Natural History in New York, and the British Museum in London, the Harvard Museum of Natural History may be one of the most astounding collections of natural wonders in the known and unknown world. 

Know Before You Go

Coming out of Harvard Yard (past the Science Center), Oxford Street will be the first real road you'll come across. Head left and within a few blocks, you'll find the deep red brick building on your right.

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