Photo by Richard T. Nowitz/agefotostock
In addition to being the nation’s most prestigious university, Harvard operates more than a dozen museums, from the unusual (the Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments) to the intriguing (the Semitic Museum, with more than 40,000 artifacts unearthed in archaeological digs in Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Syria, and Tunisia). The Harvard campus in Cambridge is home to a trio of museums devoted to art (Fogg, Busch-Reisinger, and Sackler), but by far the most popular is the Harvard Museum of Natural History. Proving that people will collect almost anything, the museum includes more than a million samples of fungi and algae in its Herbarium, but if you don’t want to gather moss, the vastly more interesting exhibits include a gallery of glass flowers and an active bee colony. Much of the museum is comprised of animals and birds that scientists back in the day thought important enough to shoot, stuff, and mount for display, including a now-extinct passenger pigeon.
By Bob Curley, AFAR Local Expert
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