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Harvard Museum of Natural History

26 Oxford Street, Cambridge, MA 02138
617 495 3045
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Top Rated
$40*
and up
Boston Shore Excursion: Cambridge, Lexington and...
93%
Ranked #5 of 42 Attractions in Cambridge
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Type: Natural History Museums, Museums
Fee: Yes
Owner description: More than 12,000 specimens are on display, including the renowned...
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Attraction details
Type: Natural History Museums, Museums
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: More than 12,000 specimens are on display, including the renowned collection of 3,000 'Glass Flowers,' amazingly realistic flame-worked glass models of flowering plants commissioned to teach botany to students in the early 20th century. Family favorites include the dinosaurs and prehistoric mammals as well as more than 500 current day mammals, including skeletons of a rhino, hippo, giraffe and three whales. Outstanding Earth Sciences gallery with rare minerals and meteorites. New exhibits on New England Forests, Sea Creatures in Glass, Mollusks: Shelled Masters of the Marine Realm.
Useful Information: Activities for older children, Activities for young children
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426 reviews from our community

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English first
Hong Kong, China
2 reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 14, 2014

I visited this museum only because it is free for Massachusetts residents on Sunday before noon, but I was pretty blown away by the quality of the exhibit. For a university museum, it had a truly amazing selection of mammals and birds and several impressive skeletons of dinosaurs. I couldn't believe that such a small museum would have an elephant,... More 

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Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
15 attraction reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 14, 2014

There is an impressive glass flower collection - the amazing thing is that the flowers look like real flowers not like glass flowers which they actually are. I was also impressed by the collection of crystals, among them very big and rare ones. There are also mammals and stuff like that in which I wasn't interested that much, honestly. But... More 

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Norwich, Vermont
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 11, 2014

Love the glass flowers, rocks, and animal exhibits. We spent 3 hours and could have spent more time.

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Aspley Guise, England, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
56 reviews 56 reviews
22 attraction reviews
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 8, 2014

I went specifically to see the Ware Collection of Glass Flowers which I'd known about for years. I was overwhelmed by the size of the collection. The models are truly stunning. Not always easy to view some items in the collection because of the display cabinets and low lighting. But nevertheless an impressive collection and a must see for anyone... More 

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New Haven, Connecticut
Top Contributor
111 reviews 111 reviews
25 attraction reviews
51 helpful votes 51 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 2, 2014

There's something for everyone in the family at the combined Peabody/Harvard Natural History Museum. The Maya exhibit is fascinating, but the climate change story boards are not inviting. The gem room is spectacular, as are the glass botanical specimens, though they are displayed too high for kids under about age 10.

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Dublin Ireland
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
4 attraction reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 27, 2014

We spent a great day exploring the extensive collection. The glass flowers are a beautiful and unique collection. The minerals collection is extensive. Given the size of the museum we were expecting to stay an hour or two but were nearly 5 and still didn't get to see everything in great detail.

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Stamford CT
Top Contributor
125 reviews 125 reviews
63 attraction reviews
58 helpful votes 58 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 15, 2014

Strong points: Amazing collections of the famous "glass flowers:" crystals, geodes, etc; dinosaur skeletons and more; examples of taxidermy from tiny birds to giant giraffes. Areas for improvement: although a few exhibits have been updated, like the one of the forests/wetlands of New England, most of the museum feels unchanged since the days of Teddy Roosevelt, when rich white men... More 

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Alexandria, Virginia
Senior Contributor
42 reviews 42 reviews
5 attraction reviews
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 13, 2014

My wife and I decided to spend the afternoon in Cambridge. After a fun lunch at Mr. Barley's we decided to visit the Harvard Museum of Natural History. I like museums, but natural history is not one of my favorite topics, so my expectations were low. Boy was I in for a surprise. The museum has an unbelievably comprehensive collection... More 

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Arlington, MA
Senior Contributor
44 reviews 44 reviews
8 attraction reviews
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 13, 2014

The only thing I would add is that if you are an adult visiting the museum with no children in tow, weekday afternoons are supposed to be quieter than the mornings with school groups visiting, per the desk attendant. Unfortunately the weekday afternoon we were there seemed to be the exception, with several school groups running noisily through the rooms... More 

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Cambridge, Massachusetts
Top Contributor
91 reviews 91 reviews
49 attraction reviews
45 helpful votes 45 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 3, 2014

This museum is world renowned for its glass flower collection. Quite amazing and well worth seeing, if only to ooh and ahh and marvel at the detailed work and how they were used historically. I like the animal/taxidermy exhibits. And the Thoreau/Maine photos. ANd I love that it is not overwhelming. The size makes it very doable. Even with young... More 

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