Hi everyone. Today's journey takes you to Cambridge, Massachusetts in the US to Harvard University. Monday I took 16 of my students on a little journey there to visit their Natural History Museum. It is one of my favorite museums, and if you like nature and even nature art, and you are ever in the Boston area, I highly recommend the visit.
The museum has been around for many years, and it has that old kind of feel to it. Harvard has redone much of it, but it is still wonderful. I love the old feel.
They have many taxidermied animals.
Some fossilized skeletons.
This is a ferocious giant sloth and below is the gorilla. I wouldn't want to run into either of them.
This awesome fish called the coelocanth which is a missing between fish and land animals. If you look closely at its fins, they are little legs with fins on the end. (Sorry, their specimen is in a golden colored liquid to preserve it. It doesn't help the photo at all though). In 1938 one was caught off the Comoro Islands near Africa, and this animal that they thought was extinct and only knew about in fossils was actually found.
They also have lots of beautiful insects on display too.
I think the most exciting thing is the glass flowers though. These are amazing and don't look like glass at all. In fact, when you look at them you think they are real, freshly picked and put in the old cases. They were made by a father and son team, Leopold and Rudolph Blaschka , of Germany between 1866 and 1938. When the son died the art went with him. Although the Blaschkas made glass models of marine life for general sale, the flowers were commissioned especially for Harvard and I believe this is the only place you can see them.
There are a lot, like 40,000, and I am not sure all are on display, but here's a sampling of photos I took.
The white dots below are light reflections on the glass of the cases, not holes in the glass.
Some of my kids and I had a big chat around the glass bananas and their flowers. We had talked about how our present bananas, the Cavendish variety, is being slowly wiped out by a fungus. The age of this means these are not Cavendish, but the form that went extinct in the 1960's called the Gross Michel. The kids saw this before me and called me over. I love it when they actually have a real connection between the world and what we do in class.
This team also made some glass sea animals before they were contracted to do the flowers.
Of course this is only a small sampling of the museum. I took a bunch of other photos but I think you can get the gist.
Hope enjoyed your virtual museum trip. :)