Exhibitions

 

You won’t find exhibits like these anywhere else in New England. Comprehensive in scope, yet intimate in scale, the museum presents a rare glimpse at the exotic and a fresh look at the familiar.

Africa

Africa ExhibitVisitors can see impressive mounted specimens of African wildlife collected over a century ago, including a hippopotamus, lion, ostrich, hyena, gorilla, and a variety of rare animals from the island of Madagascar. An interactive video display highlights endangered species.

Arthropods: Creatures That Rule

Butterflies for Arthropod exhibitionFeaturing hands-on activities, dramatic specimen displays, colorful video and graphics, and even live specimens, this exhibition draws on the latest scientific research to explore arthropods' extraordinary evolutionary success and their impact on our lives.

Asia

Africa ExhibitThis gallery features mounted wildlife specimens from Asia. It includes a rare Indian rhinoceros, Siberian and Bengal tigers, and a cheetah.

Birds of the World

Birds of the worldOn the balcony encircling the museum's Great Mammal Hall, the Birds of the World gallery captures the extraordinary diversity of birds with many hundreds of stunning specimens that represent over 200 different bird families.

Cenozoic Mammals

Cenozoic exhibitThis gallery features fossils from the Cenozoic Era, also known as the Age of Mammals. It was marked by the extinction of dinosaurs 65 million years ago.

Central and South America

Central and South America ExhibitThis gallery features mounted wildlife specimens from Central and South America. The exhibit includes a jaguar, tapir, sloth, giant armadillo, a large wall of hummingbirds, and a seven-foot Amazon pirarucu, one of the largest ever caught.

Climate Change

Climate ChangeRecently redesigned and updated, this exhibition draws on the latest scientific information about our warming climate, the global and local consequences, how to reduce fossil-fuel emissions that cause it, and how to prepare for its effects.

Earth & Planetary Sciences

AmethistThis expansive gallery displays thousands of rare rock and mineral specimens, sparkling gemstones, a 1,600-pound amethyst geode, meteorites, and much more about the processes and events that have shaped Earth's evolution.

Evolution

Chimpanzee in Evolution exhibitEvolution offers a behind-the-scenes look at ongoing evolution research at Harvard, from exciting new discoveries about human origins, to surprising insights from new genetic and developmental studies on Darwin's finches.

Fruits in Decay

Two strawberries, one covered in mold, the second one is rotting.Fruits in Decay is a special exhibit in the Glass Flowers gallery that explores blight, rot, and other diseases on summer fruits.

Glass Flowers

ArthropodsOne of Harvard University’s most famous treasures is the internationally acclaimed Ware Collection of Blaschka Glass Models of Plants, better known as the “Glass Flowers." This unique collection was made by Leopold (1822-1895) and Rudolf Blaschka (1857-1939), a father and son team of Czech glass artists. Over fifty years, from 1886 through 1936, the Blaschkas produced 4,300 glass models that represent 780 plant species.

Great Mammal Hall

Great Mammal HallThe Great Mammal Hall, an expansive two-story gallery (60 ft. by 40 ft.), is the most dramatic gallery in the museum. It displays a large selection of mammals from a full-size giraffe and whale skeletons suspended from the ceiling to the smallest of creatures. The second-story balcony houses the Birds of the World exhibit.

Lily Simonson: Painting the Deep

Painting from Lily Simonson Exhibit.This exhibit presents six original mural-sized paintings that literally glow with luminescent pigments and together create an immersive visual experience, giving form to a hidden alien universe.

Marine Life

Squids displayed in an ocean diorama.This exhibit immerses visitors in the remarkable diversity and dynamic interplay among animals in marine communities just off New England shores.

Microbial Life

Microbial Life Winogradsky Scott ChimileskiThis exhibit takes visitors on a journey into the fascinating, invisible realm where bacteria and other microbes bustle about their lives, interacting with one another and with organisms of all sizes in every corner of the globe.

New England Forests

BearNew England Forests in the Zofnass Family Gallery is a multi-media exhibition that explores the natural history and ecology of this region’s forests.

Orb-Weavers

Image for the Orb-Weavers exhibitThis smaller-scale exhibit in the Arthropods gallery examines the evolution of the orb spider web and explores how capture strategies used by its arachnid builders have shaped orb web design.

The Rockefeller Beetles

Rockefeller Beetles main exhibit pageThis smaller-scale exhibit in the Arthropods gallery features hundreds of specimens from banker and philanthropist David Rockefeller’s collection and recounts the story of a man whose childhood pursuit grew into a lifelong passion.

Romer Hall of Vertebrate Paleontology

TriceratopsThis exhibition showcases the evolutionary history of vertebrates, including spectacularly preserved fishes, dinosaurs, and early mammals. 

Sea Creatures in Glass

Sea creatures in glassMany years before they were commissioned by Harvard University to make the renowned Glass Flowers, father and son artists Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka meticulously shaped glass into lifelike models of marine and terrestrial animals for universities and museums throughout the world in the nineteenth century.

Exhibit Videos

Fungus Fair image

Explore short videos featured in our galleries.
 

Past Exhibits

Online Exhibitions

Face to Face

Painting of a Lion Cub.This exhibit showcases Jana Matusz's striking portraits of animal specimens, in which the use of color and texture gives a voice and life to them.

What's in a Name?

Photo of Lions Mane JellyfishThis exhibit includes four interactive kiosks embedded into existing exhibits. Explore how different organisms are named. Learn more on the What's in a Name website and download the free e-book.

Islands: Evolving in Isolation

Image of green lizardThis online exhibit is an exploration of evolution on islands that highlights the latest research and discoveries made by Harvard scientists.

Floor Plan