Nests & Eggs: New Exhibition Opens May 2007

April 1, 2007

(Cambridge, MA) The Harvard Museum of Natural History is showing a new multi-media exhibition about the myriad ways that birds nurture and protect their young, from egg to hatchling entitled: Nests & Eggs.

Featuring unique specimens—some on exhibit for the first time, still and video photography, original illustration, and hands-on experiences Nests & Eggs delights and engages learners of all ages. The exhibition will run through August 2008.

The exhibition opened in May 2007 with a lecture by Dr. Scott V. Edwards, Harvard’s Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology and Curator of Ornithology entitled: A Place to Call Home: The Ecology and Evolution of Birds’ Nests and Eggs.

Eggs come in an amazing variety of colors, shapes, sizes and textures, and birds are among the most creative homebuilders in the animal world. Drawing from the University’s extraordinary collections, Nests & Eggs features stunning displays of egg diversity, showcasing specimens that range in size from the basketball-sized egg of the extinct elephant bird to hummingbird eggs the size of coffee beans. Visitors will explore the origins of self-contained eggs, tracing them back to the earliest reptiles and discover how birds have evolved to produce eggs that meet the particular challenges of individual species and habitats.

Nests and parenting strategies also exist in amazing diversity in the avian world. Through specimens, videos, and photographs Nests & Eggs highlights this diversity—from the simple ground nests of ostriches to the elaborate nests built by weaverbirds to the egg-nurturing strategies of birds like penguins that build no nests at all.

Nests and Eggs offer clues to bird behavior, ecology and evolution. “This exhibit inspires visitors to look more closely at the world around them, to see and think about the familiar in new ways.” said Elisabeth Werby, Executive Director of the Harvard Museum of Natural History. “Harvard’s ornithology collections are world-renowned, and we’re thrilled to present such wonderful specimens to the public.”

A range of activities within the exhibition includes a microscope station for close observation of the properties of eggs and birds; the opportunity to observe the variety of eggshell textures: chalky, rough, smooth, shiny, oily; and a challenge, using binoculars, to find nests and eggs hidden high above eye level. An exhibit favorite is an osprey nest mounted on a telephone pole, with a mirror on the ceiling so visitors can see the osprey eggs. On weekends, visitors can try egg-rolling and hands-on exploration of nests, fossilized dinosaur eggshell, and other specimens.

The Harvard Museum of Natural History is located at 26 Oxford Street, Cambridge, MA, a six-minute walk from the Harvard Square T station. The Museum is handicapped accessible. For general information please call 617.495.3045 or see the Plan your visit page.

Harvard Museum of Natural History
With a mission to enhance public understanding and appreciation of the natural world and the human place in it, the Harvard Museum of Natural History draws on the University’s collections and research to present a historic and interdisciplinary exploration of science and nature. More than 165,000 visitors annually make it the University’s most-visited museum.
Nests & Eggs has been organized by the Harvard Museum of Natural History.

The Nests & Eggs press release is available for download in pdf format.

See also: Press Release