New Director to Lead Harvard Museums of Science and Culture

December 4, 2012

Jane Pickering has been appointed executive director of the Harvard Museums of Science and Culture (HMSC), a new consortium of Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) museums at Harvard University which includes the Harvard Museum of Natural History. The other partner museums are the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, the Semitic Museum, and the Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments.

The HMSC was established on a model pioneered since 1998 by the Harvard Museum of Natural History—which serves as the public face for its partner research museums—the Museum of Comparative Zoology, the Harvard University Herbaria, and the Mineralogical and Geological Museum, which are also partners in the new consortium.

“This new era of coordination of the exhibition and outreach programs of the FAS museums on Oxford and Divinity avenues offers exciting new opportunities for teaching and scholarship within Harvard and for the public who use these museums,” said Professor James McCarthy, Alexander Agassiz Professor of Biological Oceanography, who chaired the faculty executive board that worked to develop the HMSC consortium, as quoted in the Harvard Gazette story ( ). 

“Harvard is fortunate to have some of the most comprehensive and impressive museum collections of any of our peers. In addition to enabling critical faculty research, these collections offer unparalleled resources in support of our teaching mission,” wrote FAS Dean Michael D. Smith in his announcement. “The creation of HMSC and Pickering’s appointment as the first executive director of the new consortium will help us maximize the many benefits that these museums and their world-renowned collections bring to our campus and the general public.”

Jane Pickering is currently deputy director and director of public programs at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History. She has over 20 years of museum experience, 

including stints as curator at the Oxford Museum of Natural History and as director of the M.I.T. Museum.

The HMSC museums work both independently and together, in concert with Harvard faculty, students, museum curators, and members of the Harvard community, to provide interdisciplinary exhibits, events and lectures, and educational programs for students, teachers, families, and the general public.

The Harvard Museums of Science and Culture’s goal is to foster curiosity and a spirit of discovery in visitors of all ages, enhancing public understanding of and appreciation for the natural world, science and human cultures. Together Harvard’s public HMSC museums welcome more than 220,000 visitors annually from the Harvard community and Greater Boston, as well as from all 50 states and 149 countries.

About the Harvard Museum of Natural History

Harvard’s most visited museum, the Harvard Museum of Natural History presents to the public Harvard’s natural history collections and research of scientists across the University. Its historic displays include the world-famous Blaschka “Glass Flowers”; an extensive collection of minerals and meteorites; fossil, taxidermied, and jarred specimens. New and changing multimedia exhibitions highlight current science and address contemporary issues including climate change and new insights in evolutionary biology. The museum offers a wide array of lectures, classes, and programs for learners of all ages. 

Hours and location: 9 to 5 pm daily. The Museum is closed on Thanksgiving Day, 

December 24, 25, and January 1. Admission is $12 for adults, $10 for students and 

seniors, $8 for children, 3–18. Free with Harvard ID or Museum membership. The 

Museum is free to Massachusetts residents Sundays, 9 am to noon, year round, and Wednesdays from 3 to 5 pm (September to May). Admission includes admission to the adjacent Peabody Museum. For more information, directions or parking, call 617-495-3045 or go online to The museum is located at 26 Oxford Street in Cambridge, a short walk from the Harvard Square MBTA station. 

Media Contact:

Blue Magruder

Director of Communications

Harvard Museum of Natural History


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See also: Press Release