The Rockefeller Beetles Exhibit Opens Saturday, October 20, 2018 at Harvard Museum of Natural History

September 10, 2018

“The collection is superb, worldwide, and the biggest collection ever donated to Harvard University’s Museum of Comparative Zoology as far as we know,” said the MCZ’s entomology curator Brian D. Farrell.

Over the span of 90 years, banker and philanthropist David Rockefeller collected beetles from around the world, eventually building a personal collection of more than 150,000 specimens. In 2017, his longstanding support for the entomology department of the Harvard University Museum of Comparative Zoology culminated in a gift to the museum of this extraordinary collection.

The Harvard Museum of Natural History celebrates this monumental gift with The Rockefeller Beetles—a new exhibit that features hundreds of specimens from this exceptional collection and that recounts the story of a man whose childhood pursuit grew into a lifelong passion.

“The collection is especially important for the rare and nearly impossible-to-obtain Amazonian specimens,” said Farrell. “It has specimens of literally hundreds of rare species, otherwise known only from a few specimens in other museums worldwide.”

The Rockefeller Beetles opens Saturday, October 20, 2018 at the Harvard Museum of Natural History and will be ongoing.  See the related 2017 free public lecture by Brian D. Farrell with an introduction by Harvard Professor Emeritus Edward O. Wilson.

About the 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 250,000 visitors annually make it the University’s most-visited museum.

The Harvard Museum of Natural History is located at 26 Oxford Street, an 8-minute walk through historic Harvard Yard from the Harvard Square T station. For general information on exhibits, public events, parking, and times for free visitation for Massachusetts residents, visit the website at, or call 617-495-3045.

The Harvard Museum of Natural History is one of the four Harvard Museums of Science & Culture.

Media contact:

Faith Sutter, faith_sutter [at]


High resolution images are available on request.

See also: Press Release