Our friends J and D rank the Harvard Natural History Museum as one of their two favorite Boston destinations, along with the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Dinosaur and whale bones. A hummingbird collection. The world’s largest collection of Victorian glass flowers.
This Ivy League museum is the very definition of old school exhibition style: all the specimens are tightly grouped, even stacked, in front of bright monochrome backgrounds. Without any environmental context whatsoever, the viewer is free to think about the animals however they wish, which makes for a wonderfully poetic exploration. Contemporary museums go to extremes to recreate appropriate environments for their stuffed specimens and often avoid the relationships that are so interesting. It’s surprisingly refreshing to focus on just one thing, not the entire context.