Harvard University Herbaria
The Harvard University Herbaria and Botanical Museum are institutions located on the grounds of Harvard University
Harvard University is a private Ivy League university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the first corporation chartered in the country...
at 22 Divinity Avenue, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Cambridge is a city in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States, in the Greater Boston area. It was named in honor of the University of Cambridge in England, an important center of the Puritan theology embraced by the town's founders. Cambridge is home to two of the world's most prominent...
. The Botanical Museum is one of three which comprise the Harvard Museum of Natural History
Harvard Museum of Natural History
The Harvard Museum of Natural History is a natural history museum on the grounds of Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.It has three parts:* the Harvard University Herbaria* the Museum of Comparative Zoology* the Harvard Mineralogical Museum....
The Herbaria, founded in 1842 by Asa Gray
-References:*Asa Gray. Dictionary of American Biography. American Council of Learned Societies, 1928–1936.*Asa Gray. Encyclopedia of World Biography, 2nd ed. 17 Vols. Gale Research, 1998.*Asa Gray. Plant Sciences. 4 vols. Macmillan Reference USA, 2001....
, are one of the 10 largest in the world with over 5 million specimens, and including the Botany Libraries, form the world's largest university owned herbarium. HUH hosts the Gray Herbarium Index (GCI) as well as an extensive specimen, botanist, and publications database. HUH was the center for botanical research in the United States of America by the time of its founder's retirement in the 1870s. The materials deposited there are one of the three major sources for the International Plant Names Index.
The Botanical museum was founded in 1858. It was originally called the Museum of Vegetable Products and was predominantly focused on an interdisciplinary study of useful plants (i.e. economic botany
Economic botany can be very broadly defined as a study of relationships between plants and people. Economic botany contributes significantly to anthropology, biology, conservation, botany, and other fields of science...
Horticulture is the industry and science of plant cultivation including the process of preparing soil for the planting of seeds, tubers, or cuttings. Horticulturists work and conduct research in the disciplines of plant propagation and cultivation, crop production, plant breeding and genetic...
). The nucleus of materials for this museum was donated by Sir William Hooker
William Jackson Hooker
Sir William Jackson Hooker, FRS was an English systematic botanist and organiser. He held the post of Regius Professor of Botany at Glasgow University, and was the first Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. He enjoyed the friendship and support of Sir Joseph Banks for his exploring,...
, the Director of the Royal Botanic Garden at Kew
Kew is a place in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames in South West London. Kew is best known for being the location of the Royal Botanic Gardens, now a World Heritage Site, which includes Kew Palace...
. George Lincoln Goodalle became the museum's first director in 1888; under his direction the building was completed in 1890 and provided both research facilities and public exhibit space, which were the botanical complement to the "Agassiz
Jean Louis Rodolphe Agassiz was a Swiss paleontologist, glaciologist, geologist and a prominent innovator in the study of the Earth's natural history. He grew up in Switzerland and became a professor of natural history at University of Neuchâtel...
" Museum of Comparative Zoology
Museum of Comparative Zoology
The Museum of Comparative Zoology, full name "The Louis Agassiz Museum of Comparative Zoology", often abbreviated simply to "MCZ", is a zoology museum located on the grounds of Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It is one of three museums which collectively comprise the Harvard Museum...
. Three successive directors substantially enlarged the collections of economic products, medicinal plants, artifacts
An artifact or artefact is "something made or given shape by man, such as a tool or a work of art, esp an object of archaeological interest"...
, archeological materials, pollen
Pollen is a fine to coarse powder containing the microgametophytes of seed plants, which produce the male gametes . Pollen grains have a hard coat that protects the sperm cells during the process of their movement from the stamens to the pistil of flowering plants or from the male cone to the...
, and photographs.
A faculty is a division within a university comprising one subject area, or a number of related subject areas...
A student is a learner, or someone who attends an educational institution. In some nations, the English term is reserved for those who attend university, while a schoolchild under the age of eighteen is called a pupil in English...
s continue to add significantly to the extensive paleobotanical
Paleobotany, also spelled as palaeobotany , is the branch of paleontology or paleobiology dealing with the recovery and identification of plant remains from geological contexts, and their use for the biological reconstruction of past environments , and both the evolutionary history of plants, with a...
collections, particularly Precambrian
The Precambrian is the name which describes the large span of time in Earth's history before the current Phanerozoic Eon, and is a Supereon divided into several eons of the geologic time scale...
material containing early life forms.
The Oakes Ames
Oakes Ames (botanist)
Oakes Ames was an American botanist specializing in orchids. His estate is now the Borderland State Park in Massachusetts....
Collection of Economic Botany, the Paleobotanical Collection (including the Pollen Collection), and the Margaret Towle Collection of Archaeological Plant Remains are housed in the Botanical Museum building. The Botany libraries and various herbaria are located in the Harvard University Herbaria building.
The Ware Collection of Glass Models of Plants, popularly known as the "Glass Flowers
The Glass Flowers, formally The Ware Collection of Blaschka Glass Models of Plants, is a famous collection of highly-realistic glass botanical models at the Harvard Museum of Natural History at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts....
," are considered one of the University's great treasures. Commissioned by Goodale and created by Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka from 1887 through 1936, the collection comprises over 3,000 models including life-size and enlarged parts for over 840 species
In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. While in many cases this definition is adequate, more precise or differing measures are...
. This is the only collection of its type in the world.
The Botanical Museum of Harvard University and the other museums that comprise the Harvard Museum of Natural History are physically connected to the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology
Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology
The Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology is a museum affiliated with Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.Founded in 1866, the Peabody Museum is one of the oldest and largest museums focusing on anthropological material, and is particularly strong in New World ethnography and...
and one admission grants visitors access to all museums.