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The Harvard Museum of Natural History presents engaging lectures and programs to excite the public about natural history. Our lectures and programs are open to the public and held in the Geological Lecture Hall on 24 Oxford Street, unless otherwise noted below. Please see Plan Your Visit for directions and parking information. HMNH is one of four museums in a vibrant new partnership, the Harvard Museums of Science & Culture, which also includes the Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology, the Harvard Semitic Museum, and the Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments. 

Browse the new HMSC Fall 2014 Program Guide
Find lectures, exhibitions, special events, and classes at the four HMSC museums through December 2014


Alfred Russel Wallace’s Malay Archipelago

Andrew Berry, Lecturer on Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University

Saturday, November 8, 2:00 pm

Alfred Russel Wallace, who co-discovered the theory of evolution by natural selection with Charles Darwin, was a remarkable scientist-explorer. His eight years of travel in Southeast Asia (1854–1862) greatly influenced his scientific thinking and resulted in the discovery of thousands of new species, as well as a wonderful account of his journeys, The Malay Archipelago. To celebrate the release of a new edition of this classic work, Andrew Berry will tell Wallace’s extraordinary story, discussing how the book originated and how it shaped future generations of scientific travel.

Lecture. Regular museum admission rates apply.
Haller Hall, enter at 26 Oxford Street
Free event parking available at the 52 Oxford Street Garage


Four Kingdoms under One Roof

Donald Pfister, Asa Gray Professor of Systematic Botany and Curator of the Farlow Library and Herbarium, Harvard University

Thursday, November 13, 6:00 pm

The Farlow Library and Herbarium of Cryptogamic Botany is steward of a world-class collection of books, archives, and specimens related to four different types of organisms—fungi, protista, plants, and monera—that play key roles in nature and society. Founded by William G. Farlow in the nineteenth century, the collection celebrates its 90th anniversary in 2014. From expanding our understanding of plant diseases and helping us assess the impact of climate change and habitat destruction on geographic distributions of organisms, to offering insights into ancient ecosystems, the Farlow collection advances scientific research that is relevant to society and our understanding of life on Earth. Join mycologist Donald Pfister in an exploration of the history and impact of this unique Harvard collection.

Lecture and Reception. To obtain complimentary tickets, please register here.
Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford Street
Presented in collaboration with the Friends of the Farlow
Free event parking available at the 52 Oxford Street Garage

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Katrina van Grouw, Artist and Ornithologist

Saturday, November 15, 1:00 pm

Imagine that you could see beneath the fluff and feather of a bird to view bone and muscle in action. What would this perspective reveal about movement, structure, and evolution? The Unfeathered Bird is a magnum opus, twenty-five years in the making, that features 385 finely-rendered drawings and paintings of 200 bird species. In a program intended for artists, scientists, and bird lovers alike, Katrina van Grouw will explain her approach to preparing and drawing the specimens featured in her book and share her insights into bird anatomy and biomechanics.

Lecture and Book Signing. Regular museum admission rates apply.
Haller Hall, enter at 26 Oxford Street
Free event parking available at the 52 Oxford Street Garage


Wabanaki Diplomacy and Sustainability Science in Maine

Darren Ranco, Associate Professor of Anthropology and Coordinator of Native American Research, University of Maine

Tuesday, November 18, 6:00 pm

Brown ash trees sustain the ancestral basket-making traditions of the Wabanaki people of Maine and play a key role in their creation myths. These trees are now threatened by the emerald ash borer, a beetle that has already killed millions of ash trees in the eastern United States. Wabanaki tribes and basket makers have joined forces with foresters, university researchers, and landowners to develop and deploy actions aimed at preventing an invasion by this insect. Anthropologist Darren Ranco discusses how the stakeholders in this interdisciplinary effort are using sustainability science and drawing from Wabanaki forms of diplomacy to influence state and federal responses to the emerald ash borer and prevent the demise of the ash trees central to Wabanaki culture.

Lecture. Free and open to the public. Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford Street
Presented jointly with the Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology
The Legacy of Penobscot Canoes: A View from the River, an exhibition in the Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology, will remain open until 9:00 pm following the lecture.
Offered in collaboration with the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University
Free event parking available at the 52 Oxford Street Garage