Interior Banner for Harvard Museum of Natural History
lowerlevel_images1.png

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 are held at 26 Oxford Street, Cambridge. 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. Lectures and programs are open to the public and are held in the Geological Lecture Hall on 24 Oxford Street, unless otherwise noted below. 

 
hawaii.jpg

BIRD EXTINCTIONS IN THE HAWAIIAN ISLANDS

Helen F. James, Curator-in-Charge, Division of Birds, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution


Thursday, September 18, 6:00 pm

Ornithologist Helen James takes us to an archipelago that has been an epicenter for bird extinctions: the Hawaiian Islands. When people first set foot there approximately 800 years ago, the islands were home to a rich diversity of birds that included many unusual—even flightless—species. Most of these birds became extinct after the islands were colonized, leaving behind only their bones. James will discuss her strategies for finding the remains of these extinct species, reconstruct the history of their demise, and highlight lessons that can be drawn from their story.

Lecture. Free and open to the public.
Free event parking available in the 52 Oxford Street Garage

 
lemur.jpg

SAVING LEMURS FROM EXTINCTION
Conservation in Action

Patricia Chapple Wright, Professor of Anthropology, Stony Brook University


Thursday, October 2, 6:00 pm

Primatologist and MacArthur Fellow Patricia Chapple Wright, recipient of the 2014 Indianapolis Prize for her extraordinary contributions to conservation efforts, will discuss her work protecting the lemurs and ecosystems of Madagascar. Wright will share her experiences engaging the Malagasy government, community stakeholders, and scientists in a team effort to integrate conservation with development projects, including one collaboration that led to the establishment of Ranomafana National Park, a World Heritage Site in southern Madagascar.

Lecture and book signing. Free and open to the public
Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford St.
Presented in collaboration with the Indianapolis Prize
Free event parking available in the 52 Oxford Street Garage

 
strung.jpg

STRUNG TOGETHER
Multicellularity and String Quartets

Andrew Berry, Lecturer on Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University Ariel Mitnick, Luke Hsu, DJ Cheek, Rainer Crosett, and Alan Toda-Ambaras, Project LENS


Thursday, October 9, 6:00 pm

Participate in a lively multidisciplinary evening of science and music that considers organisms and musical ensembles in an entirely new way. In this event, Andrew Berry and the Project LENS performance collaborative will explore connections between multicellularity and the evolution of the string quartet through discussion and a performance of works by Bach, Haydn, Beethoven, and Reich.

Special Event. Free and open to the public.
Location to be determined
Free event parking available at the 52 Oxford Street Garage

 
adapting.jpg

ADAPTING SPECIES TO A CHANGING WORLD
The Potential of Genome Editing

George Church, Robert Winthrop Professor of Genetics, Harvard Medical School


Wednesday, October 15, 6:00 pm

Innovative new technologies may enable scientists to manipulate ancient and modern DNA to safeguard ecosystems from invasive organisms, help species recover their genetic diversity, and address issues of climate change. However, as geneticist George Church will discuss, while resurrecting mammoths could help maintain the Arctic permafrost, such developments require thoughtful consideration of complex system interactions and potential unintended consequences.

Lecture. Free and open to the public.
Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford Street
Free event parking available at the 52 Oxford Street Garage

 
lost_bird.jpg

REMEMBERING NORTH AMERICA’S EXTINCT BIRDS

The Lost Bird Project


Saturday, October 25, 2:00 pm

Join us for a screening of The Lost Bird Project, a film that honors five extinct North American birds: the Labrador Duck, the Great Auk, the Heath Hen, the Carolina Parakeet, and the Passenger Pigeon. Directed by Deborah Dickson, the film follows sculptor Todd McGrain as he sets out to create large bronze memorials to these lost birds and to install them in the locations where they were last seen in the wild. A discussion with McGrain and Andy Stern, the executive producer of the film, will follow the screening. A book about the project will also be available for purchase at the museum store.

Film Screening and Book Signing. Free with museum admission.
Haller Hall, enter at 26 Oxford Street
Free event parking available at the 52 Oxford Street Garage

 
fungus.jpg

HARVARD’S 2ND EVER FUNGUS FAIR

Saturday, October 25, 10:00 am–1:00 pm

Explore the wondrous world of fungi! Join Harvard students for a closer look at the mushrooms, yeasts, and molds found in gardens, forests, labs—and even in our own refrigerators. Learn about the use of fungi in common foods such as bread and cheese. This is an opportunity to investigate museum collections and participate in hands-on activities and taste tests led by Harvard students.

Special Event. Regular museum admission rates apply.
Harvard Museum of Natural History, 26 Oxford Street
Free event parking available at the 52 Oxford Street Garage

 
wallace.jpg

EIGHT EXTRAORDINARY YEARS OF SCIENTIFIC TRAVEL
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

 
farlow.jpg

MUMMIES, MILDEWS, MANNA, AND MOSSES
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. Registration required: www.hmsc.harvard.edu
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

 
unfeathered bird.jpg

THE ART AND SCIENCE OF THE UNFEATHERED BIRD

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

 
ash_basket.jpg

PROTECTING THE ASH TREE
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