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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 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. 

Browse the Harvard Museums of Science & Culture Spring 2014 Program Guide!


Curating the Imaginal Fields of Science and Art

Public Lecture

Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev
Edith Kreeger Wolf Distinguished Visiting Professor of Art Theory & Practice, Northwestern University

Wednesday, April 30, 6:00 pm

Curator, author, and researcher Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev served as artistic director of dOCUMENTA (13) from 2008 to 2012. In this lecture, she questions how we define artistic practice and research, using examples of artwork and displays created for dOCUMENTA (13), held in Kassel, Germany, in 2012. She further investigates how exhibits based on the accepted separation between fields of inquiry—between the physical and social sciences and art—may be reimagined for the purpose of a worldly ecology, coevolution, and flourishing. Through this reimagining, we can see new object/patterns—and make clear why matter matters.

Sponsored by the Harvard Art Museums and the Harvard Museums of Science & Culture as part of the Harvard Museums’ Seminar on Innovative Curatorial Practice.

Download the event poster
Free and open to the public
Harvard Northwest Building B-103, 52 Oxford Street
Complimentary event parking in the 52 Oxford Street Garage



Special Event

Sunday, May 4, 11:00 am–2:00 pm

Experience the art, tools, and techniques of navigation used through the ages and across the globe with Harvard students. As part of their final project, select student groups will present their research and experiences staying on path while blindfolded, creating a water clock to measure time, finding north with a sunstone, mapping in many different cultures, and many other navigation related topics. Activities will be spread throughout the museum.

Free with museum admission



Lecture and Book Signing

Stephen Palumbi, Jane and Marshall Steel Jr. Professor of Biology and Director of Hopkins Marine Station, Stanford University

Wednesday, May 7, 7:00 pm

Drawing on his newest book, The Extreme Life of the Sea, marine scientist Stephen Palumbi will explore the spectacular life forms, such as blind zombie worms, ageless jellyfish, and the unicorn-like narwhal, that thrive at the ocean’s most brutal limits. From the icy Arctic to boiling hydrothermal vents and pitch-dark trenches, Palumbi looks at extreme habitats and considers how humans may be driving dramatic changes to the ocean’s ecosystem.

Download the event poster
Free and open to the public
Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford Street
Free event parking in the 52 Oxford Street Garage


Exploring Mozambique's Gorongosa National Park

Special Event

Saturday, May 17, 2:00–6:00 pm

Located in central Mozambique, the Gorongosa National Park is home to an extraordinary diversity of ecosystems and wildlife. Established in 1960, Gorongosa was nearly destroyed during Mozambique’s civil war. Thanks to a public-private partnership created in 2004 by the Government of Mozambique and the US-based Carr Foundation, the park is successfully restoring its wildlife populations and developing economic opportunities for its local community. In his new book, A Window on Eternity, Harvard professor Edward O. Wilson examines the near destruction and rebirth of Gorongosa, and describes through splendid prose and gorgeous photography why Gorongosa is one of the most unique places on Earth. Join us as we explore the history and biodiversity of Gorongosa through films, a new exhibition by acclaimed nature photographer and entomologist Piotr Naskrecki, and a special conversation with Greg Carr, President of the Carr Foundation. Pre-signed copies of Edward O. Wilson’s book A Window On Eternity will be available for purchase in the museum store.

Free and open to the public
Further event details to be announced


A Forest Giant on the Edge

Special Presentation & Book Signing

David R. Foster, Director, Harvard Forest, and Professor, Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University

Aaron Ellison, Senior Research Fellow in Ecology, Harvard Forest, and Adjunct Research Professor, Departments of Biology and Environmental Conservation, University of Massachusetts at Amherst

Tuesday, May 20, 6:00 pm

For millennia, eastern hemlock trees have held irreplaceable cultural value and created unique forest habitat across New England. Today, eastern hemlocks are disappearing from our forests, falling by the tens of thousands as prey to an exotic insect foe. In the new book Hemlock: A Forest Giant on the Edge, eight Harvard Forest researchers reflect on eastern hemlock's irreplaceable value to human culture, ecosystems, and scientific research. Two of the book's authors, Harvard Forest director David R. Foster and ecologist Aaron Ellison, will explain connections between eastern hemlock's modern decline and the larger challenges facing nature and society in an era of habitat fragmentation, native species loss, and global climate change.

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