Ah, the end of August. That time of year when students return to school from summer vacation, parents begin the annual back-to-school shopping sprees, and the Boston metropolitan area witnesses several hundred thousand college and university students returning to their studies. This weekend, my friends had planned a dinner to celebrate my birthday, and so I had driven to Cambridge, Massachusetts to meet them. While the day was wonderful, not all of it went according to plan. There was one enormous benefit for my readers, however: what had been planned as a quiet Saturday of relaxation became an unexpected blog post!
I intended to wait for my friends by reading in Widener Library at Harvard, one of my favorite places to relax. However, this plan was sidetracked when I realized that Saturday was move-in day for upperclass students in Harvard Yard. Hundreds of undergrads from the various Houses (as the residence halls are known at Harvard) had crammed into the yard to participate in contests and earn honors for their Houses. What I had forgotten was how noisy move-in day was. Sitting in Widener, despite being behind walls that were several feet thick and windows that were heavily glazed to provide sound deadening, the students were so noisy, they felt like they were in the library with me. Apparently, no reading was going to get done.
Instead, I ventured a few blocks away, to the Harvard Museum of Natural History. Established in 1998, HMNH brought together three museums that dated to the mid-19th century: the University Herbaria, the Museum of Comparative Zoology, and and the Mineralogical Museum. My admission ticket also gave me access to the world-renowned Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, which is physically connected to HMNH. I spent my afternoon touring these fascinating museums, and I thought I would share it with you.
It was a wonderful birthday weekend. Despite some changes to my original plans, I had a terrific time exploring and also spending time with dear friends. The Harvard Museum of Natural History is open daily from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm. Admission, which covers HMNH and the Peabody, is $12 for adults, students with ID and seniors 65+ can enter for $10, children ages 3-18 are $8, and children under 3 can enter for free. The museum is also free to Harvard ID holders, and Massachusetts residents can enter for free during select times on Sundays and Wednesdays. If you are in the Boston area, HMNH is definitely worth a visit. Thanks for coming along on another journey down the open road ahead!