The Glass Flowers, formally The Ware Collection of Blaschka Glass Models of Plants, are among Harvard University’s greatest treasures. On permanent exhibition at the Harvard Museum of Natural History, the collection has delighted museum visitors, educated students and inspired artistic and scholarly works for over a century. The scientifically accurate and breathtakingly beautiful models were made from 1886 to 1936 by Leopold (1822-1895) and Rudolf Blaschka (1857-1939), father and son glass artists who lived and worked in Germany. Nearly 4,300 individual glass models represent 780 plant species. Commissioned by George Lincoln Goodale, the first director of Harvard’s Botanical Museum, and funded by benefactors Elizabeth and Mary Lee Ware, the collection was intended as a permanent museum exhibit which would support botanical education.
The Glass Flowers are marvels in the fields of art and science, used for teaching and regarded as extraordinary works of art. Collection Manager Jenny Brown will share the history of this one-of-a-kind collection and talk about recent endeavors, including an extensive exhibit renovation that was completed in May 2016.
Jenny Brown has managed the Glass Flowers since 2012. She studied visual art at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and library science at Pratt Institute. In addition to her experience in libraries, archives and collections, Jenny worked for renowned glass artist Toots Zynsky.