Harvard Museums Temporarily Closed to Public

Baby spruce tree.

"Like tiny seeds with potent power to push through tough ground and become mighty trees, we hold innate reserves of unimaginable strength. We are resilient.”


―Catherine DeVrye, The Gift of Nature, 2018




Dear Members and Friends of HMSC,


As we wrestle with this daunting new global challenge, this quote offers a welcome reminder that we are part of a vital, natural world with the capacity to endure, and even thrive, no matter how tough the times become. 


On behalf of the Harvard Museums of Science & Culture (HMSC), I write to you today to convey a dramatically different message than you would have received a few short weeks ago. In place of news of exciting spring programs and exhibits, we offer our heartfelt wishes for your health and safety as we face the collective effort to flatten the Covid-19 curve. I want to thank the extraordinary efforts of the staff, volunteers, students and broader Harvard community in supporting the difficult work of closing our museums with such thoughtfulness and grace. HMSC is an institution that delights in welcoming the public. Our doors have been open almost every day of the year. We are now temporarily closed but remain present in our commitment to continuing to inspire and engage our audiences.


Although our day-to-day activities are vastly different than we might have expected, those things we value and need the most are becoming increasingly clear. The museum galleries continue to inspire during these trying times – stories of human resilience and cooperation across cultures, evidence of our relationships with the natural world, contributions to research and discovery, and the hope found in Glass Flowers as our world begins to bloom again. HMSC remains committed to continuing to be a center of collective energy, creativity, inspiration, and hope for our museum members and friends, and the wider world.


We are actively rethinking our work, and finding new ways to move forward, support, and connect with all of you. In the coming weeks, HMSC will reach out to you with new online initiatives designed to engage the museums’ audiences. Please visit the HMSC museum websites and social media (Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter) for information, resources, and activities, and to share your own thoughts and ideas. We have provided below some specific links to virtual tours, online exhibitions, and lecture videos to get you started.


Our individual resilience is made possible and magnified by our connections with other people and cultures, as well as all other life on this amazing planet. We look forward to the time when we can welcome you back through our doors again, but in the meanwhile, let’s stay connected, reach out, lean on, and share with each other, using the marvelous online tools available to us.


Please stay tuned – you’ll be seeing and hearing more soon!


Donald H. Pfister

Chair, HMSC Faculty Executive Board

Curator of the Farlow Library and Herbarium of Cryptogamic Botany

Asa Gray Professor of Systematic Botany


Virtual Tours

Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments (CHSI)

Harvard Museum of the Ancient Near East (HMANE)


Online Exhibitions

Harvard Museum of Natural History (HMNH)

Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology (PMAE)


Lecture Videos

Harvard Museums of Science & Culture (all museums)


Other Resources

CHSI Wayfinder Collections Database

HMNH Exhibit Videos

HSM Sketchfab 3D Egyptian Coffin Exploration

PMAE Collections Online

CHSI Collection Online