At the Harvard Museums, there is an incredibly large range of different things to experience and explore. Whatever kind of history you are into, or if you are not into history at all—there is an exhibit that at the very least will catch your eye. Here are my favorite things and must-sees if you ever end up in Cambridge.
1. Romer Hall of Vertebrate Paleontology
If seeing the skeletons of animals that could swallow you whole as easily as you can swallow a grape terrifies you, then this exhibit is not for you. There are incredibly well-preserved animals such as early mammals, fish and dinosaurs (including the world’s only Kronosaurus on display, which is 42 feet long), then step no further than the Romer Hall of Vertebrate Paleontology. It is packed with gross and deliciously cool animals and reptiles preserved in jars and cases of glass like that in the lab of a mad scientist.
2. The Great Mammal Hall
You can find The Great Mammal Hall as you pass through the museum, and through time. Make your way past all the evolution and extinct animals, and find yourself cornered by a million mammals—from tiny rodents to grimacing predators. You can land on any one animal and find a disturbing, bulging expression, or some that are actually quite comical. If there is an animal that you are interested in, or even just love, you will find it here.
3. Arts of War Headgear Exhibit
One of the most interesting things that you can explore about a civilization is, for one, how they dress, and for two, how they protect themselves. In the Arts of War exhibits in the Peabody Museum, you can walk through and connect pieces from places like Japan, Hawaii, Italy, Borneo and more, guns, knives, suits of armor, shields, clubs and my personal favorite: helmets. There is something entrancing about stunning headpieces like these that you can imagine gracing the heads of those on the battlefield.
4. Día de los Muertos
Maybe your eyes get bored at what, to you, are just fancy rocks and stuffed animals. “Who cares about some boring ceramics?” you may ask yourself. Well, inside the Encounters With America Exhibit, your eyes will land upon the overwhelming Día de los Muertos exhibit. The altar set-up features Mexican art with Aztec influences, decorated by local and international artists. The aura of it can be described as a “unique blend of Mesoamerican and Christian rituals,” in which you can play a fun little game I like to call “Find The Jesuses."
5. The Javanese Village
As you make your way up the stairs of the Peabody, you can reach The Javanese Village—an exhibit that showcased parts of the Japanese Bamboo Theatre. There are gorgeous puppets as well as paper depictions of Hindu gods and stuffed glass representatives of class. So if you are drawn towards Eastern Asian culture, you will certainly find yourself lost in the eyes of the Krishna puppet.