Two Jaw Dropping Museum Collections in Boston

Photo by Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaThe Harvard Museum of Natural History is a wonderful gem  located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Photo credit:  Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

With a mission to enhance public understanding and appreciation of the natural world and the human place in it, the Harvard Museum of Natural History draws on the University’s collections and research to present a historic and interdisciplinary exploration of science and nature.

I try to go once a year to take in some of my favorite museum collections. Today I am sharing two of my favorite permanent exhibits. What is really wonderful about these is you can see them anytime, they never go away…

The Ware Collection of Glass Models of Plants are the most delicate and exquisite glass models of botany ever seen. These unique pieces were commissioned by Professor George Goodale, founder of Harvard’s Botanical Museum, who wanted life-like representations of the plant kingdom to teach botany in his classrooms.

From 1886 to 1936, father and son glass artisans team Leopold and Rudolph Blaschka of the Blaschka Studio, Hosterwitz, Germany, made these beauties entirely of blown and fused glass, with wire reinforcements hidden inside the glass as needed.

Photo credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaRows and rows of plants in gorgeous polished wood and glass cases adorn the exhibit. Above, a glass banana plant and fruit. Photo by Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Photo credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaAbove, a glass water lily. Photo by Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Photo credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaPhoto by Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Photo credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaPhoto by Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Photo by Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaTools of the trade used to make the glass plants. Colored glass was used for many pieces and, in some cases, some plants were enameled with a thin wash of colored ground glass or metal oxides and heated until the material fused to the model. Photo credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

In another room, is the extraordinary museum collection of rocks and minerals. This renovated gallery displays thousands of rare minerals and sparkling gemstones in both rough and cut examples, including a 1,600-pound amethyst geode from Brazil. Exhibits highlight new research and offer a broad overview of the dynamic processes and events that formed our planet and that have shaped its continuing evolution.

To visit this room for someone in love with nature, color and texture, is equivalent to dying and going to heaven:

Photo credit: Barbara Elza HirschPhoto credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch

Photo credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaPhoto credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch

Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaPhoto credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch

Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaPhoto credit: Barbara Elza HirschPhoto Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaPhoto credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch

Photo credit: Barbara Elza hirsch | Chez ElzaPhoto credit: Barbara Elza HirschPhoto Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaPhoto credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch

Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaPhoto credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch

I hope you enjoy these as much as I did! Happy weekend!

Barbara

Oh, the Bliss of Vacation!

I know, I know, I disappeared for a bit.

We should all do that once in a while!

I took some time off with my family and went to the Berkshires. I turned off Twitter, Facebook, disconnected myself from work including designing and blogging. I had a lovely time. Picked raspberries on a farm (we were instructed to bark here and there to ward off bears, seriously). Ate outside every day. Watched the sunset. Went to a 4th of July parade. Gobbled ice cream with my children. And, yes, went antiquing with my mom in delicious little spots where you need to carefully sift for treasures.

I thought I’d share a few interesting photos of Sweets and Beans, a most wonderful confiserie/ice cream shop/expresso bar I found in Williamstown, MA :

Williamstown, MA New Venue: Sweets and Beans

They offer great design and sweets all in one. I loved their hazelnut ice cream and the seating was relaxed and inviting to both adults and kiddos.

Magnificent ice cream flavors and colors at Sweets and Beans.
Smart summer seating at Sweets and Beans.
Cool ceiling fixture and assorted candy hanging from ceiling at sweets and Beans.

 

Candy lover’s delight.
Jars and jars of tantalizing candy at Sweets and Beans.

While antiquing, I fell in love with this 60s Madmen set of luncheon matching cups and plates:

In the 60s, you would drink and eat from these standing up, a little circular ridge on the plate holds the plate.
A close-up of their design. I passed on these. I took them home. They make great breakfast plates and tea cups!

Just for the fun, had to take a photo of these:

Collection of parfumerie and soap accessories and containers.

The night before we left, the sky was as festive as can be:

Breathtaking sky. Photo by my son, Julien Herpers.

I came back to find my collection cherished hemerocallis had bloomed. A treat….

I hope all of you get to take a few days off this summer :-)

A bientôt!