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

WEST ELM Mania

Okay, I love WEST ELM. I promise I was not paid to say this! But it’s a fact. This most interesting company is growing at a very fast pace, introducing (still) affordable lines and great accessories, showcasing artists and designers, florists and other talented creators. I drove to Boston the other day to pick up some furniture at the West Elm Store on Brookline Avenue. A lovely sunny day, and a wonderfully styled store with such friendly customer service!

I met the very talented Becca Olcott, owner and florist at PETAL FLORAL DESIGN, presenting her wonderful bohemian floral creations at the WEST ELM Pop-Up Flower Shop. Now, what is that, you ask?! Fresh flowers and arrangement advice from a West Elm favorite local florist are offered on a few Saturdays in a few cities in the nation. A flower shop is literally set up temporarily for the day, as shoppers browse and stop to purchase flower arrangements or simply take in the beautiful selections.

WEST ELM Pop Up Flower Shop in Boston, MA with Petal Floral Design
Becca Olcott, owner of Petal Flower Design, at the West Elm store in Boston, MA
Becca Olcott from Petal Floral Design, and one of her amazing floral creations at West Elm Pop Up Floral Shop

 

Bouquet by Becca Olcott, Owner of Petal Floral Design, prepared for West Elm Pop-Up Flower Event

I am sure you will agree Becca’s creations are simply superb. I love that they don’t appear rigid and uptight but, rather, offer a relaxed yet subtle and refined assemblage. Becca Olcott specializes in weddings and social events in the new England Area.

On another note, here are a few photos of the superb styling I encountered at this West Elm location:

West Elm Pillow arrangement in soft grays and yellows.
Ash, Salesperson at Boston West Elm, demonstrating how comfortable the sofa is! Ash was very helpful with my purchases that day.

 

I particularly enjoyed the selection of white vases, containers, candlestick holders:

Collection of glass and ceramic containers at West Elm.
Colorful Napkins at West Elm.
Napkin holders. West Elm.

And finally, I thought this little CURIO table lamp was a smashing idea: The glass “cloche” allows you to display whatever strikes your fancy!

Curio Lamp by West Elm

 

Next post, I will share an article on lovely fabric prints I found at the Boston Design Center recently. Have a grand weekend!