The Ware Collection of ‘Glass Flowers’


Harvard Museum of Natural History, Cambridge, MA Minutes from the Irving House at Harvard

Just a 6 minute, .3 mile walk from Irving House!

A garden of famous flowers blooms in the ‘Glass Flowers’ gallery at the Harvard Museum of Natural History.

Wander the aisles to admire blue iris, rhododendron, mountain laurel, water lily, orchids, or edible plants such as banana, mango, cashew nut and coffee. Find the crimson leaves of red maple at peak color or goldenrod so realistic you even sneeze. The Ware Collection of Glass Models of Plants was made possible by the generosity of a mother and daughter, Elizabeth and Mary Lee Ware.

The collection represents 847 plant species painstakingly and accurately crafted by father and son glass artists, Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka. Originally charged with creating just a few models, the Blaschkas later signed an exclusive contract with Harvard to make a collection of over 4,000 glass models, working from 1886 through 1936. 2,000 models are on display in the newly renovated gallery,. Just one model of the angelica tree includes some 2,500 individual buds and flowers. The models also include remarkably accurate anatomical sections and enlarged flower and fruit parts. Leopold Blaschka’s actual work bench and tools are also on display.

The museum, which welcomes more than a quarter million visitors from all over the world each year, is also a CityPASS partner attraction, and just a 6 minute, .3 mile walk from Irving House.

Glass Flowers - Harvard Museum of Natural History

Putting the Glass Flowers in New Light:  Harvard Gazette video and story

Glass Flowers: Harvard Museum of Natural History