Your independent source for Harvard news since 1898 | SUBSCRIBE

Your independent source for Harvard news since 1898

John Harvard's Journal

Fish Tales

January-February 2016

The central diorama, a model of New England’s waters

Photograph by Jim Harrison


The central diorama, a model of New England’s waters

Photograph by Jim Harrison

Specimens from the Museum of Comparative Zoology collections complete the exhibition

Photograph by Jim Harrison


Specimens from the Museum of Comparative Zoology collections complete the exhibition

Photograph by Jim Harrison

The Harvard Museum of Natural History in November unveiled its new exhibition on marine life. The centerpiece (shown here), a cleverly lit diorama, depicts New England coastal waters from the shallows to the depths: a pioneering way to educate and entrance visitors without penning living specimens in a small habitat. That display neatly complements the adjacent gallery on the region’s forests, and closes what curators describe as a “gaping hole” in the exhibitions, which have underrepresented Earth’s aquatic environment and the staggering biodiversity it supports.

A few hundred mounted specimens in surrounding cases (from the millions of molluscs and fish among the comparative zoology holdings) give a sense of evolution, species variation, and the sheer beauty of nature. Youngsters will enjoy the interactive explanations of nomenclature (focusing on jellies), and of Harvard scientists’ work. They will likely like the huge Australian trumpet shell (Syrinx aruanus, a type of snail), and be thrilled or repelled by the giant isopod (Bathynomus giganteus, a crustacean) at rest in its jar. What parent could resist the vivid orange lion’s paw scallop (Nodipecten nodosus)—or withhold a smile at the name of the diminutive Wolf fangbelly (Petroscirtes lupus, one of the Pacific coral-reef combtooth blennies)?

 

In the diorama at the center of the new marine-life exhibition, the lighting design subtly transports viewers from the the sunlit surface of the water, at right, toward deeper habitats, on the left.
Photograph by Jim Harrison

You Might Also Like:

Click on arrow at right to see additional images

(1 of 5) Untitled, Toni Morrison, 2006 by Robert McCurdy

© Robert McCurdy/National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; Gift of Ian M. and Annette P. Cumming

 

Transforming Portraiture and the World

A replica of a textile mill shows life-like statues of workers.

(Click on arrow at right to see additional images)
(1 of 3) Exhibits, like this replica of a textile-mill floor, reveal long days of grueling work on dangerous mill machinery.

Photograph courtesy of the Museum of Work & Culture

Museum of Work & Culture

Circa 1853 photograph of Lawman Captain Harry Love and two of his California Rangers, the state's first law-enforcement agency

(Click on arrow at right to see additional images)
(1 of 3) Lawman Captain Harry Love and two of his California Rangers (the state’s first law-enforcement agency), circa 1853

Photograph courtesy of the Peabody Essex Museum

American Gold Rush, Peabody Essex Museum

You Might Also Like:

Click on arrow at right to see additional images

(1 of 5) Untitled, Toni Morrison, 2006 by Robert McCurdy

© Robert McCurdy/National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; Gift of Ian M. and Annette P. Cumming

 

Transforming Portraiture and the World

A replica of a textile mill shows life-like statues of workers.

(Click on arrow at right to see additional images)
(1 of 3) Exhibits, like this replica of a textile-mill floor, reveal long days of grueling work on dangerous mill machinery.

Photograph courtesy of the Museum of Work & Culture

Museum of Work & Culture

Circa 1853 photograph of Lawman Captain Harry Love and two of his California Rangers, the state's first law-enforcement agency

(Click on arrow at right to see additional images)
(1 of 3) Lawman Captain Harry Love and two of his California Rangers (the state’s first law-enforcement agency), circa 1853

Photograph courtesy of the Peabody Essex Museum

American Gold Rush, Peabody Essex Museum