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Jeremiah Harris and I decided to check out the Harvard Museum of Natural History yesterday. There is a vast mineral collection on display as well as an array of stunning fossils, skeletons and Victorian era taxidermy specimens from around the world. In this diverse collection of natural wonders is a dimly lit room lined with glass display cases. Contained in these cases are handmade glass (that's right, GLASS !) herbarium specimen style displays of 847 species of plants. These amazing pieces were created by hand by a father and son team in Dresden Germany in 1887 and took 50 years to complete. The accuracy and delicacy of these models is mind blowing. I can't even imagine how they survived the long trip from Europe to Massachusetts over 100 years ago.

For time and space sake, I've only included photos of the carnivores and other relevant associate plants.

Excuse the crappy cell phone pics..........

Dionaea muscipula

Drosera filiformis

Drosera rotundifolia

Darlingtonia californica

Sarracenia purpurea

Sarracenia flava

Nepenthes sanguinea (female)

Nepenthes maxima (male)

Utricularia vulgaris

Calopogon tuberosus & Epipactis gigantea

Platanthera orchids (Classified as Habenaria at the time they were created)

Pogonia ophioglossoides

Cypripedium parviflorum

Cypripedium reginae

Another orchid.

Parnassius palustris


Lilium canadense


Pine Sap

A palm flower.


Pollintation models (also glass)

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Thats incredible.. They look exactly like the real thing.
Holy cow, those are incredible. The only things that look fake are the insects!
Is there a video showing the crafting process?
Stunning! Sweet daytrip!
Well, since they were made in 1887.....I would have to say no.

Damn I was hoping the makers were using gopros or something.
But I gotta say.. those are incredible.. I didn't expect them to be so realistic. Can't wait to see the NECPS show pics!
Amazing. They're so life like, which is even more impressive considering that they were made in 1887. Thanks for sharing!
holy **** is that utricularia also completely glass??!
  • #10
Every part of every plant is made entirely of glass. They're completely amazing.
  • #11
Those are really amazing! They look so realistic and intricate.
  • #12
Well, since they were made in 1887.....I would have to say no.

Lol, I meant something along the line of a glass sculpting tutorial that reveals what methods were used to craft the structures.
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  • #13
Those sculptures are the best thing I will see for a long time. The artisans were truly talented, observant people. Imagine meeting them! That's quite a legacy they have provided.

Extremely happy to see that kind of material being preserved and displayed in a public collection. Kudos to Harvard!
  • #14
Is there a video showing the crafting process?

These were people at the very top of their profession. This degree of glasscrafting expertise is probably lost to history. I doubt there's anyone alive today who could reproduce these using Victorian tools (or even modern tools, perhaps).
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  • #16
Blown away
  • #17
I can't even imagine how one would work glass in such a manner!

  • #18
WOW! I guess I know my next road trip.
  • #19
I really wish I'd gotten better photos of these but honestly, no photo could ever do these justice. If anyone is ever in the Boston area looking for something to do....look no further than Harvard's Museum of Natural History. They have some stunning collections and the admission is only $12.00.

Here are some other interesting things to be seen there.

Prehistoric beasts of all shapes and sizes.....

Diplocaulis.......one of my favorites.

Just the skull on this is over 8 feet long.

A massive fossilized freshwater turtle shell.......some of you may recognize the gent in the background.

A preserved Coelecanth and other specimens.

And some glass sculpted invertebrates, some by the same artisans who crafted the plants.

  • #20
my kids are majorly into dinos and other prehestoric critters at the moment. we are constantly reading about them in any books we can get our hands on. they would love to see this stuff.