Harvard's Indispensable Specimens

With collections dating to the late 1700s, Harvard University's Museum of Comparative Zoology is one of the country's oldest museums. Displays drawn from the collection range from the skeleton of an extinct dodo bird to more than 300 different hummingbirds.

But the back rooms are filled with millions of items that will never be displayed. In this installment of the Hidden Treasures Radio Project, Harriet Baskas explains why curators at Harvard just can't throw anything away.

Dodo model and skeleton

hide captionFrom the Harvard collection: At left, a model of extinct dodo; at right, a composite dodo skeleton.

Mark Sloan/From 'The Rarest of the Rare' by Nancy Pick; Copyright Museum of Comparative Zoology and the President and Fellows of Harvard College

Books Featured In This Story

The Rarest of the Rare
The Rarest of the Rare

Stories Behind the Treasures at the Harvard Museum of Natural History

by Edward O. Wilson, Nancy Pick and Mark Sloan

Hardcover, 178 pages | purchase

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Purchase Featured Books

  • The Rarest of the Rare
  • Stories Behind the Treasures at the Harvard Museum of Natural History
  • Edward O. Wilson, Nancy Pick, et al

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