Inside the Peabody Museum December 2015

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High Life and Science of the Magical

Star Wars Design or Coincidence?

Members' Night at the Museum

Holiday Gift Ideas

Holiday Hours

Recasting Antiquity

Last Chance to See Finding Our Way Exhibition


Cynthia BeallHigh Life and Science of the Magical

Roughly 83 million indigenous people live on Tibetan, Andean, and East African plateaus—high-altitude environments where oxygen is scarce. How do they survive in such harsh places? On Wednesday, December 2 at 6:00 PM, physical anthropogist Cynthia Beall will discuss her groundbreaking research on the genetic and physiological adaptations these populations have developed and what the adaptations tell us about the ongoing evolution of our species in the free public lecture, "Three Ways to Live the High Life: Andean, Tibetan, and East African." 

And on Saturday, December 5, author and science journalist Matt Kaplan takes on such questions as whether bird migrations foretell the future, if phases of the moon hold sway over our lives, and the best way to brew a love potion. Join "Science of the Magical," a free public interdisciplinary talk filled with tales of adventure. 

Tusken Raider and Totokia Fijian war clubStar Wars Design or Coincidence?

We were wondering when Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens in theaters December 18, if moviegoers would spot a Tusken Raider wielding a ‘Gaderffii’ (left). It bears a striking resemblance to the Peabody’s own Totokia Fijian War Club (right) as Photoshopped into the original movie still by Harvard student Dylan Clark '18. The original club, likely carried by a Fijian Chief, can be found in the Arts of War: Artistry in Weapons Across Cultures exhibition; it's colloquially known as a ‘Pineapple Club’ due to the resemblance of its head to the fruit. While we don't know if the Raiders and their modified clubs will make an appearance in the new film, stop by Arts of War to view an original, and perhaps spot other inspirations for Hollywood weapons. With thanks to Peabody Museum Education Specialist and film buff Andy Majewski for pointing out the resemblance.

Members' Night at the Museum

Member Event! Join us on Tuesday, December 8, at 5:00 pm for a Members' Night at the Museum featuring the annual Behind-the-Scenes & Holiday Shopping at the Harvard Museum of Natural History! Holiday treats, Shop discount, Behind-the-Scenes tours. For more information or to register for a tour, visit the event page. Become a member or renew today.

ocarina gifts

Holiday Gift Ideas

Towering vistas and intimate streetscapes of Nepal by award-winning photographer Kevin Bubriski are just some of the colorful images in Peabody Museum Press books. The Peabody's gift shop offers elegant and thoughtful editions, from Bubriski's hardcover ($65) to another lush photo book about 19th-century photographs of Japan from the Peabody's collection, The Journey of a "Good Type": From Artistry to Ethnography in Early Japanese Photographs ($45).  You'll also find whimsical and handsome ocarina wind instruments, including a Lord of the Rings model with a songbook ($12 and up) in honor of the new Ocarinas of the Americas exhibition. The adjacent Harvard Museum of Natural History gift shop is also filled with a thoughtfully curated selection of world-class products designed to enhance your visit to the museum. From one-of-a-kind minerals, handcrafted jewelry, to fun kits for the budding young scientist, you will find gifts suited to any age and budget. Best of all, your purchase directly supports the mission and programs at the Harvard Museum of Natural History. And remember, memberships make great gifts. Museum members enjoy the benefit of a 10% discount on all non-sale museum store purchases. Follow the Harvard Museum of Natural History shop on Instagram

Holiday Hours

The museum and the adjoining Harvard Museum of Natural History will be closed Thursday, December 24; Friday, December 25; and Friday, January 1. Come visit with friends and family when we're open all the other 361 days per year! Highlights tours by Harvard student guides are available through December 6, and resume January 20, 2016.

Harvard Semitic Museum student castRecasting Antiquity, a Student Exhibition

Harvard students from Ancient Near East 103 “Ancient Lives” will exhibit casts of stone reliefs from two Assyrian palaces dated to the early first millennium BCE. Working with our neighbors at the Harvard Semitic Museum over the last year, they created the durable resin casts from museum’s plaster casts of the original reliefs, most of which are from Nimrud’s Northwest palace of Assurnasirpal II (883-859 BCE) in what is today Iraq, and which include scenes of royal lion hunting, cultic ritual, and warfare. 

Visitors will experience what an ancient Mesopotamian would have seen when looking at the wall carvings; color projection onto a white relief will recreate the vibrant colors of the original. The soundscape of these buildings is recreated in the gallery using original compositions inspired by surviving musical notations from ancient Mesopotamia. Visitors will also get a rare look into the unique and complex process of the casting and preservation of these ancient objects, which has become even more important in light of the recent destruction of the ancient Assyrian places by Daesh.

The public is invited to join students and faculty for the opening gala Friday, December 4th, from 6:00 to 8:00 pm at the Arts @ 29 Garden facility with the opening statement given by one of the world's leading experts in the field of ancient Near Eastern art, Professor Irene Winter. Recasting Antiquity opens to the public Thursday, December 3rd at 1:00 PM at Harvard University's Arts @ 29 Garden, Cambridge, Massachusetts and will remain open through Friday, December 11th at 4:00 PM.  Arts @ 29 Garden hours and location.

 An Exploration of Human NavigationLast Chance to See Finding Our Way Exhibition 

The exhibition Finding Our Way: An Exploriation of Human Navigation will be open through December 11, 2015 at the Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments (1 Oxford Street, second floor). Pacific Island navigation is featured, with canoe models and navigation charts made of sticks and shells from the Peabody Museum's collection. The gallery is open weekdays from 9:00 to 5:00 November 30–December 11. 

See what's coming up in the Calendar of Events.