The Ware Collection of Blaschka Glass Models of Plants, popularly known as the Glass Flowers, is considered one of the University's greatest treasures and is the only collection of its kind in the world.
The Glass Flowers were commissioned in 1886 by Professor George Lincoln Goodale, the first director of Harvard’s Botanical Museum, to aid in teaching and serve as the premier botany exhibit in what is now the Harvard Museum of Natural History. The models were made from 1887 through 1936 by Leopold (1822-1895) and Rudolf Blaschka (1857-1939), father and son glass artists who lived and worked in Hosterwitz, Germany, near Dresden.
There are 847 life-size models representing 780 species and varieties of plants in 164 families as well as over 3,000 models of enlarged parts. The collection comprises approximately 4,300 individual glass models. The Glass Flowers are on permanent display in the Harvard Museum of Natural History where they draw nearly 200,000 visitors each year*.
*On November 9, 2015 the current Glass Flowers gallery will close for extensive model and case restoration, space renovation, and the installation of state-of-the-art lighting and display features. The Glass Flowers gallery will reopen on May 21, 2016.