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The Ware Collection of Blaschka Glass Models of Plants
The Glass Flowers

A Botanical Museum collection presented by the Harvard Museum of Natural History

This unique collection of over 3,000 models was created by the glass artisans, Leopold Blaschka and his son, Rudolph. The commission began in 1886, continued for five decades, and represents more than 830 plant species.

Related Exhibition
Modeling Nature: Slices of Glass History from the Collections, a special exhibition at the HMNH


Above: Bouquet

Additional information about this collection can be found at the
Botanical Museum and Harvard University Herbaria web sites.

 

Information

Visiting the Galleries
The Glass Flowers gallery is open during regular museum hours and is included in the general admission fee. Click here for hours, fees, and directions.


Group Tours
To inquire about our group tours (for groups of up to 30 adults) of the Glass Flowers, please call (617) 495-2341.

Support the Glass Flowers
A
membership to the HMNH offers free admission, discounts on classes and programs, invitations to special events, and an opportunity to support the conservation of the Glass Flowers.

Publications
HMNH Museum Shop offers "The Glass Flowers at Harvard," a beautiful photograph essay book about the Glass Flowers.


The Most Commonly Asked Questions about the Glass Flowers

Are they really glass?
Yes, the models are made entirely of glass often reinforced internally with a wire support.

Who made the Glass Flowers?
The models were created by father and son Leopold and Rudolph Blaschka, nineteenth century glass artisans who perfected their family craft. Their lineage of jewelers and glassmakers trace as far back as the fifteenth century.

How were the models made?
The parts were shaped after the glass was softened by heat. Some models were blown. Colored glass was used for many, others were "cold painted" with a thin wash of colored ground glass or metal oxide(s) and heated until the material fused to the model

When were they made?
The models were made from 1887 through 1936.

Where were the Glass Flowers made?
The Blaschkas' studio was located in Hosterwitz, near Dresden, Germany.

Why were the models made?
Professor George Lincoln Goodale, founder of the Botanical Museum, wanted life-like representatives of the plant kingdom for teaching botany. At the time only crude papier-maché or wax models were available.

The life-size models include 847 species, with remarkably accurate anatomical sections and enlarged flower parts. Since the glass flowers are always in bloom, tropical and temperate species may be studied year-round.

Mrs. Elizabeth C. Ware and her daughter Mary Lee Ware financed the collection and presented it to Harvard University as a memorial to Dr. Charles Eliot Ware, Class of 1834.

Photographs by Hillel Burger
Courtesy of the Botanical Museum

 

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Above: Echeveria

Above: Venus' Flytrap

Above: Coneflower


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