In Search of Thoreau’s Flowers: An Exploration of Change and Loss
"In Search of Thoreau’s Flowers" is a multisensory experience at Harvard Museum of Natural History that marries art and science through a modern interpretation of Henry David Thoreau’s preserved plants. This ongoing exhibition is on display through Saturday, Dec. 31 (with the exception of 11/24, 12/24 and 12/25). Regular museum admission rates apply.
Thoreau was prolific in his practice of collecting botanical samples, and plants are important indicators of how the world is responding to climate change. Long preserved in the Harvard University Herbaria, 648 specimens serve as the foundation of this new exhibition. The digitization of these specimens inspired the creation of beautiful bluecyanotypes that are indirect conversation with illuminated rotating selections of Thoreau’s originals and immersive large-scale projected visualizations. The exhibition invites visitors to experience emotionally resonant connections to the profound loss of natural diversity caused by human-induced climate change. The exhibition poses the question: “What do Thoreau’s findings say about what plants are winning, and what plants are losing, in the face of climate change today?”
The digitized cyanotype artwork is by Leah Sobsey for the exhibition.