Best Kept Secrets of Harvard University

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Harvard University, based in Cambridge Massachusetts is an Ivy League college with a rich history. Founded in 1636 by vote of the Great and General Court of Massachusetts Bay Colony, it received its name for its first donor, the Reverend John Harvard. While none of Harvard’s original buildings remain today, the oldest buildings date back from the 18th century.

Today, Harvard occupies about 500 acres of land concentrated in Cambridge and Boston. With a staff and faulty of about 20,000 individuals and close to 40,000 students between regular enrollment, non-credit courses, seminars, summer school and other programs in continuing education. The school has many kept secrets and this list only grazes the surface.



  1. The Adams House Tunnels

Adams House is one of 12 undergraduate residential houses. Its name commemorates the services of the Adams family, including Presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams. The Adams House Tunnels is a subterranean journey that everyone should experience. The tunnels include tons of paintings including rainbows, flowers, poetry, and a diverse assortment of animals. Initially, the painting of the walls started in 1987 as a way to give life to the rather dreary and depressing set of tunnels that students used to get to the laundry room, the weight room or the street-level doors. Originally, anyone staying in Adams House got to paint on the walls, but over the years, the now ‘cardinal rules’ state that only seniors on senior week can do so.

  1. The Harvard Lampoon Building

The Harvard Lampoon is an undergraduate humor publication founded in 1876. It is the world’s second longest-running continually published humor magazine. In 2006 the Lampoon began regularly releasing content on its website that includes pieces from the magazine and web only content. While the publication and buildingare not necessarily secrets, there are some really interesting and not so well-known facts about them. The first is that the building actually holds four addresses, because of its location at the junction of four streets. The second is that many Lampoon alums go on to write for The Simpsons. Because of this, the building has been slipped into quite a few episodes as Easter Eggs. Last, when looking directly at the front of the building, it resembles a human face wearing a Prussian helmet, complete with a spike.

  1. STAHR

STAHR stands for Student Astronomers at Harvard-Radcliffeand is a student run organization at Harvard. The aim of the club is to provide Harvard students and affiliates to learn more about astronomy. Operating mainly out of out of Loomis-Michael Observatory on top of the science center. There, open houses, special events and managing access to the observatory is done. What most students do not know when first coming to Harvard, is that students can gain unlimited access to the telescope by taking a 2-week course on how to properly open and close the observatory and use the telescope. The telescope itself dates back to 1954, and all those who visit the are encouraged to write anything interesting found while stargazing. The club encourages meeting other astronomy enthusiasts at Harvard and beyond.

  1. Blaschka Glass Models of Plants

The internationally acclaimed Ware Collection of Blaschka Glass Models of Plants - the “Glass Flowers” are a unique collection of over 4,400 models, representing more than 830 plant species. Created by a father and son team of Czech glass artists, Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka from 1887 through 1936. The collection has been revered for its highly realistic models, housed at the Harvard Museum of Natural History. The collection was commissioned by George Lincoln Goodale, the first director of Harvard’s Botanical Museum and financed by Mary Lee Ware and her mother Elizabeth C. Ware. The collection itself is stunning, and all those living in the area should stop by and check it out.

While most of the secrets can only be accessed with a Harvard student ID, Harvard highly encourages that all who want a better look at the campus, book a Harvard Campus Walking Tour! If you are flying out of Boston Logan International Airport, be sure to use the Boston airport parking and hop on over to Harvard Campus to check out all its wonders.


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