Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Tour Of Harvard

Last week I was in Boston for work and since we were staying so close to Harvard, we made an appointment to go on a tour.
We hit some crazy traffic and were 10 minutes late to our tour so we didn't make it on time but we were able to get some great information from the admissions desk.
Every student that attends Harvard gets a list of everyone that has previously lived in the dorm room that they are assigned for that year. One room has "Emerson" carved into the wall. Amazing!  The history is unbelievable!
This is the dorm that JFK lived in. His room is no longer in tact because they had to make the building wheelchair friendly and his room happened to be in the path of the elevator.
Widener Library is so grand! Students with ID cards are the only ones allowed to go in. We peeked in the window and it's amazing! The story about Widener Library is that Widener was on the Titanic and he was a lucky one to get in a life raft. He forgot all of his books on the boat so he jumped in to go and get them and didn't know how to swim. He didn't survive and his mother donated his riches and his books to the library--under 3 conditions. Condition 1: That he has a room just for his original books and fresh flowers in his memory every day. Condition 2: That the exterior of the library NEVER changes. The library has expanded downward 10 floors since they couldn't expand on the outside because that would change the library. Condition 3: That every graduate has to pass a swimming test. (This is the only one that is no longer in play because they had to get rid of that requirement for the handicap students)
The library is so big that they have robot type of machines that will go and retrieve books because the area is too great for a person to handle. Can you imagine?!  We were dying to get inside the library!
Classrooms were still using chalkboards and older desks. I'm sure some of the larger lectures halls were updated but the few rooms that we were able to walk in, looked old!
Memorial Hall is rumored to be some of the inspiration behind the Harry Potter books. The stained glass and the dining commons were so intricate and amazing!
We stopped by the "John Harvard" statue, which isn't John Harvard. HA. The statue is of a man of similar build to John Harvard but it isn't actually him. Touching the tip of his shoe is thought to bring good luck so everyone that visits the campus takes a picture of the themselves touching the toe of the statue. If you look closely, you can see that the shoe is discolored from so many people touching it.
Even though the campus is built in the heart of the city of Cambridge, the campus looks like it is in the middle of the country. It has such an old, historic feel to it that I could have explored all day and still felt like I needed more time!
I'm so glad that we took the time to go and explore the campus (even though we didn't get the formal tour like we were hoping for). I would definitely love to go back and explore with Jason (and possibly the kids). So much history in such a small place!

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