Find me helping to organize the AAM 2023 Annual Meeting as the Local Conference Coordinator.
From the AAM Website: The value of museums to society transcends their traditional focus on collecting, preserving, and interpreting. At their best, museums are vital infrastructure, sustaining healthy, inclusive, and resilient communities by enriching education systems, bolstering economies, strengthening societal cohesion, and improving people's well-being, and beyond. It is this social impact – the changes in the lives of people – that truly exemplifies the power of museums and the people who work within them to change the world. How can more museums harness this power, building thriving, relevant institutions that people consider essential? Join thousands of museum professionals from around the world in Denver in 2023 to explore the many ways museums are integrally weaving themselves into their communities, creating a better world for all.
Giant Clam Sampling
Sampling adhering corals, with a much-needed assist from Todd in Exhibits, on this giant clam (Tridacna gigas) from Bikini Atoll for a researcher. Hoping to determine if this specimen was alive during nuclear testing. Fun and nerdy day!
While at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science as the Invertebrate Collections/Curatorial Assistant, I worked to scan and edit micro-mollusk specimens for upload to the Arctos Collaborative Collections Management database. I used a Hitachi Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) to get images of each mollusk. Positioning these tiny specimens took a great deal of patience. Mollusks must be properly positioned to offer researchers the best views, which can be different depending on the species. Once I had all the raw images, I used Photoshop to bring all the views together on one plate and add other identifying data (copyright, catalog number scale bar, etc). Once the image had been added to the Arctos record it then can be pushed out to aggregate sites like iDigBio and GBIF. Sites like these allow researchers (of all levels) access to location or species-specific holdings from institutions around the world. Work like this proved to be extremely valuable as the pandemic hit and in-person research ground to a screeching halt. One of my favorite specimens below, ZC.33838 Atlantilux rubra. To learn more about this specimen, click here to go to the Arctos page.
Arachnology Loan Clean-up
When you realize specimens that have gone out on loan have been recorded in the Registrar's system but not in the primary collections database, you spend weeks sorting it all out and aligning both tracking mechanisms. In this case, the Arachnology Department uses a Symbiota portal called Symbiota Collections of Arthropods Network (SCAN) while the Registrar uses the EMu Collections Management System. With help from the Registrar, I was able to verify specimens sent on loan, note the loan information in the physical cabinet, and correlate that information between EMu and SCAN to reflect the same data. This is important because if a researcher views a specimen record they can see if it is out on loan, which will affect their potential loan request and minimize work for staff looking for specimens that are not in the building.