Paleontology is on the Move
Hello! My name is Jacob Van Veldhuizen and I have been hired on to help the Paleontology Unit move the collection into new cabinetry. The Paleontology Collection is currently housed in non-archival, inadequately sealed, metal-sheathed wooden specimen cabinets that are slowly disintegrating and produce harmful acidic off-gasses which can give the cabinet an awful smell. Last year the Paleontology Unit was awarded a National Science Foundation/Collections in Support of Biological Research (NSF/CSBR) grant to transfer the paleontological collection into archival, steel cabinets and to re-curate the collection using current conservation best practices.
The first set of cabinets are due to arrive in early February. When I was brought on in November, it was clear that a lot of things had to be accomplished before the move could begin. In preparation for this move, work tables had to be cleaned, several pieces of furniture had to be sent to surplus, loose specimens needed to be placed back into cabinets, and the reprint library had to be moved to a more suitable location. Once all that was completed, collections inventories were taken, temporary storage cabinets were established, a portion of the geology collection was moved to make room for the paleobotany collection, and a workflow illustrating how the specimens would be transferred from the old cabinets into the new cabinets was established. Suffice it to say, a lot was completed in first three months.
As of today, I am happy to report that the collection is ready to move into new cabinetry. As the move progresses, it will be interesting to see how spacing of the specimens in the new cabinets compares with that of old cabinets. Will specimens take up more, less, or the same amount of space? Check back in a couple of months to see the progress of the move.
This post was written by Jacob Van Veldhuizen, Paleontology Collections Technician.