In early November, AppSciComm-ers in Pittsburgh and Knoxville learned the secrets of their local Natural History museums during behind-the-scenes tours led by museum curators.
In Pittsburgh, almost two dozen of us toured three extensive collections -- Birds, Insects, and Reptiles -- housed at the famed Carnegie Museum of Natural History. The collections were colorful, interesting and sometimes a tad gruesome. We really witnessed the dedication of the collection managers to preserve these specimens for research today as well as future generations of scientists.
In Knoxville, members joined curator Gerry Dinkins in an exploration of the rare Parmalee Malacology Collection at the McClung Museum of Natural History & Culture, showcasing unusual freshwater mollusk and snail shells -- one of the nation’s largest collections of its kind. Did you know there’s a freshwater mollusk named “eyeglass case”?
And at the University of Tennessee Herbarium, home of thousands of archived plant species, we not only learned that herbariums loan and exchange plant samples to scholars at other institutions like trading cards, but also got to appreciate their beauty in real life.
Adventuring into the museums' bowels was a privilege. And it was just plain fun to catch up with AppSciComm members!
We would love to continue hosting similar events in the future! Do you have an event idea in mind? Want to organize an AppSciComm meetup in your area of the Appalachia? Lets work together to make it happen!