An Exhibit’s Beginning

Just as scuff marks on a shoe can show an owner’s love, or a thread-bare shirt reveals its favored status, fingerprints left pressed onto the front of a glass case are the sign of a well-loved museum. These smudges are the physical proof of curiosity from a museum’s youngest visitors. This fall, serving as an intern at the Soldier & Sailors Museum, I saw many kids peering into its cases with their hands on the glass as they were captivated by the stories that the exhibits told. 

My Time with the Dinosaurs

When walking through a museum, have you ever wondered what it would be like to climb into and touch the displays? Well, during my internship in the conservation department at Carnegie Museum of Natural History, that is exactly what I did! 

Beelzebub, the Eva and me

Beelzebub, the fish with human teeth, looked even more horrifying in the histogram in the computer. Moving the Eva to make it scan properly the face of the fish was not the problem, but the animal’s naturally hideous face was, as it emerged on the computer screen. I wanted to perfectly capture the ridges of its scales, the gaps between its teeth, just to be able to help everyone understand how truly perfectly unnerving it was.  

The Anatomy of a Specimen Sheet

The author mounting a plant specimen on a collection sheet. 
Botany specimen #535779, a Quercus rubra (Red Oak) branch and leaves.  

During my time with the department in the Spring 2022 semester, I received hands-on training in the collection process while assisting with a digitization project of plants from the Mid-Atlantic region. To fully appreciate the life and history of the collection, which is freely accessible on the museum’s website, one must know how to understand the wealth of information contained on a specimen sheet.