Have you ever wondered how natural history museums store some of their priceless and unique specimens? Though all museum specimens could be considered priceless and unique, some specimens may be the last representation of their species, known as extinct species. Other specimens are the very first of their species to be described, known as type specimens. Both of these groups of specimens are truly unique in collections, some museums may never have any of these rare specimens. Our Tetrapod Collection does possess irreplaceable specimens of extinct species and in October we ran a campaign to raise funds to better store and preserve such exclusive specimens.
We dedicated the month of October to tetrapods and filled it with social media posts about wintering strategies of various animals, thoughts on natural history, photo galleries, and videos illustrating what our collection means to the students, staff, and faculty of The Ohio State University. With the help of Devon Olding Videography, we made several short films highlighting our extinct species, storage of specimens, how we make specimens. Stephanie gave public outreach talks for Columbus Audubon and at the Ohio Avian Research Conference highlighting the importance of natural history collections.
Some specimens of extinct bird species in their current cabinet
A special thank you goes out to our students who worked on blog posts, helped with social media posts for Instagram and Twitter, and assisted with the design of our handouts to publicize the event.
At the end of our campaign, we exceeded our goal of $5,500! With the raised funds we will purchase a new cabinet on wheels, trays, and acid free tray liners to ensure that our extinct species will last for hundreds more years. Very different than a cabinet found in your kitchen, a museum-quality heavy-duty metal cabinet is made to last and protect the specimens from hazards such as pests or water. Additional funds will go towards a new display cabinet to allow us to show-off our species of the month during tours.
We want to thank all of you who helped share our posts and videos and a special thank you to those who donated to the campaign. We hope you had fun learning about tetrapods, The Ohio State University’s Tetrapod Collection in particular and what our collection means to our students, faculty and staff – more about this in Friday’s post.
About the Author: Stephanie Malinich is collection manager of the OSU tetrapods collection.