I am happy to have the pleasure to welcome back one of the first GWU-Museum Studies interns I hosted several years ago. Julia Grasso, Ashley Lorenzen, Sarah Bradley and Rachael Cannon all worked together a few summers ago on a collection conservation project in the sea fan collection. Julia contacted me recently about wanting to come back and help out with moving specimens in IZ. Today was her first day “back in the saddle”, this time helping to reposition and “curate” specimens in the coral type collection that were moved down into our new collections storage room several months ago.
This single image goes in so many directions. First, the most obvious shows Julia busily engaged working in the collection. I am very grateful that she wants to return to work with me in the Cnidaria collections. She is a very competent member of my team, not unlike the other GWU students I’ve worked with over the course of the last few years; Victoria Otero and Colleen Davis.
Second, with two cases open, the image shows off many of the type specimens used by James Dwight Dana in his epic tome on coral taxonomy “Zoophytes”, one of the many volumes documenting the exploits of the U. S. Exploring Expedition. The USExEx sailed around the world from 1838-1842, to chart unknown reefs, officially document the existence of the Antarctic continent and bring home countless artifacts ranging from Anthropology to well, Zoophytes of course. All of those artifacts were the seed for the National Collections. It is a slice of the history of both American ingenuity and science in America that continues to be archived for time immemorial at this museum.
Third, it shows the great collection storage cases provided by Viking Metal Cabinets, all on compactor storage carriages provided by SpaceSaver Systems. The combination is literally the best of both worlds; maximizing storage while facilitating accessibility. To say I have enjoyed moving our collections into this new space and these new cases is an understatement. It has been the realization of a dream.
I intend to make further installments of news relating to our collection moves. Nothing less than 15 months have passed since it all first started and a lot has transpired that deserves acknowledgement! Equally valuable is acknowledging those that have helped, as I couldn’t have done any of this without them!
By Tim Coffer