Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
Yesterday, I left our little collection in Montana and flew out here to Washington, D.C., to meet with some of the mammalian collections curators at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. To say I am overwhelmed is a great understatement; in the few hours of the morning I spent touring the 6th level of this enormous facility I only saw the tiniest fraction of the collections. For example, the squirrels occupy a room the size of a small gymnasium, easily 4-6,000 square feet of cabinet upon cabinet full of our friends Sciuridae, with dozens to a drawer. I got to walk through 3 different rooms full of jarred specimens, and one of them alone could have easily accommodated our 3,500 specimens from the UMZM. Most importantly, I was able to discuss some imperative collections management issues with Charles Potter, the collections manager for the marine mammals, and he gave me some invaluable information that will certainly help us in the betterment of our own museum collections. He had some great insights and potential solutions to some of our storage problems, and it was wonderful that he took the time out of his busy day to sit down with me and offer his advice. I am so grateful!
Afterwards I took a quick run through a few of the exhibits, so here are a fraction of the highlights from the Hall of Mammals, and the Vertebrate Osteology/Skeleton exhibit. More to come!
I am so humbled by the generosity and hospitality of all of the staff at the Smithsonian, and being granted the opportunity to tour a part of the museum that the public rarely sees was certainly a highlight of my life. Most importantly it completely validated and reenforced my incredible desire to pursue a lifetime of museum curatorial work, and to do whatever I can to stay in this magical world of wonders!