It has been a quick eight weeks and we have seen and learned an invaluable lot about the way a museum is set up, how the different departments interact and how best to problem solve as a team. On behalf of the interns, I’d like to thank the American Museum of Natural History and the National Science Foundation for this opportunity.
Monday, August 25, 2008
Our final week as a group at the museum was downright hectic. So much so, that I am actually writing this from home on Saturday morning! It all began with business as usual: lining drawers, creating lists for specimens needing attention, conducting inventory and georeferencing. I think georeferencing has quickly become one of the interns’ favorite projects. The task began with an excel file filled with hundreds of locality names from sites where perissodactyl fossils have been found. Each intern was assigned a general area, or collector: Mongolia, Lusk, Ainsworth and Skinner. What ensued was a hunt for any and all information about the localities comprising these areas. Searches began with locality registrars and logs as well as Internet databases and mapping programs. When these sources failed to provide enough information it was necessary to find more in the archives! For some localities, it was necessary to find a specimen in the collection in order to figure out where in the archives information about its corresponding locality might be. Confusing? Well, it was to us at first too. Once in the archives, we sorted through shipping records, maps, correspondences, sketches and pictures. How the times have changed! I came across many a letter beginning “My Dearest Frick” and some amusing antiquated language. We spent the beginning of the week really georeferencing up a storm and writing up reports so as to keep the next researcher informed of our progress.