2005 Salt Lake City Annual Meeting (October 16–19, 2005)

Paper No. 4
Presentation Time: 1:30 PM-5:30 PM


ADRAIN, Tiffany S.1, BUDD, Ann F.2, ADRAIN, Jonathan M.1 and GOLDEN, Julia1, (1)Department of Geoscience, The University of Iowa, 121 Trowbridge Hall, Iowa City, IA 52242, (2)Geoscience, University of Iowa, 121 Trowbridge Hall, Iowa City, IA 52242, tiffany-adrain@uiowa.edu

In 2001, the University of Iowa Paleontology Repository was awarded a National Science Foundation grant of $255,149 to reorganize the collections, the first phase of a larger project to improve standards of curation and computer documentation. This first phase focused on (1) a complete evaluation of the significance of the collections, (2) curation of several special collections and research collections, (3) physical reorganization to maximize storage space.

Key criteria for evaluating collection significance included site accessibility, quality of specimen data, research potential, need for preparation, stability and space requirements. Visiting specialists were invited to evaluate under-utilized collections and provide recommendations for retention or development, transfer to satellite storage facility, or transfer to teaching and outreach collections. Special curation projects included curation of retiring faculty research collections (conodonts, Quaternary vertebrates, comparative seed collection), and several special collections: the Shimek Collection of Quaternary non-marine mollusks (1878-1936), the Belanski Collection of Devonian faunas (1924-1928), and C. C. Nutting's Caribbean expedition collections (1890-1922). This latter collection formed the basis of two undergraduate research projects resulting in a website and an exhibit. These collections were poorly identified, uncatalogued and, in some cases, still in original field wrappings. They were curated and organized and their data quality and research potential evaluated.

Benefits of the project include significantly increased access to, and use of, the collections, improved storage and preventive conservation measures, and expansion space for faculty research collections. A backlog of important curation projects (type material) was cleared. To improve access to specimen data, the specimen catalogue database was migrated into SPECIFY and made available on the Internet. The project also contributed to training through the employment of graduate and undergraduate students, encouraged student specimen-based research, and provided valuable opportunities for undergraduate Museum Studies interns.