GSA Connects 2021 in Portland, Oregon

Paper No. 175-9
Presentation Time: 3:35 PM


HERMSEN, Elizabeth1, BLUME, Helaina1, COHEN, Phoebe2, HAAS, Don1, HENDRICKS, Jonathan1 and MOORE, Alexandra1, (1)Paleontological Research Institution, 1259 Trumansburg Road, Ithaca, NY 14850, (2)Geosciences, Williams College, 18 Hoxsey Street, Williamstown, MA 01267

Daring to Dig: Women in American Paleontology is an in-person exhibit and companion website ( developed by the Paleontological Research Institution (Ithaca, New York). This project started as a children’s book published in 2017 and a series of video interviews of women paleontologists at all career stages recorded at Geological Society of America meetings over a period of several years. The exhibit builds on these pieces, providing a rough timeline showing the interaction between the changing role of women in society and how social changes were reflected in the participation of women in paleontology. While the main focus of the exhibit is on women working in the U.S., some significant early contributors who lived and worked in the U.K. (such as Mary Anning) were included. The exhibit emphasizes how not only gender but also class, race, marital status, and motherhood affected how women were able to contribute to the field of paleontology through time, as well as whether and how their contributions were acknowledged. The historical portion of the exhibit primarily covers the 19th and 20th centuries, beginning when women were typically collectors and illustrators who worked with male family members and ending with women professionals contributing to museums, academic institutions, industry, and the USGS. The final portion of the exhibit features 13 women paleontologists who are active today, representing a diversity of research interests and career paths. The companion website includes more extensive content for the historical women featured in the physical exhibit, profile pages and edited video interviews for women who participated in the video interview project at past GSA meetings, and resources pages with additional educational videos and references. The in-person exhibit will continue through the end of 2021, whereas the companion website will remain available indefinitely. We hope that this exhibit, both in its physical and virtual forms, will help to rewrite the narrative of the role of women in paleontology for the general public, as well as future generations of paleontology students of all genders.