Exploring the Natural History Collections at the MMA
Natural History Collections, acquired and stored over decades or even centuries, hold a record of what existed where, when—and they hold the key to understanding other things as well—from the evolutionary relationships among species to the diets of hard-to observe animals. This talk will discuss the importance and use of specimens, explore the history of the biological collections at the MMA, and dive into how some kinds of specimens are prepared. We’ll virtually tour the collections held at Maria Mitchell’s Research Center, checking in on cabinets of birds, insects, spiders, marine invertebrates, fishes, mammals, and plants, and showcasing some of our most interesting specimens and the stories of how they came to us or how they are being used. Finally, Julia will explain how to access the MMA’s specimen data online.
ABOUT JULIA: Julia Blyth is the Natural Science Collections Manager at the Maria Mitchell Association. She has been working in museums since 2007, getting her start as a student curator at the Ohio Wesleyan University Zoology Museum as an undergraduate. In addition to maintaining the MMA’s biological collections, she currently files mosses and lichens for the New England Botanical Society in the Farlow Herbarium at Harvard University. She lives in western Massachusetts, where she also works for a permaculture firm promoting native and edible perennial. She grows a large garden, manages the local Tool Lending Library, chairs the Northfield Open Space Committee, and serves on the Franklin Regional Council of Governments. Julia was a Natural Science Intern at the Maria Mitchell Association in 2010 and 2011, returning in 2012 as a manager within the department.