All Collections Blog Posts
I received my order of a gallon of glycerine this morning and went right at the test. I first heated up water and poured it over the curling grass. The grass immediately rehydrated and straightened...

Posted on: Friday, July 27, 2018 - 2:32pm

The grass we received from Wyoming is drying quickly. After hanging all of the grass clumps upside down, I have been observing it over the past week and have noticed that the grass blades aren’t...

Posted on: Wednesday, July 25, 2018 - 2:26pm

The Alaskan Brown Bear diorama is basically done. The bears have been re-colored, the tie-in with the crowberry ground cover is complete, the Collared Lemming has some more color in it’s fur (and a...

Posted on: Tuesday, July 24, 2018 - 8:02pm

My able volunteer Stefan Hurlburt comes in on Thursdays and does a variety of tasks around my shop (he shows real promise as a taxidermist!). He strengthened the drooping long grasses with seed heads...

Posted on: Friday, July 20, 2018 - 1:45pm

This morning, I received 3 large boxes at the Peabody Museum of fresh grass clumps from Wyoming. Michelle Downey from Yale Forestry School’s Ucross High Plains Stewardship Initiative in Clearmont,...

Posted on: Wednesday, July 18, 2018 - 12:11pm

Before & after skinks: Skink in the Mule Deer diorama before removal

Posted on: Monday, July 9, 2018 - 3:09pm

I finished re-coloring the bears this afternoon. Here are the before and after photos: Actually this is not completely a “before” picture, the bears are partially finished. Note the contrast between...

Posted on: Friday, July 6, 2018 - 2:14am

I got started the re-coloring process in the Alaskan Brown Bear diorama. I looked at the Bear rug closely for guidance on color and patterns of light and dark (value patterns) in the fur. There are...

Posted on: Tuesday, June 26, 2018 - 1:59am

I started in earnest today on the bears. I brought up some of the planks we have used previously in the Shoreline and the Bog dioramas. They fit into the Bear diorama beautifully so I can now walk...

Posted on: Thursday, June 21, 2018 - 9:20pm

The Mule Deer and the Alaskan Brown Bear dioramas were opened this morning with help from a local glass company, Whalley Glass. Four strong-backed guys from Whalley Glass picked up the two large...

Posted on: Wednesday, June 20, 2018 - 3:42pm

A big day today!I moved giant steps forward with the re-coloring. I first packed up the female skin from the Burke Museum and hauled out the male skin. I am using these skins to determine the value...

Posted on: Wednesday, June 13, 2018 - 7:06pm

I went online to look at images of female bison and whether they have fur on their forelegs. It appears there is a significant variation. I could find some with short fur over the foreleg and others...

Posted on: Tuesday, June 12, 2018 - 7:54pm

I was looking at the female Bison's foreleg and looking at the painted Bison in the background. The taxidermied foreleg is bare of the long dark fur that the male has and that ALL the other painted...

Posted on: Wednesday, June 6, 2018 - 6:54pm

This diorama has more to be done than I thought. Once inside the diorama, I found some unusual additions to the foreground. They looked like small, wadded-up pieces of brown paper with orange paint...

Posted on: Wednesday, June 6, 2018 - 2:31pm

I spent the last couple of days getting dyes into a solution of alcohol to be ready to airbrush new color onto the Bison mounts. I will use the Burke Museum skins as color reference as well as the...

Posted on: Wednesday, May 30, 2018 - 7:55pm

I don't know what I was thinking, but the felting and furring over cracks took only a short amount of time. I estimated it would take three weeks and it only took a couple of days. The bison are now...

Posted on: Wednesday, May 23, 2018 - 7:49pm

Repairs to the cracks have now been wrapped up on the Female and juvenile Bison mounts. The cracks have been bridged with spun-bond polyester fabric, glued to each side of the crack with BEVA gel...

Posted on: Monday, May 21, 2018 - 3:27pm

There has been lots happening today. Collin is recoloring the prairie dogs. We went up to our bird and mammal skin collections and checked out a Black-tailed Prairie Dog skin and a Lark Sparrow study...

Posted on: Tuesday, May 15, 2018 - 8:04pm

Patrick Sweeney called and told me he had made an identification of the grasses from the diorama. The label to the diorama says that the grasses are “Buffalo grass” and “grama grass”.

Posted on: Friday, May 11, 2018 - 2:34pm

Before I write about the Bison, I want to pick up a thread from the last blog post of being unsure what to do with the grasses. I think it is clear that I can't re-install the old, brittle grass and...

Posted on: Wednesday, May 9, 2018 - 1:35pm

So after all the preparation, consulting, purchasing of supplies, erecting of the barrier wall with picture window, the glass of the diorama was removed. The first thing done was to remove the male...

Posted on: Sunday, May 6, 2018 - 6:32pm

In the midst of holiday recess, on the first morning of a decidedly colder weather pattern, three Yale staff met at 8AM at the West Campus Farm to continue what is becoming an annual tradition – the...

Posted on: Monday, January 11, 2016 - 5:44pm

When I begin to tell friends and family what it is I do at the Peabody, it usually goes the same way:  As soon as I’m finished saying “...a project restoring a collection of plaster fish molds...

Posted on: Friday, June 20, 2014 - 5:27pm

It all started (at least on my end) with reading a post on the CT birdlist about some Nelson’s Sparrows at the Connecticut Audubon Coastal Center in Milford, CT. At the bottom of the post was a...

Posted on: Friday, October 18, 2013 - 11:46am

Working in a natural history museum (or any museum), there are a number of truths that you learn early on. Not all collections spaces are made equal and the collections will ALWAYS grow. As stewards...

Posted on: Tuesday, August 20, 2013 - 4:31pm

In 1865 O.C. Marsh visited Newark, Ohio to excavate a mound and published his findings in an article entitled “Description of an Ancient Sepulchral Mound near Newark, Ohio.”  During his visit he...

Posted on: Monday, June 17, 2013 - 2:59pm

On Tuesday, April 23, 2013, around nine o’clock in the morning, the phone on my desk rang. I picked up and the voice at the other end said it was Sgt. Brian Boutote from the Wolcott Police Department...

Posted on: Friday, April 26, 2013 - 1:11pm

Todays blog comes to you from the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History. I have officially started to blog about some of the things that I do at work. Historic Scientific Instruments (HSI) is one of...

Posted on: Friday, February 17, 2012 - 11:04am

As we swelter through another Northeastern summer, and read the media reports about global warming, it's hard to comprehend that the Earth is actually much cooler than it was at the end of the...

Posted on: Monday, November 7, 2011 - 12:00pm

A number of modern and fossil sponges made their homes inside the shells of other organisms. Rather than taking an empty gastropod (snail) shell like a hermit crab, these sponges literally move into...

Posted on: Monday, November 7, 2011 - 12:06pm

Some weeks ago, I met with two of my colleagues Laura Friedman and Lowell Dingus, to begin work on selecting mammal fossils for the Cenozoic gallery. Like me, Laura and Lowell are both "alumni" ("...

Posted on: Monday, November 7, 2011 - 12:09pm

The latest edition of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology contains not one, but two papers on the resolutely unglamorous topic of growth series. This was a sufficiently momentous occasion that I...

Posted on: Monday, November 7, 2011 - 12:16pm

This post is devoted one of the Peabody Museum's illustrious progenitors, Charles Emerson Beecher. He was born in Dunkirk, NY in 1856. While the geographic setting of one's hometown does not always...

Posted on: Monday, November 7, 2011 - 12:20pm

I'm not one to blow my own horn, but as this was a collaborative project, co-written with my colleague Marilyn Fox and with help from a small army of Peabody and Yale staff - I think I can get away...

Posted on: Monday, November 7, 2011 - 12:25pm

It's been a while since I last posted on the subject of the Peabody fossil halls project, which is not to say that we've been doing nothing - architects have been engaged, designers are being...

Posted on: Monday, November 7, 2011 - 12:27pm

The Burgess Shale is an amazing deposit. Since its discovery at the turn of the last century, it has been our window into an amazing explosion of life during the Late Cambrian. Organisms living in...

Posted on: Monday, November 7, 2011 - 12:31pm

This one's for you, Dan! What are the differences between brachiopods and bivalves, and how do you tell them apart? The first thing one might notice if looking at them from a taxonomic viewpoint is...

Posted on: Monday, November 7, 2011 - 12:34pm

This may not be as exciting a post as the one about the internal differences between these two groups, but it has lots of useful tips for any budding paleontologists who want to know if they've found...

Posted on: Monday, November 7, 2011 - 12:38pm

A couple of weeks ago a colleague sent me a post from the Center for the Future of Museums blog about a new exhibit that is being planned for the Peabody. It's called "Big Food" and its about...

Posted on: Monday, November 7, 2011 - 12:39pm

Climb in a cab at New Haven’s Union Station and say you’re going to the Peabody Museum and I guarantee that you will probably have a conversation that goes something like this: “The Peabody Museum,...

Posted on: Monday, November 7, 2011 - 11:23am

Most museum paleontology galleries follow one of three well-trodden themes. These are: 1) A Walk Through Time. The layout of the gallery follows the progression of geological time. I am in the...

Posted on: Monday, November 7, 2011 - 11:28am

When I was a kid, my big brother, Peter, was the proud owner of a set of bound magazines called Knowledge that were published in the early 1960s - the idea was that you collected them and they grew...

Posted on: Monday, November 7, 2011 - 11:31am

August Krantz began his fossil shop in Freiburg, Germany in 1833. Through personal relationships with important scientists and collectors of the day, August Krantz amassed a sizable and diverse...

Posted on: Monday, November 7, 2011 - 11:53am

I've spent the last couple of weeks having my first experience of teaching at Yale. Naively, having tutored a small army of Oxford undergraduates in during my time there, I thought that Yale students...

Posted on: Thursday, October 13, 2011 - 5:17pm