"It Belongs in a Museum"

Written by Paul Sutter on Monday, 02 October 2017. Posted in From The Desk of...The Chief Scientist

This week's memo arrives courtesy Dr. Katherine O’Brien, a postdoctoral fellow at OSU and the community outreach specialist for the Museum of Biological Diversity. Her goal is to increase diversity in STEM by developing connections between universities, the arts, museums, and the communities they serve. To support this mission, Katherine also organizes the Columbus Science Pub and is an active member of the STEAM factory.

After hearing form Dr. Meg Daly at Science Pub last week it got me thinking about all the other work that museums do besides create engaging exhibits. Museums are always happy to have people come see the exhibit halls or to participate in the events they host. After Dark is great event if you don’t have plans this Thursday you can get into the Halloween spirt right here at COSI, just saying. Museums are also community centers for education, think of all the videos Dr. Paul Sutter puts out to teach us something new every week or answer our questions about the stars. The other role museums play is as storage for specimens, like the Museum of Biological Diversity or Orton Hall on OSU campus.

Storage is a real problem for many museums. The American Museum of Natural History and Smithsonian both have large offsite areas where they house the majority of their collections not on public display. Similarly, the Museum of Biological Diversity houses the natural history collections for OSU dating back to the founding of the school. Don’t think of this like a storage locker where you keep old furniture you just can’t throw out. These storage facilities are really active research spaces staffed by curators that use the collections to investigate the natural world. One great example from this year the museum acquired a large collection of fish from the University of Indiana, around 2,000,000 individual fish. They used this collection to make better maps of species ranges which they used for the fish survey this summer.

About the Author

Paul Sutter

Paul Sutter

Paul Sutter is COSI's Chief Scientist. He is an astrophysicist and offers a wealth of knowledge about our universe. In addition to his COSI position, Paul Sutter is a Cosmological Researcher and Community Outreach Coordinator at The Ohio State University's Center for Cosmology and AstroParticle Physics (CCAPP).