The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) awarded a $39,944 grant to the paleontology collections of the Alabama Museum of Natural History. The goal of this project is the rehousing, digitizing, and imaging of the cataloged part of the historic invertebrate paleontology and type collections over the next two years starting in September. Curator of Paleontology Dr. Adiel Klompmaker and Chief Curator Dr. John Abbott received the wonderful news on August 5th.
The paleontology collection is one of the largest components of the Alabama Museum of Natural History collection, consisting of at least 500,000 specimens, representing ~500 million years of time in Alabama and surrounding states. The largest portion of the collection consist of invertebrates, many of which were collected about 100 years ago. The collection is used for research, teaching, exhibits, and outreach each year, but the collection also faces major challenges. This grant will help to properly curate and make accessible about 100,000 specimens. These specimens include the most important specimens of the collection: type specimens based on which new species have been described. The specimen images and records will be uploaded in the freely accessible online database Arctos by the end of the project in 2023.
The results of the project will benefit the UA community, national and international researchers, pre-college students in Alabama, and the general public. The grant also provides great opportunities for UA students to help during the project, in particular a number of students from the University of Alabama Museum Studies Certificate Program. They will directly benefit from highly valuable work experience in the collections, furthering their career opportunities. Check out our website and social media channels for regular updates on the project.