History Collection hosts annual Open House

ASNHC provided a lecture, tour and games in annual open house

By Sydney Faison
On November 16, 2018

Photo by Ian Saint: Bruce the bullsnake flicks his tongue as he slithers through his handler’s fingers. The San Angelo Nature Center brought Bruce and many other animals to the collection opening.

The ASU department of biology hosted its annual Open House for the Angelo State Natural History Collections on Nov. 8 in Room 100 of the Cavness Science Building.

Dianna Krejsa, ASNHC collections manager, presented the lecture "Why Our Museums Matter: Plight and Promise of Natural History Collections in the 21st Century."

"We are able to solve problems in relation to forensics, disease control, climate change and agricultural expansion," Krejsa said. "We are entering the age of big thinking which makes research limitless."

The presentation covered ongoing areas of research, such as the discovery of new species in the depths of the ocean and in forests, viruses and DNA sequencing.

Krejsa explained how to make a traditional specimen through the process of measuring, recording, opening, stuffing and sewing a specimen. She also discussed the theft and fires that have occurred at museums that caused losses and damages of specimens.

Aside from the lecture, attendees had the opportunity to enjoy a selfie station, see live animals and play a pollination mix-and-match game. Attendees could also sign up for a newsletter with ASNHC updates and receive a tour of the collections.

ASNHC held the event in honor of Dr. Terry C. Maxwell and offered his wildlife art for donations.

Some of the students in the biology department explained how being a biology major has had a positive impact on their lives.

"The professors invest in us academically and professionally, so we have a close-knit relationship which allows many opportunities for networking," M’Kayla Motley, senior, said.

Motley attended two academic conferences: South Western Association of Naturalists and Texas Society of Mammologists.

"I feel like I am making an impact toward educating other people about important topics such as conservation and climate change," Miranda Perry, graduate student, said.

"I have learned mind-blowing stuff, such as how the world works and see how it is constantly changing," Andrew MacPhie, senior, said.

"Studying how diverse life can be and observing different survival mechanisms is amazing," Brent Wesley, senior, said.

The ASNHC contains over 150,000 specimens of animals and plants from the Concho Valley, other regions of Texas and the U.S., Mexico, Africa, Asia, Australia and the Galápagos Islands.

The collections aid student and faculty research projects, are used as teaching tools and have been viewed by thousands of students through special guided tours.

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