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UCMP awarded a two-year collections improvement grant

We are pleased to announce the receipt of a grant of ~ $470,000 from the National Science Foundation – a two-year collections improvement grant to "Complete the rehabilitation of the orphaned USGS fossil invertebrate collection at UCMP."

In 1997 the University of California Museum of Paleontology (UCMP) accepted responsibility for an extensive invertebrate collection (170,000 fossils from 12,100 localities) the United States Geological Survey (USGS) Menlo Park. Unfortunately, the comprehensive documentation stored with the fossils was not preserved as archival material and was deteriorating.  Moreover, during the move the collection was scrambled, many of the wooden cases damaged, and the doors lost.  In 1998, one third of the collection was integrated into UCMP’s main collection.  This project will (1) re-house the remaining two thirds of the collection in museum-grade cabinets, (2) reorganize, re-label, and digitally capture the contents of the drawers, and (3) digitally capture and store the documentation in archival media.

This collection, largely from the West coast of North America from the last 25 million years, is unique and irreplaceable. It has generated over 1,000 publications, including systematic and biostratigraphic studies, paleoecological and paleoclimatic research, resource assessments, and geologic surveys.  Funds from this grant will provide important curatorial experiences for graduate students, engage undergraduate students in authentic research activities, and allow us to hire a Museum Scientist (invertebrate speciality) for the length of the project to direct the work.