The annual Museum of Natural History Collection Crawl occurred this past weekend allowing attendees to go behind the scenes and see collections usually reserved for research and teaching purposes.
This year was the fifth Collection Crawl hosted by the museum. The museum can be found inside the Albertson Learning Research Center
Once a year, the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Museum of Natural History makes its collections available to the general public.
The Collection Crawl lets visitors interact with student and faculty curators and experience the research going on at UWSP.
Attendees got to access 25,000 square feet of labs, classrooms and collection storage areas. On display were many rarely exhibited specimens.
The attendance for the crawl has reached up to 1000 in past years. The Collection Crawl is a free event open to the Stevens Point Community.
On Saturday there were around 750 people who walked through 410 live herpetology and ichthyology labs in the TNR. There were also over 1000 individuals who stopped in to see the live animal display.
Activities during the crawl included planting seeds, bird feeder making, reptile interactions, face painting, coloring pages and preserved specimens for viewing and or touching.
“This event is a great way to expose kids to science in a fun and interactive way,” said senior Kristina Schultz. “I got involved in the collection crawl three years ago through the herpetology society. The herpetology has live animals out that visitors can learn about and even touch! We had live animals, a walk through tour of 410, preserved specimens in room 400, face paint and coloring.”
The UWSP Museum of Natural History was originally founded in 1968 as an exhibit for the biology, archaeology and geology collections held by the university.
The museum now hosts over 400,000 specimens and is constantly growing thanks to the efforts of the students and faculty research. Usually around 700 specimens are on display at any given time.
There are also several research and teaching collections not available to the public that include collections from the following areas: anthropology, archaeology, botany, entomology, geology, herpetology, ichthyology, mammalogy, ornithology, paleontology and parasitology.
Students with interest in certain collection areas can get involved in the museum through paid work study positions, paid and unpaid academic internships, and volunteer positions.
There are also positions available in the museum store. Students can gain valuable retail experience, experience dealing with museum visitors, acting as docents within the museum, creating and presenting natural science programming to K-12 and adult museum audiences and assisting in the creation of exhibit related graphics and scientifically accurate informational signage for upcoming rotating and permanent displays.
The Museum of Natural History also is very active in the community. The outreach and service program serves over 100 school districts in the area and northern part of the state.