MEDIA ADVISORY: Yale symposium to explore innovations in conserving natural history collections

“Emerging Technology and Innovation in Natural History Collections Management” will be the theme of the 27th annual meeting of the Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections (SPNHC), to be held at Yale. More than 300 museum specialists will convene at the symposium being hosted by the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History June 11-16.

In addition to numerous workshops and panels, highlights of the conference will include award-winning science writer Carl Zimmer’s keynote address, “From the Page to the Pixel: Science Writing Goes Online,” and a plenary session on the digital lifecycle of collections, presented by leaders in the field. Program details are available here.

“The public understands how the Large Hadron Collider and the Hubble Space Telescope are tools for research,” said Christopher Norris, senior collections manager at the Peabody and SPNHC president-elect. “Digitization enables us to demonstrate that natural history museums – with their apparently eccentric collections of pickled animals, pressed plants, and trays of fossils – are also large-scale research tools.”

“Digitization is changing the paradigm for museum collections by unlocking their potential to answer research questions on a global scale,” said Tim White, director of collections and operations at the Peabody and chair of the SPNHC 2012 organizing committee.

Participants will learn about the many collaborative programs at Yale, including the newly created Institute for the Preservation of Cultural (and Natural) Heritage, housed at Yale’s West Campus. The institute unites the vast treasures of the University's museum and library collections with the scientific and technological expertise of Yale's academic departments to advance conservation science and its practice around the world.

“Yale is a leader in conservation science, with more than 20 years experience in digitization of scientific objects,” said Derek Briggs, director of the Peabody and professor of geology and geophysics. “We are proud of the contribution of the Yale Peabody Museum to this field, and we are honored to host our colleagues from across the globe for this meeting.”

Founded in 1985, SPNHC has grown into an international organization; its membership is composed of collections-care professionals devoted to the preservation, conservation, and management of natural history collections.

Media wishing to cover the keynote address or other sessions must register in advance with Kianti Roman of the Yale Office of Public Affairs and Communications via email at kianti.roman@yale.edu. All events require pre-registration and credentials. No one will be permitted access without credentials.

For more information, visit the meeting website.