Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The engineering behind repositories

Fig.1. Specimens in a freezer. (Credit: Sarah Pack)

“Those (refrigerators) heat up, (samples) die. You can lose your sample if things don’t work properly,” said Phil Baird, former vice president of operations at the American Type Culture Collection (ATCC).

At Harvard’s McLean Hospital in 2012, that’s exactly what happened. When freezers shut down at the hospital without triggering alarms, 150 brain samples, banked to study autism, decayed.

“... Up in Boston a few years ago, they had thousands of autism brain samples, and they weren’t properly set up and monitored. And the power went out and they lost them,” Baird said. “Having a repositories isn’t just plugging in a bunch of freezers.”

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Maryland's hidden treasure

Fig.1. Sara Rivers-Cofield displays a part of the
MAC Lab collection. (Credit: MAC Lab)
Sara Rivers-Cofield always planned on pursuing archaeology. Her background prepared her for it. She bagged a bachelor’s in history and anthropology at Murray State University and a master’s in applied anthropology at the University of Maryland. She landed a position working in collections after doing seven years of fieldwork.

After working on a conservation assessment at Historic St. Mary’s City, Rivers-Cofield found herself in the “right place, right time” when there was an opening at the Maryland Archaeological Conservation Laboratory (MAC Lab) at Jefferson Patterson Park & Museum in St. Leonard, Md.

Rivers-Cofield is curator of federal collections at the MAC Lab, a repository for archaeological finds recovered from land-based and underwater projects conducted in Maryland.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Food security workshop registration now open


We are pleased to invite you to register for our symposium, Stressors and Drivers of Food Security: Evidence from Scientific Collections. The symposium will be hosted by the US Department of Agriculture at the National Agriculture Library in Beltsville, Maryland, just outside Washington, D.C., Monday to Wednesday, 19-21 September 2016.