Vertebrate Paleontology Archives IMLS Grant

In fall 2020 the Department of Vertebrate Paleontology was awarded a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to improve access to the department’s archives.

After a delay due to the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, work on the grant-funded project began in April 2021. This grant is instrumental in the start of a long-term project whose ultimate goal is to catalog and database the contents of the VP Archive according to current professional standards to encourage their discovery and use by researchers, students, and the general public.  

Currently, only a small subset of the cataloged archive materials are searchable in an online database, with the remainder maintained in an analog catalog system. Additionally, more than half of the materials consist of uncatalogued items. The goals of the current grant are to create records for the cataloged materials in a searchable online database and survey and create preliminary catalog records for the uncatalogued material. 

Through our survey of the uncatalogued materials, we hope to discover and bring to light some hidden gems. Among these are works created by a corps of artists whose work was informed by and supported the scientific endeavors of the research staff. The work conducted under this grant will lead us to a better understanding and appreciation of this artwork and of the artists who produced them, including Elizabeth Fulda who in the early 20th century forged her artistic career in a field generally dominated by men. 

A dedicated team, including a Project Archivist and Interns supported by the grant, Research Library staff and Vertebrate Paleontology collections staff is working on surveying the archives and creating new digital records to be housed in an online database in the Museum’s Research Library.