As I mentioned in my last post, we are busy developing new engagement opportunities and looking for ways to foster richer interactions. Some of these are real and ready, while others remain fun fantasies … at least for now. Check ’em out:
We posted several opportunities on the Penn State Undergraduate Research site, focused on training students in collections care and research. We focused these experiences of topics we predicted would be engaging for students (Spiders! Parasites! Aquatic insects! Collections care!) but which also overlap with ongoing conservation and research efforts at the Frost. These are primarily volunteer or research-for-credit experiences, although the parasitic arthropods digitization project is supported by a recent grant from the National Science Foundation. We can actually offer a paid position for that research area.
These are excellent opportunities for students to get experience in collections-based research, museum science, and data management. They’re not limited to people from the sciences either. We’ve had mutually rewarding interactions with students from Arts and Architecture (example!) and Liberal Arts. If feel like helping us advertise these opportunities in your presentations we made a Powerpoint slide just for you!
Several Penn State classes have visited the Frost in the last few years, and we really want to make our public space and collections useful for a diverse array of applications. Just a few examples:
- Graphic Design Studio I (GD 200) used some of our larger specimens as subjects for icon design, using graphic design principles
- Ideas as Visual Images (ART 110) used our teaching collection as subjects for learning how to draw and use water colors
- Natural History Collections and Techniques (WFS 497C) visits every year to learn about management and techniques for entomological collections
- Principles of Environmental Interpretation (RPTM 325) students learned about our public engagement mission and strategies for exhibit design
- Preparation Skills for Success in Biology and Life Sciences (BIOL 1) and Introduction into Ethics and Issues in Agriculture (AG 160) learned about resources at the Frost Museum and about ethical issues in entomology
- Art Education graduate students learned about our collection and goals for the public space
Can you think of ways our or other natural history collections could be used by students? One visiting Penn State English professor proposed sending her students here to study the parallels between gall wasps’ manipulation of plants and the question of whether or not humans have free will. Opportunities abound!
Of course there are many, many other types of people that would want to visit the collection, observe our specimens, and/or and learn about entomology. Artists, scouts, school field trips, LifeLink PSU, Pennsylvania’s Summer Academy for Students who are Blind or Visually Impaired, to name a few recent and ongoing interactions. We’d love to add more groups to our list!
Watch this space for other programs as they get closer to reality.