Our Bruce Museum Black-footed Penguin sure gets around town. Originally from South Africa, he now resides in our natural history collection: you may remember him from a recent trip through the collections freezer. He has been on another adventure, this time serving as the model for a technological demonstration. In this photo, our penguin is sitting on a chair being laser scanned (actually, he is a tad short so had to stand on a milk crate). The screen to the right shows the read-out.
This 3D scan will allow us to make a replicate of the penguin at live size. The Bruce Museum is partnering with the local MakerBot store for a special Penguin Appreciation Day event where we will have a penguin evolution lecture and then print a penguin live. If you are in the Greenwich CT area on January 11th, please join us at 6:30pm.
At the Bruce Museum, we take good care of our specimens. One of my favorites is of course our Black-footed Penguin (who by the way needs a name – please vote on here). Here it is, taking a one-week vacation from the natural history collections cabinets in the deep-freeze. Why this destination? One of the many ways museums keep specimens safe from pests is precautionary freezing. This kills insect pests that can infest objects like bird feathers and mammal fur and lead to damaged or destroyed specimens. When new specimens come into our museum or we shuffle things on and off display, we give them a deep freeze as a safeguard against unwanted hitchhiking pests.
Disclaimer: In case any museum folks were horrified to see me putting a penguin directly into the freezer, we seal all our specimens in bags before freezing them to prevent frost damage.
The Bruce Museum needs your help! We have a wonderful penguin in our collection, and it needs a name.
Please go to the museum’s Facebook page to vote for your favorite name – or suggest your own! We’ll report the winner and then cover some of the planned travels of this particular penguin in service of science and education.
So far, the leading candidates are Mrs. Bagley (after the 1942 donor of the specimen), Marples (after penguin paleontologist Brian J. Marples), Griswold (after original Bruce Museum Curator Paul Griswold Howes), and Moffat (after Robert Moffat Bruce, who ceded his estate to house the Bruce Museum in 1908).
This summer March of the Fossil Penguins went on hiatus while I moved north. I’m now a Curator at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, and we have some great penguin content (fossil, live, and virtual) planned for the next few months. Stay tuned as we get back to work promotion penguin science!
If you need a fossil penguin fix right away, the New England Aquarium hosted a series of four fossil penguin posts while we were offline, and you can see them all at the aquarium penguin guest blog.
Things have been quiet at March of the Fossil Penguins lately, in large part because I have busy moving north. This summer, I started my tenure as the Curator of Science for the Bruce Museum. Now that things are settling down, there are some new posts on the horizon. For the summer, I am planning a series of 4 articles for the New England Aquarium’s guest blog, and I will link to each of them here. Several other penguin researchers are guest blogging as well. Right now, you can read about Dr. Jessica Kemper’s adventures deploying GPS loggers on African Penguins.
April 25th is World Penguin Day (not to be confused with Penguin Awareness Day, which is January 20th). I celebrated a bit early by sharing the story of our African penguin research at Sigma Xi headquarters. You can see a podcast reviewing the story at the American Scientist website.