Tuesday, March 30, 2010

It’s ID Day at the Peabody Museum

Visitors are invited to bring in rocks, feathers, bones, artifacts,
shells, critters and other natural history objects and curiosities

NEW HAVEN - Experts are ready to identify visitors' object at the “Skeletons in the Closet: It’s ID Day at the Peabody” event from 2 to 5 p.m. April 15 at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History in New Haven.

The Museum will be free and open to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. that day.

“It’s a perfect opportunity to bring what we call natural history curiosity objects,” Daniel L. Brinkman, museum assistant in Peabody’s Vertebrate Paleontology Division said in a statemnet. “Some objects have been handed down through families while others have been picked up in a backyard or out walking on a trail.”

About 10museum experts will be on hand to identify rocks, artifacts, feathers, insects, shells and any other likely objects, but not antiques, the statement said. All specimens are welcome, but living creatures must be safely secured in breathable containers and promptly returned to their native environment, Brinkman said. In each case, a certificate will be available, signed by the proper expert on what the object actually is, the statement said.

“We want to get the word out ahead of time to give people a chance to bring in what they have,” Brinkman said in the statement. “People have been disappointed to arrive on ID Day not realizing they could have brought in their interesting objects for identification.”

The best area for fossilized findings is the Central Connecticut River Valley, Brinkman noted. Most authentic submitted findings from there have been dinosaur footprints and fish fossils, he said. People without items of their own will have a chance to look at rarely seen objects and specimens from the Museum’s collections.

Patrick Sweeney, collections manager at the Yale University Herbarium, will be on hand to identify botanical specimens. Visitors might bring in dried fruits, bark or twigs, but photos of plants not now in bloom also are welcome. He will display a cross-section of Herbarium specimens from fungi to flowering plants. “I will feature an exhibit on ferns that children have found fascinating,” he said. Using a dissecting microscope, visitors will be able to see examples of the microscopic spores and spore producing structures and learn about the fern lifecycle.

Photo is by David Heiser.

Editor's note: The information in this post was provided by the Peabody. It is lightly edited here.

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