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Michigan State UniversityLyman Briggs College

Dr. Montgomery will help create traveling exhibit showcasing women in paleontology

Beginning this October, LBC’s Dr. Georgina Montgomery will work with the Paleontological Research Institution (PRI) as well as other historians, scientists, and educators to plan and design a traveling exhibition that will share the challenges and triumphs of the women—past and present—who strived for equality in the field of paleontology.montgomery


The project team submitted a proposal to the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) in the category of Museums, Libraries, and Cultural Organizations Planning Grants and was awarded $60,000.


The exhibit will showcase American women who have contributed to the field of paleontology, from the detailed drawings of Cecilia Beaux to the innovative ideas of Esther Applin. Unfortunately, these contributions have never received the wide recognition of those made by men. Women’s paleontological work was frequently unpublished, or published without adequately acknowledging their contribution. Even after the idea of women pursuing higher education and careers was considered socially acceptable, women were frequently discouraged from entering science in general, and the Earth sciences in particular. Even today, women comprise only 23% of the membership of the Paleontological Society, the leading U.S. professional organization in the field.


The PRI exhibits and education staff will lead a team of historians, scientists, and educators to research historic artifacts and specimens, develop the exhibit’s stories, plan public programs, and begin preliminary exhibition design.


The project team also includes:
Michele Aldrich, California Academy of Sciences
Warren Allmon, Paleontological Research Institution
Paul Brinkman, North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences
Sandra Carlson, University of California, Davis
Jane Davidson, University of Nevada, Reno
Linda Deck, Bradbury Science Museum
Julie Fick, Michigan State University Museum
Richard Kissel, Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History
Rob Ross, Paleontological Research Institution
Beth Stricker, Paleontological Research Institution


The team will also be working with exhibit developer Ed Mooney of emDESIGN, and visitor study specialists from Randi Korn & Associates, Inc.


At the end of this planning stage, the project team will apply for additional grants, which would fund the final design and fabrication of the exhibition. The 5,000 square foot exhibition will travel to participating institutions, and then would be available to other museums across the country as part of the Museum of the Earth’s Traveling Exhibitions Program.