Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany: Research. The plant collections of the Department of Botany are among the most important worldwide. This vast and intensely managed collection of over 5 million specimens represents a premier national and international resource.Retrieved March 25, 2021 from https://naturalhistory.si.edu/research/botany/news-and-highlights.Upcoming Events:
Botany Seminar Series
The NMNH Department of Botany seminar series features guest speakers presenting their current research. Topics range from taxonomy, evolution, and systematics to plant ecology and conservation biology. All seminars are held on Thursdays at 2pm Eastern (unless otherwise noted). If you are interested in receiving notices of upcoming seminars and web links to the virtual presentations, subscribe to the Botany Seminar email list by sending your name, affiliation, and email address to Gary Krupnick.
March 25 – Greg Stull (Kunming Botanical Garden): Phylogenomic insights on the tempo and mode of gymnosperm evolution
April 15 – Adriana Hernández (Cornell University): TBA
April 29 – Sandra Hoffberg (Columbia University): TBA
May 6 – Shayla Salzman (Cornell University): TBA
The 18th Smithsonian Botanical Symposium, 13-14 May 2021, to explore plant symbioses, Retrieved March 25, 2021 from https://naturalhistory.si.edu/research/botany/visitor-page
This is another exhibit that can be viewed online at the museum.Beauty Rich and Rare follows Captain James Cook’s 1768 voyage to Tahiti, New Zealand, and Australia. On board was English naturalist Sir Joseph Banks to record Australia’s flora and fauna in meticulous detail. To mark the 250th anniversary of the voyage, the National Library of Australia commissioned Sydney-based AGB Events to create and produce Beauty Rich and Rare – an immersive sound and light display featuring original illustrations, charts, and Banks’ journals. Retrieved March 25, 2021 from https://naturalhistory.si.edu/exhibits/beauty-rich-and-rare

This week’s module included several videos that I have viewed before for Ethnobotany. One video discussed the preservation of digital content.They make some excellent points on preservation. The floppy disks, as well as media storage devices are becoming instantly obsolete. How do we preserve our digital collections at such an accelerated pace? Moreover, the question includes devices that can translate old data onto new data platforms, while keeping that digital content intact. Years ago, I worked for IBM, my job was to preserve archival information and photos into a digital format. I did enhancement imagery for distorted photographs. I equate this to a conservator working on a dirty piece of artwork. For myself, I did my assigned collections through digital imagery. We had a lot of black and white photography that needed their colors cleaned up and edges repaired. Written content on these documents were distorted. It was extremely hard for anyone to read or interpret the documents. My job was to enhance and clean the written content so people could clearly read them, and if possible translate their information. Most projects had written content that was blurred or faded. Projects came from all over the U.S. Some projects were in French. The work was time consuming and required a lot of attention to detail.

There is so much media content in museums that it was hard to choose one. However, I decided on the Smithsonian Natural Museum of History. The museum provides realistic 3-D imagery for its stores and departments. It allows the visitor to experience and observe the museum from numerous angles, as if they were actually standing inside the museum. This includes, the virtual and digital content tours. I watch multiples tours for example: Dr. Kirk Johnson provides an introduction, as well as other tours that include the Sant Ocean Hall Carcharocles megalodon, North Atlantic Right Whale, Indo-Pacific Coral Reef, the David H. Koch Hall of Human Orgins and Introduction, Past species, and Reconstruction to name a few.

They do have Webcasts as well with dates and time for example Marine Science in the Morning, 2021 Virtual Season: Women in STEM. This session is free and the visitor will need to register.

Marine Science In The Morning, 2021 Virtual Season: Some in STEM, Retrieved March 25, 2021 from https://naturalhistory.si.edu/events/marine-science-morning-mangrove-research-northern-florida


Dr. Loraé T. Simpson from the Florida Oceanographic Society will discuss her research into the mangroves of northern Florida.

Global climate change is driving the expansion of mangroves into saltmarsh habitat in Florida, which may alter ecosystem processes through changes in ecosystem structure. With their unique structure and migration to higher latitudes caused by climate change, mangroves may help coasts keep pace with sea level rise, increase carbon dioxide sequestration from our atmosphere and combat severe weather events like hurricanes. Expansion of these natural barriers along the Atlantic coast may enhance the sustainability of coastal communities as they face impending changes in a warmer future.

Registration Link:



Online; Internet connection required

Online Link


Signup URL



Natural History Museum


Natural History Museum


Science & Nature

Since, the exhibit tours are virtual and in a digital format for the museum, their digital content eventually will need to be preserved and updated as technological advances improve and/or discovered. The other caveat to this will be the online digital expansion of exhibits being photographed and included into the existing collections (acquisitions or removal of artifacts). I think the museum did an excellent job. However, I have seen one where you stand in a living exhibit and you can feel and observe the gardens by being online. They provide a user experience for the visitor from all perspectives. Someone, did an excellent job interpreting how a visitor would walk through a living exhibit, as well as anticipate what they would like to observe on their walk.

The link to the Smithsonian Natural History Museum: https://naturalhistory.si.edu/events

Question: How do you think the Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum virtual tours or exhibits should be preserved for future generations?


Smithsonian Natural History Museum, (2021).Marine Science in the Morning: Mangrove Research in Northern Florida, Retrieved March 25, 2021 from https://naturalhistory.si.edu/events/marine-science-morning-mangrove-research-northern-florida

Smithsonian Natural History Museum, (2021). Events and virtual online exhibits. Retrieved March 25, 2021 from https://naturalhistory.si.edu/events

4 Thoughts to “#10 Media Discussion”

  1. Michael Hubert

    this was a good read for the week. to answer your question. I think that we need to be forward thinking in the way that we preserve exhibits for the future. there is something to be said about having to actually see a item in a museum. I feel that with technology ever evolving I would hope that people figure a way to combine the virtual exhibit with a real exhibit to make it interesting for the next generations.

    1. Barbara Long

      Good Afternoon,

      I feel that, the physical and/or rather tangible exhibits may fade as technologies advance throughout the years. Sadly, we may be only left with the virtual components. I hope this does not happen. Thanks for your response.

  2. Erin Gingrich

    Thank you for sharing, that is a lot of informative digital content! As for preserving this digital content, I would think that maybe moving to follow the form of exhibition catalogue/booklets but make it digital! This way that content could be shared and available for research and if parties are interested then the whole exhibition or tour could be shared from the museum’s digital collection/archive. I feel that timing is an important part of museum media and that this format could let the exhibition/tour be accessible beyond its active timeframe without having to maintain it live on the museum’s website. Quyana!

  3. Angela Linn

    The pandemic has really changed the way many museums are operating around the world. Just today Colleen Dilenschneider published her report on how engaged people have been with museums online this year: https://www.colleendilen.com/2021/03/31/people-really-are-interacting-with-museums-online-during-the-pandemic-data/.
    Museums have really gotten creative this year in serving our communities in new and thoughtful ways. Virtual gallery tours, collection chats, museum minutes, and many more leaves us asking, to what degree to do we continue after visitors start coming back in greater numbers and we can start interacting in person again. These tours and other resources serve as wonderful tools for connecting with museums all around the world, and I for one, hope museums keep up the good work. Preserving this work will require new digital curators and curation specialists.

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