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MBL History Project closes its 4th Season

On Friday, July 22, 2016, the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) History Project closed its doors on its fourth season.

This year, ASU University Professor, Jane Maienschein, along with MBL History Project Manager and CBS Project Coordinator, Kate MacCord, led a team of four ASU graduate students, and two undergraduates from Brown University and Barnard College, through a 10-week stay in Woods Hole, MA.

Started in 2013, the MBL History Project is a digital initiative run by Maienschein, in collaboration with the MBL Library and Archives. The MBL History Project’s mission is to preserve and communicate the history of science of the MBL and its surrounding community in Woods Hole, MA. The MBL opened in 1888, and has remained at the forefront of innovative research and education for the life sciences since that time.

This year, in order to facilitate that mission, the MBL History Project team focused on conducting oral histories, creating exhibits, and digitizing archival materials.

CBS graduate students Christian Ross and J.J. LaTourelle led the oral history team, conducting interviews with MBL scientists and community members. Willa Green, an undergraduate intern from Barnard College, learned how to conduct oral histories under LaTourelle’s guidance, and will continue to interview community members until she leaves Woods Hole at the end of August. These oral histories are edited and made publically available on the project's YouTube channel.

CBS graduate students Sean Cohmer and Federica Turriziana Colonna, as well as Beatrice Steinert, a recent graduate of Brown University, worked on creating exhibits.

Cohmer created an exhibit on the history of collecting and selling organisms from the MBL, which is on display within the MBL Library. He will follow this up with a digital exhibit for the MBL History Project website that documents several facets of biodiversity and organism collecting at the MBL.

Meanwhile, Colonna wrote a digital exhibit on the first director of the MBL, Charles Otis Whitman, and Steinert, who was with the project during the third season, is currently working on a digital exhibit about how a frequent scientific visitor at the MBL, Viktor Hamburger, visualized normal development.

Finally, Colonna, along with Green, digitized the majority of the correspondence of Charles Otis Whitman.

Although the fourth collecting season is now over, the MBL History Project continues during the off season and its leaders are already planning their return to the MBL in May of 2017.

More information:

Kate MacCord