Behind the Scenes 

Monarch Takeover - Behind the Scenes of the Putnam's butterfly collection.

Collections Part IWhat you see versus what's in storage at the museum.

Mastodont SkullEver wonder how a huge mastodont held up his head? Look inside a mastodont skull to see how nature engineers in amazing ways.

CrinoidsEver wonder if crinoids are plants or animals? Watch Chris, Curator of Natural Science, show us this remarkable fossil.

Glass Sponge - Can nature's engineering beat human-made materials? Discuss among yourselves.

What in the world is this? - Yep, you guessed it! It's a hairball from a cow! 

Behind the Scenes Photos

This icebox represents a time when Mexican immigrants helped build the Quad Cities’ infrastructure. Mexican Americans were recruited to fill factory and railroad positions while American men were serving in World War I. They usually lived in barrios (neighborhoods) in make-shift houses frequently made from railroad boxcars with no electricity. This icebox was used to keep food cool in one of these boxcar homes.

Why do these Lakota (Sioux) moccasins have glass-beaded soles? It seems very impractical to walk on a layer of glass beads. They were actually a status symbol. The soles could only be seen when riding a horse. The soles suggest the wearer has so many horses (sign of wealth) that he doesn’t have to ever walk! They were also called “burial moccasins” because they were frequently placed on deceased tribal members.

We love our Mazon Creek fossils from Illinois. Did you know these fossils are 309 million years old? This paleoecosystem was once a tropical climate along a large river delta system. Our earth has an incredible history! 

Believe it or not, Sea Urchins are preyed on by many predators such as the cute sea otter. Hoever, if left unchecked in nature, sea urchins will decimate kelp forest. Our kelp forests are important becuase they reduce our carbon footprint. 

We love this Morpho Butterfly!

Taking Readings in Egypt!A big part of our mission is Preservation! Curious how Unearthing Ancient Egypt looks in the dark? The exhibit lights are off currently since the museum is closed. We use this cart to make our rounds and check temperature & humidity in the exhibits & collection areas. Every week we go around and download temperature and humidity readings from our data loggers so that we can see what's happening. Keeping a stable environment in exhibit and collection storage spaces is an important aspect of preserving the collections. Many objects don't like sudden changes in temperature and humidity. If it's too dry, wood & hides might crack; too wet, mold may start to grow. The data loggers allow us to keep a running record of the environment through out the year.

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