Lilly Lakritz, BMC ‘26

Science Education at the Academy of Natural Sciences

Semester: Spring 2024

Praxis Course: HART B420 Museum Studies Fieldwork Seminar

Faculty Advisor: Matthew Feliz

Field Site: The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University

Field Supervisor: Mariah Romaninsky

Praxis Poster: 



Further Context:

Maya Hofstetter, BMC ’25

The East Coast Well Core Inventory Project

Semester: Spring 2024

Praxis Course: HART B420 Museum Studies Fieldwork Seminar

Faculty Advisor: Matthew Feliz

Field Site: The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University

Field Supervisor: Alejandra Martinez-Melo

Praxis Poster: 

Maya Hofstetter_Poster_S24


Further Context:

This spring, I interned in the Invertebrate Paleontology collection at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University (ANSP) as the fieldwork component of the Museum Studies Praxis Seminar. I worked on the East Coast Well Core Inventory project, which involved sorting, rehousing, and logging a collection of artesian well cores. Most of the cores were collected by ANSP member Lewis Woolman from 1889 to 1903, but the collection includes samples from as late as the 1970s. It came to the Invertebrate Paleontology collection through former Curator Horace G. Richards, but the samples were never accessioned by the ANSP. They are not technically ANSP samples, and no information about the numbering and organizational conventions given to them by Gordon has been found. My day-to-day activities included data input using Excel, rehousing bags of dried silt, sand, and gravel, and consulting logs and maps to decipher locality information. I only came to the collection one day a week and would spend most of my time working with the cores alongside Owen Goodchild, the full-time Collection Assistant working on the project.

The well cores are housed in tall metal specimen cabinets that overflow into the halls outside of the official collection space. Most of the cores do not have enough location or collection data associated with them to be viable in research, or enough fossils. The samples, especially those housed in fabric pouches, release fine clay dust into the air whenever they are moved. Fly ash, a coal manufacturing by-product, coats most of the boxes (and whoever touches them) in a black, powdery residue. Oftentimes, we would have to check each box, envelope, or pouch for a core to figure out the depth range, which got messy quickly. Having another set of hands to input data into the spreadsheet, even for just one day a week, sped up the project. As of late April, inventory has officially been completed and efforts had shifted to contacting organizations (i.e., state geological surveys) or institutions (i.e. universities) who can accept sections of the collection. A total of 777 cores were inventoried, and 65% of cores described in a set of inventory notecards have been located (355/510 cores). The most popular locality was New Jersey, at 55% (433 cores), followed by North Carolina at 27% (215 cores). If all goes well, portions of the cores will be transferred to new, better-equipped homes soon!