Cataloging Objects

Throughout the life of the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History, many people have brought in a great variety of objects as donations to help build the Museum’s collection. From Arthropods to Zuni pottery, the generosity of these donors has created the strong collection that exists today. I am often asked how the Museum tracks the information of these objects.

When these objects are given to the Museum, any information regarding the object is recorded in a catalog. Originally, our catalog was a card catalog with hand written entries. In 2009, this card catalog became entirely digitized into an online database. This information includes answers to basic questions such as: Who gave it to the Museum? What is it?  How old is it? Where did it come from?  How big is the object?  What materials is it made from?  These are but a few of the pieces of information the Museum wishes to record about any given object.  In almost all cases, this information is regarded as equally important as the object itself.  The Museum is currently upgrading this catalog information with photographs of the objects and working on sharing our heritage photography on the Museum website. It is our hope that more of our collection will be visible online in the coming years as this effort proceeds.

If a Child was Amazed in a Forest... Would It Make a Sound?

My 12 year old son is a full-time matriculated student at the University of YouTube.

No joke.

He needs to learn something? He knows where one million Professors are waiting. ...all aiming to teach and entertain with the ingenuity and brevity that draws large, broad audiences. Within limits, this "just-in-time", self-directed access to content and concepts has to bring some good.

My son's generation definitely has it's own pace. Today's Digital Revolution is changing every aspect of our society. Entire industries have been created and dissolved in my lifetime (Blockbuster anyone?)

I find small comfort knowing that this dizzying rate of change has been experienced previously. The Industrial Revolution brought people together in urban settings in a way that made people feel more isolated. The counter-pulse was a return  to nature. The National park Movement. The Conservation Movement. (Thank you Audubon Society.) The Arts & Crafts Movement. The Louis Agassiz Nature Study Movement. Our Natural History Museum was one of the first to open in the nation in 1883.

...and here we are again. Today's Digital Revolution is connecting people in ways that can also feel isolating -and again we see a rebirth of the Natural History movement.

Bear paw.jpg

Something else my son loves? Our little low-tech Museum. He can see a bear on the computer, but he can have a bear experience (safely!) in the Museum. He holds his hand up to the bear's paw, then raises his hand to his eyes to examine his finger nails. "I need better claws." he declares before running to a case with eggs neatly lined up in a row.

Last year I announced that we were going on a camping trip ...NO electronics allowed. You would have thought that I had cut him off from a safe water source. Complaints and whines all the way until we pitched our tent. During a walk through a forest he had to carefully teeter across a log over a brook. "This is the best day of my life Mom."

Mine too.

Meet the Team

Our museum opened its doors in 1883. For 130 years this museum has been helping people explore and appreciate nature in the California Central Coast. Continuing this tradition is our Museum team; the most dedicated, passionate, and creative group I've ever worked with.

We started this blog to extend the conversations that we’re having within the museum walls out to our friends, colleagues, members, and anyone interested in nature and the California Central Coast. 

The Museum Bloggers

Paul VandeCarr, the Museum Collections Curator, will tell the stories of the Museum’s collection of over 50,000 objects.

Annie Holdren, Ph.D. is the Museum Exhibitions Curator and will provide deeper insights into our museum exhibitions and how they connect with the Central Coast.

Learn more about citizen science with Ann Wasser, the Museum Education Manager.

As the Museum Outreach Program Manager, Allison Watson loves to promote science, nature, and culture through hands-on creative activities and events. 

Please join us as we share our interests in and passions for this incredible region.

Jeanette Kihs
Executive Director
Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History