About This Show
The Sauropodcast is where you can find provocative, engaging, enlightening conversations about science. Produced by the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and hosted by award-winning science journalist John Mangels, this half-hour interview show features scientists and science newsmakers discussing cutting-edge topics from the frontiers of research and the intersection of science, policy, popular culture and everyday life. It’s science out loud.
Most Recent Episode
Episode 13: Sailing for Science: the Voyage of the Blossom, with guest Wendy Wasman
Where does the stuff we see in museums come from?
In the case of natural history museums, the fossils, the rocks, the insects, the animals and birds, and all the other items on display — someone had to go out and find and collect them.
It’s that process — natural history researchers traveling long distances to exotic places, searching for specimens they’re interested in, bringing them back for study, then displaying them so that museum-goers can learn about them — that’s the subject of our story on this episode of the Sauropodcast.
Back in the 1920s, the Cleveland Museum of Natural History was brand new, literally starting from scratch. It had almost nothing to display, just a few cabinets of stuffed animals and birds. Not much to work with.
So the museum’s leaders came up with an ambitious idea — in some ways an audacious idea. They would buy a sailing ship, assemble a team of scientists and explorers, and send them off for two years. The crew would travel all around the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans, stopping in foreign countries, landing on tiny islands, some of which were uninhabited, going even as far as the Antarctic, to bring back specimens for the Museum to study and display.
That was the plan. A combination of Charles Darwin and Indiana Jones. And as with all plans, the devil was in the details.
Our guest today will tell us how that plan worked out. It’s quite a tale.
Wendy Wasman is the Cleveland Museum of Natural History’s librarian and archivist. She holds degrees in cultural anthropology from Oberlin College and in library science from Kent State University. She’s spent years researching the Blossom Expedition, as this journey came to be known. An exhibit based on her research, called “Sailing for Science: The Voyage of the Blossom,” opens at the Museum on March 24.
Episodes of This Show
Dec 6, 2017
Nov 1, 2017
Oct 4, 2017