Staff in the News

Natural History
John Kress, curator and research scientist in the Department of Botany, and SI Libraries curator Leslie Overstreet were featured April 12 in a special segment of “CBS Sunday Morning” that highlighted his collaboration with photographer Jonathan Singer on Botanica Magnifica. The original folio copy of this magnificent collection of photographs of rare plants was recently obtained by SI Libraries’ Cullman Library.

Photo: From left, Nancy Gwinn, director of SI Libraries; John Kress and photographer Jonathan Singer examine the folio copy of Botanica Magnifica.

Senior Scientist Mark Littler and Research Associate Diane Littler, of the Department of Botany, attended the American Academy of Underwater Sciences 27th Scientific Diving Symposium in Atlanta in March. They presented “Health of Coral Reefs: Measuring Benthic Indicator Groups and Calculating Tipping Points.”

Supervisory Museum Specialist Rusty Russell participated in Smithsonian Citizen Science Week (April 5-10) in Riverside, Calif. The Riverside Metropolitan Museum, a Smithsonian Affiliate, organized numerous public activities around a workshop entitled “The Record of Southern California Biodiversity, and a Role for Citizen Science.” This workshop, organized and convened by Russell and James Bryant, Natural History curator at RMM, assembled more than 40 professionals from 22 public and private institutions throughout the state.

Scientific Illustrator Alice Tangerini participated in the American Association of University Women’s annual Career Day for Middle-School Girls held at Fairfax High School in Fairfax, Va., on March 14. Women discussed their careers in scientific fields with seventh- and eighth-grade girls. Tangerini gave a presentation about how a plant travels from field to herbarium and finally to scientific publication.

Doug Ubelaker, curator of physical anthropology, was the keynote speaker at the Seminario de Antropologia forense at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico in Mexico City in March. He gave six presentations: “Anthropology in Forensic Science,” “Differentiation of Human and Animal/Bone and Microscopic Approaches,” “Taller de Tafonomia y Diferenciacion,” “Gunshot Wound and Blunt Force Trauma Interpretation,” “Case Studies” and “Comments about FOROST.” The meeting was sponsored by the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico and California State University East Bay.


National Zoo
The late Michael Robinson, right, director of the Zoo from 1984 to 2001, was honored with a dedication plaque at the Zoo’s Amazonia Science Gallery. Former Zoo Director John Berry, who recently left the Smithsonian to become director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and Robinson’s former wife, Barbara Robinson, were on hand to unveil the plaque in his memory.

Museum Conservation Institute
Jia-sun Tsang, senior paintings conservator, has passed the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design professional accreditation exam as part of the Smithsonian’s “green design” initiative. Accreditation certifies that Tsang understands LEED principles and can apply them to MCI projects in collections preservation.

From left, Richard Moe, Martin Sullivan and Ben Bradlee. (Photo by Troy Gruber)

From left, Richard Moe, Martin Sullivan and Ben Bradlee. (Photo by Troy Gruber)

Portrait Gallery
Director Martin Sullivan was awarded Historic St. Mary City’s highest honor, the Cross Bottony, at a Maryland Day ceremony on March 29. Sullivan was chief executive officer and executive director of HSMC between 1999 and 2008. During his tenure, museum facilities and exhibits were added and updated and the museum gained accreditation from the American Association of Museums. The Cross Bottony Award recognizes important contributions to the interpretation of Maryland’s history and the preservation of St. Mary’s City, the site of Maryland’s first capital. Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley; Rep. Steny Hoyer; president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the HSMC Commission president Richard Moe; and Washington Post vice president-at-large Ben Bradlee were among those attending the ceremony and other festivities marking the founding of the Maryland colony in 1634.

American History
Pete Daniel, curator of Rural Life and Southern History, gave the presidential address “Tobacco Culture: Marion Post Wolcott’s FSA Photographs” at the Organization of American Historians convention in Seattle on March 28. The talk focused on the relationship between Leonard Rapport, who worked for the New Deal’s Southern Writers Project, and Wolcott as she photographed activities at tobacco warehouses in Durham, N.C. in the 1930s. The convention also featured an exhibit of Daniel’s photographs taken since the late 1960s.

Posted: 28 April 2009
About the Author:

The Torch relies on contributions from the entire Smithsonian community.