Last week, Kelvin got to explore a wing of the Greensboro Science Center that many people may not know about: Collections. Downstairs behind a locked door are five rooms containing over 10,000 objects that are part of the Center’s permanent collection. Kelvin saw antique scientific equipment, gems, minerals, and taxidermy specimens.
Kelvin’s favorite find was a late 1800s copper diving helmet. Our Curator of Collections, Kelli Crawford, even helped him try it on but it was much too big for him! And heavy! It weighed almost fifty pounds. You won’t see the divers in the SciQuarium wearing those.
Kelli also showed Kelvin our Collections database where we store records about each object in our collection. Kelvin looked through the records and learned that the Science Center acquired the diving helmet in 1991.
Kelvin learned that museums hold objects in the “public trust,” but he wasn’t sure what that meant. Our Curator explained that even though every museum can’t display every object in their collection, they preserve them so that they can be studied in the future. These objects are often a window into the past that can help scientists and historians make sense of changes that we can’t see happening in a day or a year or even a decade.
You can see a few of the items stored in our Collections department through the windows in the downstairs hallway across from the touch lab.