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Abstract Detail

Historical Section

Trock, Debra K. [1].

Botanizing Western North America - 160 years at the California Academy of Sciences.

Like a Phoenix, literally rising from the ashes, the herbarium at the California Academy of Sciences has weathered many dramatic events during its nearly 160 year existence. The California Academy of Sciences was founded in San Francisco in 1853 by a group of seven amateur naturalists who saw in California, more than the riches of the gold fields. Dr. Albert Kellogg, one of the original founders was a physician by trade, and served as the first Curator of Botany at the fledgling institution. His collections from California, Oregon and Alaska formed the core of the original herbarium. Over the years the Academy has weathered a high profile murder, two major earthquakes and three major moves. Along with substantial set-backs, the Academy has also seen its share of good times and been the source of many new innovations. Although the Academy has always been a multi-disciplinary institution conducting research in the fields of anthropology, vertebrate and invertebrate zoology, paleontology and geology, since the beginning it has been the Botany Department that has often led the Academy into the future. The first female curator at the Academy, Dr. Katherine Brandegee, was a botanist. Alice Eastwood was in charge of the department when the Academy became one of the first North American collections to actively separate its type specimens from the general collection - a move that was to have profound positive consequences when disaster struck. Some of the earliest floristic accounts of western North American plants were produced by Academy botanists. The 1905-06 Expedition to the Galapagos Islands was, at the time, the largest and most comprehensive attempt to explore those mysterious islands. The collections gathered on that expedition were, "the largest and most important ever gathered". In the 1960's the Botany Department was the first department at the Academy to begin to use computers, and in the 1970's one of the first botanical collections to use compactorized storage. More recently, the entire Academy moved from a temporary building into the first museum building to attain a LEED Platinum green building certification, and once again Botany led the way, being the first department to move into the new building. Today the Academy's botanical collection is worldwide in scope and houses the largest collection of vascular plants from CA in the world.

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1 - California Academy of Sciences, Botany, 55 Music Concourse Drive, San Francisco, CA, 94118, USA


Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Session: 29
Location: Morrow/Hyatt
Date: Tuesday, July 10th, 2012
Time: 11:00 AM
Number: 29004
Abstract ID:404

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