Door 13: Christmas Excitement at the Museum

“On the thirteenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me”…an unbridled curiosity of organismal diversity and their relationships, historical contexts, and the natural world that has directly informed my career. Me too!

While my fascination of the natural world isn’t directly related to the holidays, I am often reminded of my childhood excitement on Christmas morning while conducting science and working in museums. The Christmas-morning-excitement sweeps over me particularly as I walk through museum exhibits and collections. This is because, as a museum researcher, I get to explore collections for their scientific applicability; it’s this applicability, this potential, that piques my interest and enthusiasm, because museum collections hold untold and/or invisible stories about species and individuals, their evolution, and historic events. As a molecular researcher, I try to reveal these invisible stories through genomic approaches (e.g., DNA). Indeed, modern molecular techniques have made increasingly temporally relevant (old) genetic information available, revealing incredible and relatable stories (e.g., “Never Cry Wolf“).

I never thought I could make my interest museums and history into a career when I was a child. I am extremely lucky (and tenacious) to have been able to develop into such a dynamic career and one where I get to have feelings of Christmas-morning-excitement. Furthermore, museum research has lead me to new and diverse research avenues, such as invertebrate phylogenetics (see Figure), collection preservation histories, methods optimization, and paleopathological assessments.

As the New Year approaches, I hope be able to keep the holidays all around the year through moments of small reflection and excitement as I work at the Natural History Museum of Oslo.

Figure 1. Sampling museum collection invertebrates.

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