24th annual meeting of SPNHC

Bridging Continents - New Initiatives and Perspectives in Natural History collections

6 - 11 July 2009

Leiden, The Netherlands




Committee reports



The Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections was formed in 1985 and is recognized as a non-profit organization in the United States. SPNHC members receive Collection Forum, a biannual journal of reviewed technical information, and two issues of the SPNHC Newsletter each year. The Society for the
Preservation of Natural History Collections (SPNHC) is a multidisciplinary organization composed of individuals
who are interested in development and preservation of natural history collections. Natural history collections include specimens and supporting documentation, such as audio-visual materials, labels, library materials, field data,
and similar archives. The Society actively encourages the participation of
individuals involved with all aspects of natural history collections.
The SPNHC Newsletter (ISSN 1071-2887) is published twice a year, March and September, by the Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections, c/o Division of Ichthyology, Natural History Museum & Biodiversity Research Center, University of Kansas,
Dyche Hall, 1345 Jayhawk Boulevard, Lawrence, KS 66045-7561, USA.
Changes of address should be directed to SPNHC Treasurer, Planetarium Station, PO Box 526, New York, NY
10024-0526, USA.
Submissions are welcome. Please forward announcements, articles and notes to the Newsletter Editors by mail
or email.
Deadline for the next Newsletter is February 1, 2009.


Archives Committee

The Smithsonian Institution Archives (SIA) houses the archives of SPNHC. From 1993 to 2007, SPNHC deposited 16 groups
of material totaling 23.5 cubic feet and spanning the years from 1981 through 2007. Examples of this material include
Collection Forum, SPNHC newsletters, documentation of annual meetings, financial files, election ballots, member-at-large
files, various committee files, videos, CDs, and photographs.
The oldest files (SIA # 93-100) were examined as part of a conservation assessment of the SPNHC archives.
This material, deposited in 1993, is 3 cubic feet in volume and covers the years 1981 to 1993.
These files are representative of the deposited material and its conservation issues.
These issues were ranked as high, medium, or low priority.
In consultation with SIA staff, a multi-phase approach is being developed for dealing with the conservation issues for the
SPNHC archives.
As appropriate, various supplies will be purchased for rehousing some material.
Conservation issues
that were ranked as high should be mitigated in the next year.
The committee will continue to receive, list, and transfer material to the Smithsonian Institution Archives.
As some SPNHC archives may need to be rehoused prior to transfer to SIA, all material that has been received since the last deposit is currently being held by the committee.
Respectfully submitted,
Linda Hollenberg, Chair

Conference Committee

Ten members attended the 2008 meeting of the Conference Committee.
After a flurry of activity last year to approach possible future venues, committee activity was a bit lighter this year, mostly responding to questions from venue planners about meeting details.
Many thanks to the Oklahoma Local Committee for the great meeting they hosted!
We are working on a complete revision of “Information for Planning and Conducting Annual Meetings of SPNHC”, the multi-page detailed listing of the “nuts and bolts” behind holding a SPNHC meeting. Last revised in 2000, there are many items that need updating. Gretchen Anderson is overseeing this effort, based in part on
her recent experiences from the 2007 St. Paul meeting.
We have added two people to the Conference Committee to help with continuity in communication and programming.
Marcy Revelez will now work with the local committees and serve as our primary contact with our vendors.
She will also be reviewing sponsorship levels.
Clare Valentine is serving as a Program Liaison with the Leiden Local Committee – this is also seen as a continuing role between meetings.
2009 Annual Meeting – the theme and dates for our gathering at Leiden, The Netherlands have been released: “Bridging Continents - New Initiatives and Perspectives in Natural History Collections” will take place on 6-10 July, 2009, with workshops scheduled on 11 July. Watch for their website describing more about
the meeting.
2010 - A presentation on the 2010 meeting, our 25 th Anniversary Celebration, in Ottawa, Ontario, was made at the Annual General Meeting.
This is the first joint meeting with a taxonomic society (the Canadian Botanical Association).
Discussions and preparations are well on the way and it looks like it will be as close to a joint meeting as one can get.
The 25 th Anniversary Subcommittee has been activated to assist with planning.
Future meetings: 2011 – two tentative “feelers” have been sent; no decisions have been made yet.
The Peabody Museum, Yale University, has expressed interest in either 2011 or 2012 as well.
Respectfully submitted, Rich Rabeler, outgoing Chair
Jean-Marc Gagnon, incoming Chair

Conservation Committee

General Information
Jude completed her term as co-chair in May. After serving as cochair of the Conservation Committee for eight years, she will continue to contribute by chairing the Adhesives Historical Research Committee. Thank you Jude!
Oversight of the Citations Subcommittee has been moved to the Documentation Committee.
Conservation Advocates are individuals with particular expertise who are willing to give practical advice to colleagues when queried about preservation and conservation. If you have expertise in a particular area and are willing to have questions forwarded to you, please contact Victoria Book. You don’t have to be a Conservator to be a Conservation Advocate.
Update your Emergency Plan! If you need guidance, would like to see some examples, or have a plan that may be helpful to other collections and institutions, please contact Victoria.
Resources Display Units Subcommittee Subcommittee Co-chairs: Cindy Ramotnik (US); Kelly Sendall (Canada)
The US RDU was at the Museum of the North, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, AK, from April 21-25 for the Department of Interior Curating Natural History Collections class, and in Oklahoma City, OK, for the annual SPNHC meeting, 13-17 May.
General information on both the USA and Canadian Resources Display Units is available at http://www.spnhc.org index.html.
If you are interested in finding out more about the Resources Display Units or to request a loan for collections-based meetings, conferences, and workshops,
please contact Cindy or Kelly at the addresses above.
Also, if you have a suggestion regarding content please let us know.
We are beginning to research feasibility of a European unit.
Considerations will include a European location to house the unit and someone who can easily keep up with products and availability in European countries.
Adhesives Historical Research Subcommittee Subcommittee Chair: Jude Southward Topics for a survey of adhesive use in natural history collections have been identified. A pilot survey is in development.
Fluids Historical Research Subcommittee
Chair: Andy Bentley
No progress to report.
Respectfully submitted,
Victoria Book, Chair

Documentation Committee

The Documentation Committee met during the 2008 NSCA/SPNHC Meeting in Oklahoma City.
A total of 11 people attended: Julie Droke, Marcia Revelez, Liz Leith, Terri Jordan, Mary Catherine Boyett, Jessica Cundiff, Lori Benson, James Macklin, Judith Price, Laura Abraczinskas, and Rich Rabeler.
The committee would like to acknowledge Kelly Goulette and take this opportunity to thank her for her service to the committee.
She has stepped down to devote more attention to her institution’s expansion.
The committee would like to welcome Marcia Revelez as the new co-chair.
She is a collection manager in the Dept. of Mammalogy at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History.
The Citations Subcommittee, formerly of the Conservation Committee, was transferred from and is now under the guidance of the Documentation Committee.
Please see below for subcommittee report.
Discussions at this year’s committee meeting focused around (1) the SPNHC website, (2) resource building, (3) the list serve, and (4) bridge-building between other organizations, particularly discipline-related ones.
The committee is interested in utilizing the website as a resource point for documents, forms, etc., to be used as standards for the natural history museum community. These materials would be available to anyone, free, and downloadable as pdf documents. James Macklin commented that he is open to modifying the website in any way that would allow it to be more resourceful and useful to the members of the society.
The committee has begun compiling a list of relevant materials (especially checklists) and would be interested in any documents or ideas SPNHC members have to offer.
James Macklin is looking into a way to create a system that would allow the listserv archives to be searchable.
 The possibility of creating a forum or discussion board on the website would also allow members to be more interactive in topic discussions.
Anyone interested in joining the Documentation Committee or contributing ideas should not hesitate to contact the co-chairs, Julie Droke (jdroke@ou.edu) or Marcy Revelez (mrevelez@ou.edu).
Citations Subcommittee Report – Chair Liz Leith First and foremost, it was decided at the 2008 NSCA-SPNHC meeting in May that the Citations Subcommittee be moved from the Conservation Committee to the Documentation Committee.
The Subcommittee thanks the members of the Conservation Committee for all of their help and looks forward to working with the Documentation Committee! This move will hopefully facilitate more avenues for the Citations Subcommittee to better serve the members of SPNHC!
Along these lines, Marcy Revelez is moving on to bigger and better things as co-chair of the Documentation Committee, although she will continue to serve on the Citations Subcommittee.
She will be missed and is commended for her extraordinary service to this group!
Liz Leith has agreed to step up as the new chair, and will continue to work closely with Marcy within the Documentation Committee.
Our membership is starting to wane, though, so if you are interested in assisting this committee with our bi-annual publications search, please contact Liz Leith (etereba@ou.edu or (405) 325-1199).
Most recently we have lost Lisa Palmer, whom we would like to thank for her many years of contributions!
Finally, in addition to the usual installment of “Publications of Interest” in the SPNHC Newsletters, the subcommittee decided at the SPNHC meeting to proceed with importing all publications listed in the SPNHC newsletters onto the SPNHC website.
Yes, folks, it is going to happen this time (I know Marcy has been promising it for a few years now)!
The goal is to have it posted on the web sometime in August.
At this time, the volume of the database (we are using EndNote X1) is larger than expected (over 1,500 entries and growing), so the August install will not be as awe-inspiring as we hoped.
Members will be able to search all of the fields (author, title, journal, etc). In future installs, we hope to have all journal titles, author names, etc., standardized, add keywords for ease in searching topics, and add abstracts for added searching capabilities (where available).
We hope this addition to the website will help all of you, so keep your eyes open for its arrival!
Respectfully submitted,
Marcia Revelez and Julie Droke, Co-chairs

Education and Training

The Education and Training Committee’s meeting in Norman clarified what our projects will be, most of which relate to information gathered from the membership and community surveys. We expect to have workshop evaluation forms sent for Council review by the end of the calendar year so that they are available for use at the next annual meeting, and workshop ideas were discussed with members of the organizing committee for the upcoming Leiden meetings.
Leaflets and the “how-to” series may be shifted to electronic form for distribution via the SPNHC website. We discussed on-going project ideas that draw upon the information gathered from the survey conducted previously. These include:
1) a welcome package for museum studies students;
2) a “raising awareness” PowerPoint tuned with SPNHC expertise and perspective, to be available for use by all members.
We are soliciting ideas and contributions for both projects.
Please send items and suggestions to the committee cochairs, Jeff Stephenson (jstephenson@dmnh.org) or Carol
Butler (butlercr@si.edu).
Respectfully submitted,
Jeff Stephenson and Carol Butler, Co-chairs