The Sam Noble Museum had a full summer of scientific fieldwork, student education and public engagement. In this issue of Tracks, we continue our transition to digital publications and communication to better meet the changing nature of our membership and new business models at the university. We plan to continue efforts to improve accessibility and better harness the power of tiered information and dynamic content.
I invite you to view our 2018 Annual Report, available on our website here. In 2018 we stemmed a multi-year trend of declining attendance largely due to the tremendous response we received for our summer 2018 exhibition, Megaladon: Largest Shark that Ever Lived. This past summer, the museum initiated day camps that were very successful and we continued our Super Saturday programs this fall. ExplorOlogy® had a great year and I want to recognize the Whitten Newman Foundation and the Oklahoma Energy Resource Board for their continued support.
Museum curators had a productive season of fieldwork and student training this summer. The mammalogy department sponsored three expeditions focused on understanding the distribution and health of tri-colored bats in Oklahoma. Hayley Lanier, assistant curator of mammals and assistant professor of biology led a team to Wyoming to study the recovery of small mammal communities after a massive wildfire and to Alaska to study the impact of habitat characteristics on collared pika populations. Over the summer, graduate students from the Cameron Siler Lab spent time researching animals in several places on the planet. This far-ranging work included a survey of lizard diversity along high-elevation stream systems in the Tibetan Plateau and the development of a new head-start initiative for Texas horned lizards to help protect the state-threatened species in Oklahoma. Dahiana Arcila, assistant curator of ichthyology and assistant professor of biology, conducted graduate student training in Puerto Rico as part of her ongoing investigation of the evolution of the North American cavefishes using whole-genome sequences.
On Sept. 14, we opened our fall exhibition, A Giving Heritage: Wedding Clothes and the Osage Community. I have a personal connection to this exhibition, serving as the curator and co-author of the book that emerged from the research for the exhibition. After previous deployment at the Mathers Museum of World Cultures at Indiana University and the Osage Nation Museum in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, the exhibition completes its tour with a venue at the Sam Noble Museum. Please watch your email for an invitation to a members-only breakfast and special program on Oct. 26. You can find more information and register here.
I want to thank you for your continued support of the museum through your membership and I encourage you to consider upgrading your levels when you renew. You can also share the museum experience with friends and family through the purchase of gift memberships. Renew online here. I hope to see you at the members event on Oct. 26.
Daniel C. Swan