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Biology professor secures grant to save West Virginia's primary natural history collection

o getting all these records digitized and available online will really put us on the map."

Strait said the College of Science has agreed to replace the facility's heating and cooling system as part of the renovation, providing better temperature and humidity controls for the storage area.

Additional plans include showcasing some exhibits in the hallways of the Science Building so the museum will be more visible, and developing outreach activities for elementary and secondary schools.

"Hardly anybody knows we have this important collection at Marshall, so a large part of what we want to do during this renovation is get the word out that the museum is here and available for researchers to use," she said.

Students will begin working next week to move the collection out of the museum so the renovations can begin.

Strait has been teaching human anatomy at Marshall since 1993. In addition, she has taught systematics, mammalogy, museum curation and UNI 101. She previously completed another project, also funded through NSF, to develop an interactive 3-D image library of fossil specimens. That museum is available online at

Pauley, who teaches ornithology and herpetology, has conducted herpetological studies in West Virginia since the 1960s. He and his graduate students maintain the museum's amphibian and reptile collection.

He plans to retire next year, another reason Strait said the renovation project is urgent.

She added, "Although Dr. Pauley is retiring, we're fortunate that he'll be staying on as emeritus to continue researching and curating the collection. It is imperative we get all the information about the collection that is in his brain into a format that will be accessible by future researchers. It's going to be a busy year."

Contact: Ginny Painter
Marshall University Research Corporation

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