Behind the Scenes at Museum of Science & History(MOSH)

August 11, 2012 1 comment Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

With over 25,000 objects and specimens in their collection MOSH simply does not have the space to present their entire collection to the public. Yet, they expertly manage and administer their incredible -mostly hidden -catalogue with the full intent of presenting most items to the public to appreciate.

Everyday, curatorial staff, interns and volunteers work behind the scenes to care for and maintain the Museum of Science & History’s permanent collection of more than 25,000 objects and specimens.  From photographs to tools and fossils to opossums, MOSH has many treasures waiting to be unveiled.

MOSH's mission of inspiring the joy of lifelong learning by bringing to life the sciences and regional history is carried out mainly through the use of its permanent collection.  Collections objects and specimens are used for exhibitions, education, outreach and research and are broken down into three sub-collections:  History, Natural Science and Living.  

History Collection

The History Collection is the largest among MOSH’s permanent collections and contains approximately 22,000 objects.  Unfortunately, the museum is not quite large enough to exhibit all these objects at once.  For this reason, the majority of objects remain safely stored in a temperature, humidity and light-controlled room until it is their turn to be displayed.  

A glimpse into the History Collection storage room reveals shelving units stacked from floor to ceiling holding several dozen acid-free storage boxes. These boxes are full of treasures, each unique and different. Some boxes contain newspapers, photographs or letters from Jacksonville's past. Others contain porcelain dolls, Timucuan pottery or farm tools.  Framed paintings, drawings and folk art hang on the walls, covered carefully in linens. Beaded dresses from the 1920s hang from clothing racks while more delicate lace gowns from the late 1800s are carefully wrapped and tucked away in sturdy containers.  Curatorial staff, volunteers and interns work diligently in the History Collection storage room on cataloging, inventorying and researching all the while wearing special gloves to protect the objects.  

Natural Science Collection

MOSH’s Natural Science Collection contains approximately 2,900 specimens including everything from shells to minerals and preserved fish to taxidermied birds.  Some of the specimens are on display in the museum’s Florida Naturalist’s Center and many others are used during hands-on educational programs. The remaining specimens are safely stored in Natural Science Collection storage room.  Curatorial staff, interns and volunteers jokingly refer to this area as the “dead room.”  

 1 2 NEXT