Contents tagged with photography
Created: 4/11/2014 Updated: 8/9/2016
This blog post continues our Motion Film Project series. Post #1 titled: The Motion Picture Cataloguing Project can be viewed here. Stay tuned for a third blog post coming soon.
Leon F. Urbain, through his association with the Microscopal Society of Illinois, gave free classes for students in the 1960s at the Chicago Academy of Sciences' museum (the old Laflin Memorial Building). An architect by trade, he had a passion for photography, especially photomicrography, whereby he could bring the smallest worlds to life. His motion films include studies of minerals, plants, insects, aquatic life, and ecology. The Academy's collections include personal papers, photographs, motion film, and microscope slides from Urbain. Here is a sample of those tiny worlds Urbain captured and shared with others.
From Urbain's film, “The Regal: Rarest of Local Moths,” created in 1972:
Regal Moth Face
Here are images from a time-lapse film of crystals growing under a microscope, titled "Crystals Growing," created in 1967:
Images from two films on moths, ca. 1958, "Cecropia" and "Luna Moth:"
Cecropia moths mating
Dawn RobertsView Comments
Created: 1/15/2014 Updated: 8/9/2016
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The Academy re-emphasizes its commitment to education in the natural sciences. Its programming is not only for young students, but also continuing education and certification for teachers that focuses on understanding and interpreting the natural sciences. In addition the Academy starts offering regular free lectures on various scientific subjects to the public.
Laflin Memorial Building, Chicago Academy of Sciences, ca. 1915
From Chicago Academy of Sciences Archive, Photography Collection, 8x10 Glass Plate Negatives
Academy establishes a Children’s Library to “promote science education and engage young people in the study of the natural sciences.”
Children reading in the Children’s Library of the Chicago Academy of Sciences
From the Chicago Academy of Sciences Archive, Photography Collection
May-June - Academy participates in city-wide Child-Welfare Exhibit, promoting education and highlighting institutions that already have programs established.
Work starts on developing new exhibit displays to better represent the natural flora and fauna of the area. Work completed by Frank C. Baker, Curator and Malacologist, and Frank Woodruff, Curator, Taxidermist, and Ornithologist, under initial guidance of Wallace Atwood, Acting Director and Secretary of the Board of Trustees.
June - The Atwood Celestial Sphere opens at the Academy. It is the first planetarium in the United States and was designed by Wallace W. Atwood, Acting Director of the Academy. The Sphere is now a part of the Adler Planetarium’s collections.
(left) Atwood Celestial Sphere as seen from the outside. (right) Atwood stands inside his completed Sphere. From Chicago Academy of Sciences Archive, Photography Collection
Frank Woodruff made Director of the Academy and completed his first life-size diorama depicting the dunes ecosystem and the Calumet River.
Photographic print of compiled image for Calumet River diorama background made up of four shots. From Chicago Academy of Sciences Archive, Photography Collection, 8x10 Glass Plate Negatives.
Alfred M. Bailey, Ornithologist, appointed Director of the Academy.
Bailey makes trips to Louisiana to conduct still and motion picture photography of birds migrating along the coast. Bailey had worked at the Louisiana Academy of Sciences earlier in his career and had formed relationships with other ornithologists and bird enthusiasts in the area.
Seguard and Bailey (with camera) filming birds in Louisiana.
Chicago Academy of Sciences Archive, Photography Collection.
Bailey, working with collectors in Alaska, starts collecting birds and birds eggs, culminating in the publication in the Academy’s Program of Activities, “Birds of the region of Point Barrow, Alaska” in 1933. Bailey had worked in southeastern Alaska from 1919-1921 on a survey for the Bureau of Biological Survey, so again had contacts and interest in the area before coming to the Academy.
Academy, with University of Chicago, sends field team to Great Smoky Mountains where a new subspecies of rock vole, Microtus chrotorrhinus carolinensis is discovered.
Academy co-sponsors further field research in Great Smoky Mountains in cooperation with the U.S. National Park Service. Specimens from this survey still reside in Academy’s collections, and trip resulted in publication, “Mammals of the Great Smoky Mountains,” part of the Bulletin series published by the Academy in 1938.
A Northern Short-tailed Shrew, Blarina brevicauda, collected during the Faunal Survey of the Great Smoky Mountains. Chicago Academy of Sciences Mammalogy Collection.
Dr. Howard Gloyd appointed Director of the Academy.
Howard K. Gloyd, standing in Arizona desert.
From Chicago Academy of Sciences Archives, Photography Collection.
Additional activities while Director of the Academy (1936-1957) were the expansion of the Academy’s scientific publications, the continued additions to the public lecture series historically offered by the Academy, and Gloyd’s personal research on snakes with an emphasis on rattlesnakes.
Dr. Gloyd, a rattlesnake expert, organizes expeditions to Arizona. The specimens he collected are still in the Academy’s scientific collections today. The first expedition was in 1937, the second in 1940, and the third in 1946.
Amber KingView Comments
Assistant Collections Manager
Created: 10/8/2013 Updated: 8/9/2016
Donald T. Ries passed away in 1967. For the past four months I have been the Collections-Photography Intern for the Collections Department, cataloguing Ries’ work that is housed in the Archive. When I applied for the position, I thought I was going to be working more with cameras or scanners, and while that may still be in store for Ries' collection my job so far entails cataloguing, researching, and identifying the subjects of his photographs.
In 1969, Ries' sisters donated over 10,000 of his nature photography images, in the form of 35 mm slides and black and white negatives to the Academy. Ries’ collection was accessioned into the collection all those years ago but methods for cataloguing have since become more rigorous. Luckily for me, the museum has not had the resources to allocate towards addressing those changes, so Amber and Dawn brought me in to start attending to those needs. Throughout the process I have gained hands-on experience with contemporary cataloguing techniques and object handling. I have also seen just how time consuming and arduous managing and maintaining a museum collection can be; a great lesson for a museum studies graduate student like me.
Drawers from the storage cabinet received with the Donald T. Ries photography donation
I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Donald T. Ries. From my personal research, I found that Ries was a biology professor at Illinois State University and he belonged to an amateur photography club, from which he won several awards. He spent his summers pursuing and working on his passion for nature photography by researching and recording different natural environments and their inhabitants. Ries then spent the time to label most of his images with the appropriate scientific name or taxonomy.
Image of Chimaphila umbellata, Pipissewa or Prince’s Pine
Part of cataloguing Ries’ images involves using the USDA Plants database to verify and confirm the information on Ries’ labels. The database also maps the natural habitats for the flora I am investigating, highlighting the states where they grow naturally. Those maps and the dates on Ries’ slides allow me to “play detective,” inferring in what regions of the country Ries was when he took certain images. My favorite part of the internship has been mentally mapping Ries' travels. I imagine him preferring a trip to southern Canada in July where the Lady Slipper Orchid might be in bloom over a vacation at a beach resort in some tropical climate.
Image of Cypripedium arietinum, Ram’s Head Lady’s Slipper
Another rewarding aspect entails researching the unidentified slides, trying to find and attribute the correct taxonomy to the species in each image. With little more than a descriptive vocabulary and a growing understanding of the botanical language, I pore over hundreds of images from the Internet trying to discover the species of plant at which I am looking. I cannot describe the satisfaction I receive every time I scour through countless images, and find a flower similar to the slide I am studying; I found the clues necessary to unlock the riddle.
Image of Oxalis montana, Mountain Woodsorrel
This experience provided a glimpse at how a Collections Department operates and increased my desire to work in museums. I also gained a greater appreciation for flowers as well as the work of avid nature photographers, even becoming adept at identifying previously unknown species of flowers in my friends’ backyards. Finally, I got to know this fellow photographer, developing a connection to him that could never have otherwise been made. I plan on continuing with the Donald T. Ries project as a volunteer and I am excited to continue working with and learning from the Collections staff at the Academy.
Leonard M. CiceroView Comments
Collections Department Intern/Volunteer
Created: 7/26/2013 Updated: 9/2/2015
Although he was a lawyer by training and practice, Tappan Gregory was also a nature photographer and supporter of the Chicago Academy of Sciences. He served as the Honorary Curator of Mammals from 1930 to 1944 and contributed articles to Academy publications as well. We are fortunate to have the negatives of some of his photography, particularly those highlighting his use of wildlife “self-portrait” photography. While to us this kind of imaging seems a normal part of scientific exploration, while Gregory was working this kind of photography was very new and standardized equipment had not been developed yet. Below is a small sampling of the images housed in the Museum’s collection.
Juvenile Porcupine walking along ridge of boat, ca. 1907, Huron Mountain Club, Marquette, MI
Diagram of camera set-up for wildlife “self-portrait” photographs.
Skunk responding to bait. October 18, 1928, Huron Mountain Club, Marquette, MI
Franklin’s Ground Squirrel, Waucaunda, Ill July 27, 1941
Two Red Fox kits or pups caught on film. May 13, 1941, Huron Mountain Club, Marquette, MI
Amber KingView Comments
Assistant Collections Manager
Created: 6/4/2013 Updated: 8/10/2016
Alfred M. Bailey, director of the Chicago Academy of Sciences from 1927-1936, was an avid nature photographer in both still and motion picture formats. Bailey was an ornithologist, so the majority of his images are of birds. The Academy has a large number of Bailey's photographs in their Archives taken on his trips all over the United States and Canada with the intention of recording a variety of species of birds in their natural habitat. Here are a few examples from his trips to Louisiana:
Anhinga with young on nest taken in Louisiana ca. 1930.
Francis R. Dickinson canoeing to bird blind for taking images of migrating birds at the Paul Rainey Bird Sanctuary in Louisiana, ca. 1932.
Laughing Gull with eggs on nest taken in Louisiana ca. 1930.
Brown Pelican feeding its young taken on shore in Louisiana, ca. 1930.
Close-up of Royal Tern with young in nesting colony taken on shore of Louisiana, ca. 1930.
Amber KingView Comments
Assistant Collections Manager
Created: 5/4/2013 Updated: 8/10/2016
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. When it comes to describing an object in a museum collection, a picture can provide essential information. An image of a specimen or artifact adds clarification for distinguishing similar items and provides a visual record for tracking preservation issues and treatments. Images of museum objects can be utilized for exhibition development, initial scientific research, or as an educational resource.
With the help of some amazing volunteers, our Collections staff are digitally photographing specimens and artifacts in the Academy’s collections. Our photography workstation is one we devised and consists of a wire shelving unit with adjustable shelves, so the work area can be changed when desired. We selected acid-free grey paper for a backdrop and created many of our reflectors and stands from materials we had on hand. Some of our best reflectors are simply sheets of hard white foam and the reflective interior of a coffee can!
Digital photography of our scientific collection began with the imaging of our type specimens. A “type” specimen is the specimen originally used to describe a species and displays the majority of characteristics used to identify that species. It’s because of type specimens that we are able to distinguish one animal from another. Here is the type specimen for the subspecies of the Southern Appalachian Rock Vole, Microtus chrotorrhinus carolinensis (Komarek). This specimen was collected in 1931 from North Carolina.
We’ve since expanded this project and are now systematically photographing catalogued specimens in the Academy's collections. We’ve photographed bird eggs and nests in the oology collection and mammal study skins and skulls in the mammalogy collection. Images from the oology collection were included in a bird identification DVD series released by Thayer Birding Software (www.ThayerBirding.com) released in 2012. Check them out!