8 Items That Were Just In A Museum's Lost And Found The Whole Time
by N/A, 9 years ago | 1 min read| 866
There are museums with hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of items in their collection, and keeping track of all those items can get tricky! Sometimes things get mislabeled or just lost in the shuffle. Luckily, things are often then rediscovered and put back where they belong.
1. Bear claw necklace from the Lewis and Clark Expedition
This bear claw necklace was found in 2003 at Harvard's Peabody Museum in 2003 when two collection assistants were taking inventory of items in the Oceana storeroom. After some research, they realized the necklace didn't belong in the Oceana storeroom, and was one of the seven artifacts brought back from the Lewis and Clark Expedition. It had been missing since it was first catalogued in 1899.
2. The earliest Tyrannosaurid
This fossil, which is incredibly well preserved, was found in 1910 and ended up at the Natural History Museum in London in 1942. For many years it was misclassified as a new species of Megalosaurus, but was eventually recognized as an unknown genus and was named Proceratosaurus. In 2009 it was discovered that it was the oldest relative of the Tyrannosauridae and lived 165 million years ago.
3. Alfred Russel Wallace's Butterflies
The Oxford University Museum of Natural History had a collection of butterflies, and knew some belonged to Alfred Russel Wallace, but didnâ€™t know which ones or what species he had collected. They assigned 17-year-old intern Athena Martin to go through the 3340 drawers to find them. Martin found 300 specimens from Wallace, including one thought to be lost after the ship he was on caught fire and many of his specimens were lost at sea.
4. Charles Darwin's Barnacles
Before publishing â€œOn the Origin of Speciesâ€ Charles Darwin was in communication with Japetus Steenstrup, head of the Royal Natural History Museum, and borrowed a set of barnacles to study. When Darwin sent the barnacles back, he sent an additional 77 of his own as a gift to the museum. Years later the museum found 55 of them. Most of the missing barnacles belong to the same genus, and itâ€™s expected they were lent out to another museum or scientist and were never returned.
5. A Juvenile Mandible
Scientists at the Field Museum in Chicago were reorganizing the European archaeological collections in 2002 when they discovered a juvenile mandible that had been excavated in 1896, but gone unnoticed until that point. After some research, they discovered the mandible was also much more recent than the ground in which it was found.
6. Long-Beaked Echidna
The long-beaked echidna was thought to have gone extinct from Australia 11,000 years ago, and was thought to only be living in New Guinea today. That idea changed however when The Natural History Museum in London found in their collections a specimen from 1901-- found in Australia. The location the long-beaked echidna was found in Australia is so hard to reach, it still remains to be seen what else may be living there.
7. An Emperor Penguin
When the University of Dundeeâ€™s Dâ€™Arcy Thompson Zoology Museum first opened in the early 1900s, an Emperor Penguin was on display, and survived until the old museum was demolished in the 50s. The penguin then disappeared, but proceeded to turn up in the 70s and became the mascot for the Dundee University Biology Society. Eventually, wear and tear took its toll on the penguin and it was sent off in the 80s to be restored. Thatâ€™s when it disappeared again. It showed up again in April of 2014
8. A Tlingit War Helmet
The Tlingit War helmet was in the Springfield Science Museum in Massachusetts when it was discovered in 2013, mislabeled as an â€œAleutian hat.â€ It didnâ€™t match any descriptions of anything Aleutians had made, so after reaching out, another scientist recognized it as Tlingit. The discovery is incredibly rare, with less than 100 Tlingit war helmets in known existence.
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