Below are descriptions for all of the workshops to be offered at the 2019 conference.  All registration for workshops will be done via:  SPNHC 2019 Conference Registration

Workshops - Sunday, May 26, 2019

The Identification, Care, and Documentation of Mammal Ivory Objects

This workshop will focus on the identification, documentation and collections care of objects fabricated of mammal ivory, including mammoth, mastodon, elephant, whale, hippo, walrus, wart hog and substitutes (bone, shell, antler, horn, and plastic). The importance of identification and its implications for legal acquisition of ivory and its relevance to the critical protection of living animals will be emphasized. The role of regulatory measures implemented to protect wildlife conservation, such as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and the Endangered Species Act (ESA), that impact acquisition and travel of raw and worked ivory objects will be noted. Documentation for internal record- keeping and for travel will be addressed. While conservation treatment will not be covered extensively in this workshop, indications of when to contact a conservator for assistance will be noted. Discussion of examination, sampling and analysis will be covered. The causes and evidence of damage, as well as preventive measures that can be undertaken, will be discussed. 


Stephanie Hombeck, Chief Conservator, Anthropology Collections, Field Museum

Terry Drayman-Weisser, former Director of Conservation and Technical Research, Walters Art Museum 

Date/Time: Sunday, May 26, 2019, 9:00am

Location:  Field Museum

Lecture Only (Half Day) $20 (includes workshop only)

Lecture and Practical Session (Full day): $30 (fee includes workshop and lunch)

Other Participant Information: For the practical session some magnifying lenses will be available, though participants are welcome to bring their own.

Applications of 3D Photogrammetry in Natural History Museums 

This one-day workshop will focus on the application of close-range photogrammetry as a cost-effective and flexible technique for the 3D visualization and measurement of objects In natural history museum! The workshop will consist of a combination of lectures and practical, software-based exercises, with an emphasis on using photogrammetry to generate 3D models and surfaces that can be used In both research and education. Both traditional photogrammetry and Structure from Motion (SfM) will be covered, although practical exercises will be limited primarily to SfM based approaches. Included will be a brief review of photogrammetric theory as well as a survey of available software and hardware solutions. There will also be a useful review of photographic tips and techniques that can significantly Improve the quality of 3D models. Workflows will be presented that cover everything from imaging through the realistic texturing of 3D meshes. 

Advanced techniques, such as error evaluation and microphotogrammetry (Involving the use of microscopy and macrophotography to obtain models of small objects) will also be reviewed. Finally, there will be a survey and discussion of the varied (and potential) uses of photogrammetry In the modern museum environment. 


Ralph L. Kugler, Research Associate, Milwaukee Public Museum, Milwaukee, Wl, USA 

Date/Time: Sunday, May 26, 2019, 9:00am

Duration: Full Day

Location:  Field Museum

Cost: $50 (fee includes workshop and lunch)

Other Participant Information: Participants should bring a laptop and (optionally) a DSLR camera. Temporary licenses for software will be provided.

Workshops - Monday May 27, 2019

 Natural History Collections Club Network Workshop

University natural history collections across the United States were built over time by researchers, professors, and students, and they often are the best representation of the biodiversity in the areas immediately surrounding the collections' geographic location. Some of these collections are in distress due to lack of university support.  One approach for raising awareness and funding of the research and education value of campus collections is a student-led Natural History Collections Club (NHCC). Since 2013, several clubs have formed based on the NHCC model to train students in collections techniques and raise funding, awareness, and assistance for their campus natural history collections. These clubs collectively form the Natural History Collections Club Network (NHCCN). 

This workshop will consist of two parts. In the morning, the workshop will focus on the purpose of the club network and how natural history collections clubs have worked at various institutions. This is most appropriate for anyone who is interested in starting an NHCC at their college or university. In the afternoon, we will focus more heavily on specific training topics such as natural history collections documentation, digitization, and teaching techniques. This is aimed at a broader audience and would be appropriate for anyone interested in these topics, but specifically in relation to university natural history collections.  


Kari M. Harris, Instructor Biological Sciences, Club Coordinator, College of Science and Mathematics, Arkansas State University

Date/Time: Monday, May 27, 2019, 8:00am

Duration: Full Day

Location:  Field Museum

Cost: Free, but registration is required

Caring For and Sharing Out Natural History Collections:

Best Practices in Preparing Successful IMLS Grant Applications 

This participatory workshop will examine the strategies, logistics, and best practices involved in preparing successful IMLS grant applications for natural history collections projects. IMLS funding is available through six grant programs to support a variety of project emphases, including but not limited to collections management, environmental improvements in storage areas, conservation treatments, digitization, research, policy development, project-based technical training, and building coalitions and networks to strengthen collections care and digital access across institutional and geographic boundaries.

We will begin with an overview of IMLS's current funding opportunities. Then, we will examine the application process in manageable units, beginning with conceptualizing a project and ending with the successful submission of the application. Next, using abbreviated examples of actual applications for natural history collections projects, we will replicate peer review panel activities so that participants can develop a solid understanding of what's involved in the analysis and evaluation of competitive, fundable applications. At each stage, there will be opportunities to brainstorm ideas, draft application elements, discuss our reactions, and ask questions. Participants will receive sets of worksheets and PowerPoint slides for the day's activities as well as for future reference.


Connie Cox Bodner, Ph.D. Supervisory Grants Management Specialist Institute of Museum and Library Services 

Mark Feitl, Museum Program Officer

Date/Time: Monday, May 27, 2019, 8:30am

Duration: Half Day

Location:  Field Museum

Cost: $30 (fee includes workshop and lunch)

Other Participant Information: Participants should bring ideas about the projects for which they might seek IMLS support

Introduction to Natural Science Illustration

Natural science illustration has been around for as long as man has explored and questioned the natural world. In fact, technical, detailed illustration was used as the only means to visually document plants, animals, the human body, etc. dating as far back as 350 BC. Artists like Ernst Haeckel, James Audubon, and John Gould (whose works can mostly be attributed to his better half, Elizabeth Gould) brought the biological wonders of distant lands to the public, making them commonplace in anatomy textbooks, research journals, natural history museums, and field guides. But with the advancement of high-resolution photography and the perceived ease of producing digital images, what is the current state of scientific illustration and what does its future look like? Is it even relevant in 2019? Spend the day trying your hand at a few foundational scientific illustration techniques guided by two trained natural science illustrators. Surrounded by the incredible collections at the Field Museum, you will learn about the history of scientific illustration, the techniques and skills it involves, the successful ways in which scientists and institutions are utilizing scientific illustrators today, and what the future of the field might hold.


Elissa Martin, Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, 
Madison Mayfield, Queensland Museum, 

Date/Time: Monday, May 27/ Full day workshop 8:00am to 5:00pm

Location: Field Museum

Cost: $85 (fee includes material costs and lunch)

Data Preparation and Standards to Get your Data Out There and Back Again

Standardization is essential for managing, publishing, and repatriating collections data. This workshop will incorporate goals from GBIF BID Rubrics, and participants should come away with an understanding of: Data Mobilization planning, Biodiversity Cleaning and Standardization, and Biodiversity Data Publishing Using IPT.


More details:

  • Data Mobilization planning

    • Build understanding of roles and tasks required in a solid mobilization plan

  • Biodiversity Cleaning and Standardization

    • Analyze quality and checking data

    • Differentiate between types of errors.

    • Detect missing values in required fields and severe data inconsistencies

  • Biodiversity Data Publishing Using IPT

    • Knowledge about biodiversity informatics data standards and which of those data standards are accepted by GBIF.


Kate Webbink, Field Museum

Janeen Jones, Field Museum

Sharon Grant, Field Museum

Date/Time: Monday, May 27, 2019, 9:00

Duration: Full Day

Location:  Field Museum

Cost: $50 (fee includes workshop and lunch)

Other Participant Information: Participants can bring a laptop and their own collections data for use during the workshop

3D imaging using photogrammetry

This full day workshop will provide an introduction to 3D imaging using photogrammetry. The course is designed for museum and heritage professionals who are familiar with using DSLR cameras, and want to extend their practice to 3D imaging.

Photogrammetry is a low-cost-of-entry 3D imaging method which can be used to produce excellent results for many different museum specimens and scales well. From large buildings to tiny clay molds, photogrammetry has been used to successfully model and document a very wide variety of museum material in full color and in three dimensions. The technique can also be extended to multi-spectral imaging.

The workshop will be hands-on and will cover camera setup, lighting, and image processing, imaging flat and contoured specimens. We will look at working at different scales, and metric photogrammetry using Agisoft Photoscan.

The course will be led by a museum professional with five years of experience of using photogrammetry to image museum collections from bivalves and taxidermy to textiles, and fossils to furniture. 


JP Brown,  Regenstein Conservator for Pacific Anthropology at The Field Museum, Chicago.

Date/Time: Monday, May 27, 2019, 9:00am

Duration: Full Day

Location:  Field Museum

Cost: $50 (fee includes workshop and lunch)

Other Participant Information: Participants are asked to bring a DSLR and a laptop computer to the workshop.

Please DO Touch:

A collaborative approach to integrating collections specimens in authentic learning opportunities

As an accessible source of specimens and artifacts, natural history collections have a unique opportunity to enrich learning experiences that benefit both our audiences and our institutions. This participant-driven presentation will showcase a collaborative approach between Collections and Education museum professionals to build and integrate teaching collections into specimen-based, authentic learning opportunities. Collaborative planning can shape teaching collections from specimen preparation to educational specimen use. By integrating curriculum goals and education staff needs, collections can become a key component of an institution’s educational initiatives through its public programs. This workshop aims to give collections staff strategies and tools to build educational resources (e.g. touchable specimens, themed teaching boxes, facilitator guides, etc.).

Current science education best practices indicate that learning is best achieved through authenticity of experience. We will discuss frameworks to developing collections with education in mind, as well as novel ways to safely use real specimens in settings ranging from informal learning spaces to off-site classrooms. This uniquely collections-based approach can be a keystone to developing learners’ knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviors, and in forging connections with the natural world. Workshop participants will have the opportunity to engage with specimens from the Chicago Academy of Sciences / Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum’s teaching collection, just as students and teachers do.  

Workshop will include lunch, a tour of the Chicago Acadmey of Science/ Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum.  For those interested an optional tour of the Ravenswood collections facility will follow the workshop.


Sarah Anderson; Director of Education

Anna Chinn; Assistant Collections Manager

Dawn Roberts; Director of Collections

Date/Time: Monday, May 27, 10:00am

Duration: 3 hours

Location:  Chicago Academy of Sciences/ Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

Cost: $30 (fee includes workshop, tour, and lunch)

Making the Case in Two Minutes - Elevator Pitches

Imagine, you have a ground-breaking idea or 'just' an urgent need for additional resources but you can't get in touch with the right people. One morning, completely unexpected, you share an elevator ride with the key persons and you have two minutes to make the case for your idea. Are you prepared for this moment at any time? What would you say? How would you start? Why do you think your arguments are convincing? in a world that is getting more and more hectic, we more often have just these short breaks between activities to speak to certain people and to convey our idea or topic in an exciting or/and convincing way. Only a few will have the natural talent to do this impromptu. Most of us will need a good preparation beforehand. But how do you prepare yourself for something that can happen (or not) at strange places and in strange situations? This hands-on workshop will not provide you with an easy going tool or guideline, but will help you finding and developing your own way. It will include with some useful (psychological) background thoughts and successful examples as introduction. The main focus will be on an interactive project. Covering the whole process, we will start with the creation of an idea and description of the problem and we will end up with a reflection of your elevator pitches by experts. Our experts will also be around to help with your questions. And sometimes they might even interfere in your work as it happens in real life. Nothing is needed to join our workshop, just your ideas, motivation, and creativity. 


Christiane Quaisser

Carol Butler

Date/Time: Monday, May 27, 2019, 1:30pm

Duration: Half Day

Location:  Field Museum

Cost: $30 (fee includes workshop and lunch)

Workshops - During Conference

SPNHC Educational Materials Share Fair

iDigBio and Biodiversity Literacy in Undergraduate Education Network (BLUE) would like to co-sponsor 
the second annual Educational Materials Share Fair session at SPNHC 2019. This session is an opportunity for colleagues to share and get feedback on collections-based education or outreach materials. Materials can be at any stage of development from fledgling ideas to fully vetted materials All are welcome to either share as developers or participate as potential adopters. The Educational Materials Share Fair concept has been adapted from the successful model created by Teresa Mourad from the Ecological Society of America.

The Share Fair differs from the normal SPNHC DemoCamp in both format and focus. During the 90 minute time period, we will offer three rounds of developer presentations simultaneously. Each developer will be set up at a round table and be given 20 minutes to present their materials and ideas, collect feedback, and generate discussion with potential adopters and interested colleagues that join their table discussion. These are intended as informal sessions so no AV will be provided, but developers can bring a laptop and copies of any of their materials they wish to share. We will have a brief introduction setting session expectations, and a conclusion introducing participants and developers to several ways they could publish and share their educational materials online with the community. The goals are to build the education and outreach community within SPNHC, facilitate development and implementation of collections-based education and outreach materials, and increase awareness and use of collections-based science. 


Molly Phillips, iDigBio Education, Outreach & Diversity Coordinator, Florida Museum of Natural History


Aimee Davis, Volunteer and Public Learning Experiences Administrator, Field Museum

Susan Golland, Exhibition Developer, The Field Museum

Date/Time: Friday, May 31st, 8:30am

Duration: Half Day

Location: Field Museum

Cost: FREE, but registration is required.

Importation of potentially infectious specimens:

Striking a balance between safety and research

This workshop is designed to provide participants with details on the process and requirements for importing and transporting natural history specimens currently recognized as potential infectious biological agents by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). In addition, we hope this informative workshop will provide a platform for constructive conversations between members of the Natural History Community (NHC) and the agencies charged with regulating such specimens (e.g., CDC and DOT). Although regulations being discussed in this workshop will be focused on mammals, with a particular emphasis on bats and non-human primates, the principles are applicable to a broad array of taxa that may be considered potential infectious biological agents. Representatives from the CDOs Division of Special Agents and Toxins (DSAT) will be present to discuss the Import Permit Program (IPP) including presentations covering a general overview of the program, specific regulations applied to bats and non-human primates, inspection procedures, and the new electronic permit application system. Workshop participants will learn how to obtain an account for managing and submitting permit applications and be given guidance on when a permit versus a certification statement is required to import such specimens. Representatives of the NHC will be present to lead discussions on how such regulations impact importation, transport, storage, and research on species currently treated as potential infectious agents, most notably bats, non-human primates, small carnivores, and rodents. By bringing together the regulatory agencies and NHp we hope this workshop will both help to clarify the necessary process to transport and store specimens treated as potential infectious material and stimulate discussions on how the two communities can work together to facilitate use of these important specimens while simultaneously protecting human health. 


Adam Ferguson, Field Museum of Natural History, Gantz Family Collections Center, Chicago, IL

Meredith Pyle, Tom Cremer, and Glen Degruy, Center for Disease Control, Division of Special Agents and Toxins, Atlanta, GA

Date/Time: Wednesday, May 29th, 1:30pm

Duration: Half Day

Location: Chicago Hilton

Cost: FREE, but registration is required.

Other Participant Information: A laptop computer and if possible a pre- register for Secure Access Management Services (SAMS) account through the CDC's IPP:

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